Not Quite a Tesla: 2003 NEVCO Gizmo

With the proliferation of Leafs, Bolts, Volts and Teslas lately, it’s easy to forget just how far electric cars have come in the last 15 years.   If you need a reminder, look no further than this NEVCO Gizmo, for sale here on eBay in Yorkville, Illinois.  With bidding currently at $5,500, it’s a good bit less expensive than a bare-bones Model 3, if you can get Tesla to build you one.

The Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Company, or NEVCO, was founded in Eugene, Oregon in 1995 to begin production and marketing of a fun, efficient, affordable and environmentally-friendly electric vehicle.  Production of the Gizmo began in 2000, and based on their still-live website, it appears that they ceased production in 2003 due to rising parts costs.  With a top speed of 40mph and a range of 45 miles, the Gizmo wasn’t designed for cross-country trips, but unless you live way out in the middle of nowhere, it would probably get you to and from the grocery store, albeit not very quickly.

The seller of this Gizmo bought it new in 2003, and has only put 2620 miles on it since then.  The seller says the vehicle is in like-new condition, and it appears that he has maintained it well.  Details of recent work include three new tires, a rebuilt motor in 2016 and a rebuilt charger in 2015.  The seller also lists numerous upgrades that he has added during his time with the vehicle, including upgraded lighting, a custom map holder, extra seat padding and fancy wheel covers with an electric symbol.  Try getting fancy wheel covers on a new Model X!  The seller does say the vehicle needs new batteries, so potential buyers should factor that into the overall cost.

Living in the DC suburbs, I’m pretty confident I’d be run over driving a vehicle that couldn’t exceed 40mph, even if I never left my own neighborhood.  But for those who live where the roads are less hostile, the Gizmo might not be impossible to use.  With the recent advances in battery technology, electric vehicles have progressed significantly in a short period of time, but this could still be a fun vehicle for occasional drives, and it’s an interesting piece of automotive history.  If we’re all driving electric cars one day, this will be the equivalent of Carl Benz’s “vehicle powered by a gas engine.”

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Comments

  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    The only way I’d buy that is after close inspection of the viability of converting to a motorcycle engine. Something like a Kawasaki KLR 650. Electric cars might be ok in California or Alabama where the weather and temperatures are better, but up here in Canada we get sub zero temperatures six months of the year and batteries can work at half capacity in those conditions. Besides I’m still not a fan of electric cars and I believe it is still a big experiment payed for by the buying public, but that’s another conversation for a different forum. Back to this scooter thing with the KLR power plant it would be much more viable and fun! What a minute forget the whole thing and just go buy a Canam spider instead. What was I thinking.

    Like 7
  2. Mike l

    Golf cart?

    Like 3
  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Not for me. Owner states ‘Range with new batteries is 28 miles @ 38 psi tires, 86 degrees, 180 LB driver’. Around here it would need a couple of strobes mounted on the roof. And you still might be laying on the shoulder with the rest of the racoons.

    Like 5
  4. Fahrvergnugen fahrvergnugen Member

    Seg Way Out of Your Freakin Mind.

    Nuff Said.

    Like 1
  5. Beatnik Bedouin

    A very interesting, quirky machine. Sadly, it may ultimately become a museum piece, unless the new owner lives in an area with little traffic.

    Even at the current bidding level (still at $5500), I’d rather have a Toyota COMS, which I could bring to NZ and have one the road for a lot less scratch.

    These regularly come up at the motorcycle dealer-only auctions in Japan, and while I’ve been tempted to buy one for around-town winter use (it rains a lot here), I remember what’s already sitting in the garage and common sense takes over (damn! LOL).

    Like 3
  6. Derek F

    I’m going to purchase this for my 16-year old son.

    Pure birth control on wheels.

    Like 9
  7. Kenneth Carney

    Looks like my MIL’S motorized wheelchair
    on steroids! Showed this to Mom and she got a good chuckle out of it. Very clever and wickedly cool! Would use this to putt around my neighborhood or maybe down to the filling station for a
    cold soda, but not on any major roads.
    Folks on Havendale Blvd. drive fast and crazy and they think that road is the Daytona motor speedway! Sorry
    Mark, but this car needs to be preserved
    for what it is–a quirky little car that
    dared to be different.

    Like 2
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Easy to throw papers from Kenneth, To bad it lacks the capacity. Take care, Mike.

      Like 2
  8. Chinga-Trailer

    Looks like a modern day Peel or Bond MiniCar, probably just as practical too. I can’t imagine the dreary misery of piling on the 2620 miles this one has though.

    Like 1
  9. Don Holt

    The new isetta.

    Like 2
  10. Jimmy

    Yorkville, Illinois part of my youth was hanging out there in the bars. Used to be a sleepy little Fox River town now the over flow of Chicago suburbanites have created it in to a traffic nightmare and this featured vehicle better stay to a back road if they can find one.

    Like 2
  11. Kenneth Carney

    Hi Mike! Good to hear from you! I’d never
    put this on a route, I would use it to haul
    supplies after a hurricane knocks out the
    power and gas becomes temporarily unavailable. When Irma hit us here in
    Florida last year, our neighborhood lost
    power for 21/2 days. Not bad I guess
    consudering the rest of our town didn’t
    fare so well. There was much of our
    town without power for up to 2 weeks
    after the storm passed. When fitted
    with a pindle hitch out back, you could
    use this little rig to pull a small lawn
    trailer to the market to fetch what supplies you could use to get you
    through that rough patch until the lights
    come on again–provided you had either
    solar power or access to a gas generator
    to keep it fully charged. Oh, your neighbors may think you’re strange for
    parking something that weird in your
    garage, but wait until you can’t get gas
    for some reason. Then you’ll be the
    only one on your block that has transportation to wherever you need to
    go. If I had the funds, I’d buy this or
    something like it. That way I’ll be ready
    for the next big emergency.

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Great thinking Kenneth! I hope it does not come to that, I have a brother in Cape Coral. Hurricanes are BAD ! This little rig needs A/C, LOL! Take care, Mike.

      Like 1
  12. rod444

    Hey! I LOVE the Gizmo. It’s functional and quirky, which is exactly how my wife describes me. Except for the functional part.
    You guys just aren’t thinking deep enough. That ‘trunk’ is big enough for a Honda 2000w generator. Plug in the built in charger and you’ve got yer own hybrid, albeit slower and pricier than the same vintage Prius.
    But think of all the stories you’d collect driving this across ‘Merica on every back road and trail. Now that would be PRICELESS.

    Like 2
  13. fred

    I have a Gizmo, one of the same batch with the F-16 flight control sticks (heavily modified, demilitarized, of course) and it is a blast to drive. It’s great to see people’s expression when you open the door. You’ll frequently run into someone who confuses it with an Isetta! Really? Up versus sideways?

    With lithium iron phosphate batteries, and a bit higher voltage, the specs jump to 75 miles at 80% depth of discharge and 52 mph. Enough torque to smoke donuts, but I’ve never done it as I don’t care to risk an expensive drive belt replacement.

    NEVCO did a great job of building a limited production of these vehicles. All American made, mostly US-sourced parts. Brembo dual-piston caliper brakes means stopping isn’t a problem, especially with reverse trike geometry.

    The generator idea might not work too well, at least not with my rig. Seven miles additional range per hour of charge at 110v. 220v chargers for this type of chemistry are too expensive for me, and it takes only a little bit of planning to time the end-of-charge with departures. Consider that almost everyone has a “fueling station” at home when you can charge with 110v.

    Like 3
  14. Kenneth Carney

    Mike, we did do something similar to
    the plan I alluded to earlier. While Irma
    was on her way to Florida, we charged
    up every motorized wheelchair that we
    have parked around the house! Oh sure,
    Mom still uses her medicare issued
    unit, but we’ve also purchased several
    used units as well. We bought them
    from people who advertise them for
    sale on the Shopper, a local radio
    program where you can buy, sell, or
    trade items that you no longer need.
    While we bought them as spares in
    case something went wrong with Mom’s
    unit, she would have one to use until
    hers was repaired. Thankfully though,
    she only needed to use her chair as we
    kept it well charged while running the
    generator to power up the fridges and
    freezer. Long story short, we had
    transportation if we needed it! Still
    need to find some JCV underseat hitches
    that allow you to pull small wagons or
    carts behind the chair when you need
    them. Just got off work, time for bed!

    Like 2
  15. Earle

    Timeframe out of wack, 1832 to 2019 is 187 years and the best we could do is Tesla. This thing is just another fail along the road to fail.
    Personally, I believe a wind-up with a skate key would be more functional.

    Like 1
  16. MSG Bob

    First time I’ve ever seen an eBay ad withdrawn because “item lost or broken”. Sure would like to hear the story behind that.

    Like 1
    • Chinga-Trailer

      When one ends an eBay auction early, a reason must be selected by the seller from a drop down menu box. Whenever I list a car on eBay I will make my phone number prominent in the listing so that an interested prospect can easily contact me. If we agree on a price and I get a deposit (or full payment) I end the listing. Likewise with a Craigslist ad I disable the email reply option and again make my phone number prominent (easy to do even though Craigslist discourages it). It has been my experience that scammers text, time wasters email but serious buyers call.

      Like 3
      • MSG Bob

        So the seller just selected the wrong item from the drop-down box? Darn — I was so looking forward to seeing how he lost or broke it. OTOH, imagine the dialog. “Hon, that little bitty car you told me to sell? I’m afraid I lost it — it was right here in my sock drawer a minute ago.”

  17. robert veach

    I am Robert Veach the original owner of this vehicle and all the pictures that were used. It sold very quickly to a great guy who collects these types of vehicles. I helped him replace all the batteries and he is continuing to improve the car with LED lights. It was a pleasure putting on those miles with this car , not a burden as a few suggested.

  18. freddotu

    I need to put my Gizmo on the market soon, before it crumbles in the Florida heat. It’s under cover, so it’s not all that bad, but hot is hot. It’s good to see your name again, Robert.

    • robert veach

      Hello Fred! It’s been a while. I hated to sell the Gizmo but my health is failing and I had to. At least now it is continuing it’s life with another owner who appreciates everything unique about this car. Hope you have success selling yours to a fan also.

  19. freddotu

    It’s interesting that your reason is nearly the same as mine. The go-kart suspension was slamming my spine, even though I had changed the coil-over-shocks to a gentler version. I could have reduced the tire pressure, I suppose, but that would cost me miles, maybe one or two.

    I’ve had to succumb to old age by moving from my electric self balancing unicycle to an Airwheel S8, a sit-down “segway” type transport (no handlebars). Not as much fun as the Gizmo, but still a blast for local errands.

  20. robert veach

    Just looked at a vid of the Airwheel S8, looks like it might be spine slammer also!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnxdq0McL3A

    • freddotu

      I put a gel seat cover on the seat to reduce the butt cheek “stadium seat” fatigue and it made all the difference. I stand up once in a while, at crosswalks while waiting for the light and all is well. When the temperatures got cold here, I had to bundle up, as there’s no convenient cockpit around me as there is in the Gizmo. Those 55° F. temperatures are brutal!

      • robert veach

        Makes sense to add some seat comfort.

        Those 55° F. temperatures are brutal!????

        We just has – 35 degree wind chills (yes that is a minus) temps in Illinois!

  21. freddotu

    I’m sorry, you’re breaking up…

  22. Larry

    I recently purchased a Gizmo. I’m looking for a set of wheels for it and also
    the widows for. If anybody out knows where I might be able to acquire these items please send me an E-mail.

    • fred_dot_u

      The wheels are ordinary boat trailer wheels. You could snap a photo and visit any competent wheel house for replacements, or even a boat sales location.

      Unless I die, there’s no widows here.

      Oh, windows… okay. When I purchased my Gizmo, the previous owner had removed all the coverings, but included them. I was able to force the fiberglass top enough to get things back in place.

      If you have remnants of the covering system, consider another boat related trip, this time to someone who does boat upholstery, as many watercraft will have zippers, stitching, vinyl windows. There’s such a business not far from me and she told me that with the increase in vinyl prices, my enclosure would be a few hundred bucks.

      • Larry

        Thanks for the info. I’ll look into it .

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