If one wanted to create / manufacture a series of low cost NEVs the best bet might be commuta-cars. If you can get past the appearance
they are already electric, street legal (without the speed limitation) and they passed crash safety requirements as of when they were built. Getting one, rehabbing it and installing a modern 72v electrical system will probably run around $5-6K all told which is still way less than buying a new one. They are fairly common as several thousand were built and there is almost always one or two on ebay at any given time.