Who We Are

The Light Electric Vehicle Education and Research (LEVER) Institute is a consortium of powered micromobility researchers and educators that currently includes faculty and staff from University of Tennessee, Portland State University, University of North Carolina, Queensland University of Technology and Monash University. LEVER started in 2014 to bring together some of the leading researchers in the field to collectively answer some of the biggest questions related to emerging micromobility vehicle systems.

Our Misson

The mission of the LEVER is to bring a collective focus through interdisciplinary research directed at micromobility adoption, system integration, societal impacts, and related policy. The LEVER Institute on micromobility vehicles aims to bridge academia, industry, government, and non-government organizations to solve pressing challenges related to successful integration of micromobility systems.

What are LEVs?

  • Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) are a class of powered micromobility vehicles.
  • Most LEVs are electric two-wheelers, but many three- and four-wheelers are being developed.
  • Over 300 million LEVs have been sold in last 10 years.
  • Shared e-scooters have eclipsed all other shared micromobility systems in their first years of use.
  • LEVs are typically low speed electric vehicles.
  • In the US, most are not classified by FMVSS.
  • LEVs often have different performance characteristics than their internal combustion counterparts.

Types of LEVs


E-Scooters emerged widely in 2017 with the launch of shared and dockless e-scooter programs throughout the United States followed by other countries. These small, low-speed standing electric scooters ushered in a new era for micromobility.


E-bikes are bicycles with an electric motor that most-often assists the rider who pedals like a normal bicycle. Some e-bikes have a throttle to provide assistance. Most e-bikes are classified as bicycles and provide similar functions, but can extend the riders’ range and overcome hills.

Mini Electric Cars

Mini-electric cars are generally much smaller than even the smallest conventional passenger cars. They sometimes are built on tricycle or quadricycle platforms. They are popular in China and generally provide sheltered low-speed mobility.

E-Cargo Vehicles

Micromobility vehicles have an opportunity to fill an important niche in urban goods delivery. A class of LEVs has developed around the delivery of urban goods, from parcels to food. They are often heavier and more powerful than personal micromobility, even if they are sometimes slower. E-trikes are the most popular form of LEV e-cargo vehicles.