September 04, 2008
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles Grow In Popularity

US state governments are changing regulations to allow “neighborhood ­electric vehicles” (NEVs) onto many roads.

At least 40 states have now passed laws to permit NEVs to operate on many state roads with more working on new regulations. Meanwhile, some 40,000 NEVs are operating nationwide, says the Electric-Drive Transportation Association. Kentucky and Massachusetts are considering regulations to permit low-speed vehicles (LSVs) on state roads. LSV is a federal designation that includes NEVs, and also some gas-powered vehicles.

Federal standards established for LSVs in 1998 set equipment requirements and operating standards. What separates NEVs from golf carts, for instance, includes minimum vehicle speed of 20 miles per hour and a top speed of 25 m.p.h. They must have windshield wipers, headlights, taillights, and turn signals, to name just a few differences.

State laws vary. In New Jersey, Pringle successfully lobbied the state to allow LSVs in 2004. Rhode Island and West Virginia permit them on roads posted at 25 miles per hour. Kansas allows them on roads up to 40 m.p.h. and Montana up to 45.

Some people expect the coming decline in world oil production to cause a collapse of civilization. I do not see it because I see so many ways we can cut back on energy usage while still maintaining civilized lifestyles. Scooters and small electric vehicles are two ways we can still get around while using far less energy. They aren't as comfortable or as safe as full sized cars. But they will keep us moving around.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 September 04 10:25 PM  Energy Transportation

Anon said at September 5, 2008 10:41 AM:

Aptera is a new company in California that is developing a three-wheeled electric vehicle that will be able to travel at 85mph and can get 120 miles per charge, so it looks like we arent stuck with the electric golf carts that can only go 25mph.

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