Local Use Vehicle LUV

Manhattan Beach Confidential on his way to visit open houses

Have you seen this car? This cute little electric vehicle is part of a local use vehicle demonstration project by the South Bay Cities Council of Governments. Through the LUV project, the local government group is lending this GEM E4 to local families for two months at a time to experience all of the conveniences of a local-use electric vehicle. Manhattan Beach Confidential and I were fortunate enough to make it to the top of the waitlist and we welcomed the car into our family and our daily routine last week.

The GEM E4 is exactly how they describe it – it’s a local use vehicle. It plugs into a regular wall outlet and it has a range of 20 miles before it will run out of power. At a max speed of 25 miles per hour, it can’t travel any major roads, but it can get you just about anywhere you need to go around town. Also, it doesn’t come with any bells and whistles – there’s no power steering, no power windows, no radio, and not even a clock.

But, after less than one week with this little guy, the verdict is… We LOVE it! For every single local trip we do during the day (camp and swim lesson drop-off and pickup, trips to the grocery store, visit to a friend) it is the absolute perfect vehicle. In fact, each time we drive it we look around at all of the other cars and say, “I can’t believe people are actually using gas and producing emissions to get around town.”

Even though it looks small, it’s surprisingly roomy. Four people can fit quite comfortably (it’s actually pretty tall so there’s a lot of head room).  The doors also detach in case you want to put something large (like a surfboard) inside; plus there’s a locked trunk compartment. And even though it’s not the fastest car on the road, it is easy to manuever through the crowded streets and parking spaces down by the beach.

Other bonuses: Free parking at EV charging stations at LAX, free parking at meters in Hermosa Beach, and free parking at meters in Santa Monica.

We’re sure going to miss it when our two  months are up. In fact, we’re already looking into the tax incentives and other benefits if we decide to buy one for ourselves. Will you be the next driver of this cute little car? Apply here to participate in the program, or visit South Bay Cities LUV on Facebook to learn more.

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