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Low Speed electric Vehicles (LSV) / Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) / Neighbourhood Zero Emissions Vehicles (NZEV)
Last updated 2010.02.10
We do not sell NEVs, LSVs, NZEVs or MSVs. We think zero-emissions low-noise LSVs and NEVs are a great form of urban transportation, and in particular suitable to indoor/outdoor operation. We think they are poised to explode in popularity, where they are not being hindered by government and institutional barriers. We do sell Soneil battery chargers, both high and low current models, which would be ideal for charging LSVs / NEVs.
In the U.S., the preferred term is NEV. In the U.S., LSVs can be powered by gasoline. In Canada, LSVs can only be electric. For the purposes of this page, I will use the term NEV most of the time, as the E for electric is visible in the acronym. In some U.S. states, electric Medium Speed Vehicles are also included in the NEV category (speeds up to 35 mph permitted).
NEV is not synonymous with electric car. There are many electric cars which are capable of travelling at highway speeds, while NEVs are limited by law to lower speeds (typically 25 or 35 mph, depending on the state, or 40 km/h in those few Canadian jurisdictions that have joined the 21st century by acknowledging the vehicle classification exists.)
The NEV has a number of advantages that we think will contribute to their growing popularity. NEVs do not use gasoline or diesel fuel, which has environmental and energy security benefits. NEVs have an enviable safety record, because of their restricted maximum speed and corresponding areas of use. As a result of this safety record, NEVs get very favourable insurance rates. Using an NEV to run short trips reduces wear and tear on a highway-capable gasoline vehicle, which is the usual alternative, which extends the live and value of that vehicle. NEVs are quiet, which is a great thing in residential and urban areas where they tend to be used.
Not all U.S. states have embraced the NEV yet, there are still 4 or 5 hold-outs. In Canada, the situation is reversed, and only 3 or 4 jurisdictions have accommodated NEVs at all. (It's unclear what Manitoba's stance is on the subject.) In British Columbia, LSVs must essentially be legalized one municipality at a time, creating a nightmare patchwork of regulations. In Ontario, onerous additional regulations have been placed on LSVs, such that no manufacturer is prepared to enter the Ontario market (too small to warrant the extra cost of a variant model). Quebec has started a pilot project which includes only the two models of LSV built in the province.
While the NEV is a recent innovation (circa 1995) in vehicle classifications, it already
has an interesting and somewhat tumultuous history.
Paper: Regulatory Impediments to Neighborhood Electric Vehicles: Safety Standards and Zero-Emission Vehicle Rules by Timoty E. Lipman, Kenneth S. Kurani and Daniel Sperling. (PDF, 1994)
Low Speed Electric Vehicles enable 'Go Green' initiatives (February 2010)
Club Car announces its first street-legal LSV (November 2009)
There is a Yahoo! group for NEVs.
Where LSVs / NEVs are legal (or not) by jurisdiction (Canada and the U.S)
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