The CEO and founder of E3 Vehicles shares why NEVs are great for the environment and perfect for the South Bay.

Several years ago, when gas prices were unusually high, Amy Errett felt a pressing need to let her gas-guzzling SUV go. She’d seen other locals driving neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs)—picture a golf cart with aspirations of becoming a sports car—around Manhattan Beach. She decided to embrace the green movement and pick up a more practical, eco-friendly vehicle for neighborhood outings.

“I couldn’t find one that could accommodate my family,” says Amy, adding that she and her husband have three children. Finding a NEV with enough room was challenging enough, but finding a local NEV dealer proved to be a bit more difficult—she wasn’t able to find a dealer in the South Bay. Eventually she was able to pick up a six-seat NEV from a dealer in Orange County.

Amy, who was in the medical device sales industry before deciding to become a stay-at-home mother, thought that the South Bay was an ideal market for the NEV. She did a little research to see if she was on the right path and came across the South Bay Cities Council of Governments’ Report, published in 2013.

Over 30 months, 51 households participated in an assessment of NEVs and provided information on their experiences with the vehicles. SBCCOG researchers noted in the report that the “development pattern of the South Bay consists of many horizontal mixed-use neighborhoods where most trips are between one and three miles.” A two- or three-mile walk is a long way on foot— especially when you’re hauling groceries—but it’s an ideal range for bicycles or NEVs.

The South Bay, it turns out, is a great fit for NEVs. Amy then decided to found her own NEV business, E3 Vehicles, in Redondo Beach. They opened their doors last September.

“E3 vehicles totally fit the South Bay lifestyle—they’re perfect for our community,” she says.

E3 offers a number of popular NEV brands, including Tomberlin, American Custom Golf Cars and Star Electric Vehicles. E3’s NEV options start at $9,000, and their NEVs are entirely street-legal and completely electric.

Though ranges can vary depending on the number of passengers, E3’s NEVs have a top speed of 25 mph. They’re also limited to traveling on streets that are 35 mph or under, and they can travel roughly 20 to 25 miles on a full charge.

“They’re great for reducing your carbon footprint, and they’re smaller than your average vehicle so they’re much easier to park,” she says. Due to their low speed and easy handling, she notes that they also make for an ideal first-time vehicle for a teenage driver.

E3 offers NEVs for both sale and rent. She adds that a luxury H3 Defender-style NEV is available for rent—and E3’s Redondo showroom features six different vehicles, giving locals a chance to peruse E3’s latest options.

Amy doesn’t plan on stepping away from the NEV lifestyle anytime soon. “It’s been a great way to save on money,” she says, adding that she likes to take her personal NEV to the beach. (She points out that you can load a surfboard on a NEV.)

“They are completely compatible with the South Bay beach lifestyle,” she says. “They just work perfectly for our community down here.”