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Legality of LSVs / NEVs / NZEVs by Jurisdiction

Last updated 2012.06.16

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Current laws, regulations & rules by Canadian Province / Territory

The following information has been gathered from a variety of sources, and is believed to be correct. However, please verify the rules for your jurisdiction before acquiring or operating an NEV/LSV/MSV. We accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the information presented here as rules are changing and enabling / prohibiting legislation is complex and unique by jurisdiction. If you believe the information here is incorrect or out of date, please let us know.

The Canadian federal government has created a national vehicle classification that largely mirrors the U.S. rules. In general, provincial and territorial rules for road vehicles are not permissive. Therefore, if there are no rules, the vehicles are not permitted as the vehicle classification is not approved for on-road use.

Alberta - illegal
British Columbia - legal but must be permitted by each municipality (to ensure everyone is as confused as possible, BC also calls these vehicles NZEVs for Neighbourhood Zero Emissions Vehicles)


From the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act: "Neighbourhood zero emission vehicles 24.06 (1) A person may drive or operate a neighbourhood zero emission vehicle in unorganized areas of British Columbia
(a) on a highway or class of highway that has a speed limit of 40 km/hr or less,
(b) if authorized by a road use permit granted by the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure under this section, on a highway or class of highway that has a speed limit of over 40 km/hr but no more than 50 km/hr, or
(c) if the vehicle is being operated in accordance with the provisions applicable to a utility vehicle as provided for in section 24.03.
(2) A person may drive or operate a neighbourhood zero emission vehicle in a municipality
(a) on a highway or class of highway that has a speed limit of 40 km/hr or less,
(b) if authorized by bylaw of the council of the municipality, on a highway or class of highway that has a speed limit of over 40 km/h but no more than 50 km/hr, or
(c) if the vehicle is being operated in accordance with the provisions applicable to a utility vehicle as provided for in section 24.03.
(3) A person who drives or operates a neighbourhood zero emission vehicle as authorized by subsection (1) or (2) may, at an intersection, cross a highway that has a speed limit that is not greater than 80 km/hr to enable the person to continue on a highway on which the person is authorized to drive or operate a neighbourhood zero emission vehicle.
(4) The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure may, for the purposes of subsection (1) (b), grant a permit authorizing a person to drive or operate a vehicle on a highway or class of highway that has a speed limit of over 40 km/hr but no more than 50 km/hr.
[en. B.C. Reg. 351/2008, Sch. s. 13.]

Grandparenting of neighbourhood zero emission vehicles
24.07 (1) Section 24.06 does not apply to a neighbourhood zero emission vehicle that
(a) was owned or leased by a person on or before June 5, 2008, and
(b) continues to be owned or leased by the same person after that date.
(2) A neighbourhood zero emission vehicle referred to in subsection (1) may be driven or operated on a highway in accordance with this section.
(3) Sections 4.30 and 7B.02 to 7B.04 apply to a neighbourhood zero emission vehicle described in subsection (1) that is being driven or operated on a highway.
(4) A person who
(a) owned or leased a neighbourhood zero emission vehicle on or before June 5, 2008, and
(b) continues to own or lease the vehicle after that date
may apply to the director to exempt that vehicle from subsection (3).
(5) Despite subsection (1), section 24.06 applies to a vehicle that has been exempted under subsection (4).
[en. B.C. Reg. 351/2008, Sch. s. 13.]"

These progressive British Columbia municipalities have legalized LSVs:

  • Burnaby 2008.10.27
  • Colwood 2009.03.09 (look for Bylaw 1090)
  • Coquitlam 2009.06.15 Bylaw 4036
  • Delta 2011.05.09 Bylaw 6922
  • Esquimault 2008.11.03
  • Maple Ridge 2010.01.26 Bylaw 6704 - Look for clause 9.3
  • New Westminster 2011.01.10 Bylaw 7440
  • North Vancouver (As of 2009.04.06, with two streets excepted, and vehicle owners require a municipal permit as well as provincial vehicle licence)
    City of North Vancouver buys their own LSV truck. Way to go, North Van!
  • Oak Bay (the first to do so, 2008.08.18)
  • Port Coquitlam 2009.03.09
  • Port Moody 2009.04.14 or later Section 5.13
  • Qualicum Beach 2008.11.03
  • Richmond 2009.09.01 Bylaw 8536
  • Sooke
  • Tofino 2010.07.29Bylaw 1130
  • Ucluelet (2009.05.12 [item B-5] Ucluelet's NZEV brochure - nice touch)
  • Vancouver
  • Vernon (coming soon as of June 2012)
  • Victoria 2010.05.27 Bylaw 10-037 (note sunset clause that only legalizes these vehicles for 2 years)
  • Whistler 2008.11.17 Whistler's Bylaw
    (Saanich, Sidney and Vernon have expressly rejected these environmentally-friendly, zero-emissions vehicles from its streets.)

    If I have missed your B.C. community and it permits NZEVs, please let me know.


    Manitoba - unknown - as of June 12, 2008 (Bill 15 amended the Highway Traffic Act so that regulations related to low speed vehicles could be established, (see section titled "Regulations re low-speed vehicles"), but to date I cannot find any such regulations in force).


    New Brunswick - illegal
    Newfoundland - illegal
    Northwest Territory - illegal
    Nova Scotia - illegal
    Nunavut - illegal


    Ontario

    When it comes to LSVs, Ontario has officially legalized unicorns for on-road use

    Ontario's Web page on LSV rules for road use.

    While Ontario technically permits LSVs on their roads posted at speeds 50 km/h and below as of March 21, 2009, they have added a unique set of at least 5 requirements beyond the federal standard set out in CMVSS 500, knowing that no manufacturer currently meets, or is prepared to meet, those additional standards for a small market. In other words, the only vehicles that meet Ontario's LSV rules are completely fictional, like unicorns. Further, the Ontario rules explicitly outlaw the building of one-off LSVs by individuals, even if they want to meet Ontario's odd requirements. The additional requirements show a conscious and determined ignorance of the history of LSVs, the reason for the FMVSS 500 / CMVSS 500 rules in effect for NEVs / LSVs in the U.S. and Canada, the solid safety record of LSVs throughout North America to date, a refusal to embrace an environmentally friendly transportation option, and a refusal to harmonize laws with other North American jurisdictions.


    Prince Edward Island - illegal

    Quebec - currently 2 models (both made in Quebec) are allowed on Quebec roads posted up to 50 km/h under a pilot project (2008 - 2011) - vehicles limited to 40 km/h. Since the pilot project began, one of the vehicles permitted within it, the ZENN, has ceased production (in early 2010). The only other legal vehicle under the pilot program is a utility truck, the Nemo, which is not very attractive for residential householder use.


    Saskatchewan - illegal
    Yukon - illegal


    Current laws, regulations & rules by U.S. State

    U.S. law allows NEVs to qualify as either Low Speed Vehicles (maximum speed 25 mph) or Medium Speed Vehicles (maximum speed 35 mph). Originally NEVs were all LSV class, and states are slowly embracing the MSV NEV.

    The following information has been gathered from a variety of sources, and is believed to be correct. However, please verify the rules for your jurisdiction before acquiring or operating an NEV/LSV/MSV. We accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the information presented here as rules are changing and enabling / prohibiting legislation is complex and unique by jurisdiction. If you believe the information here is incorrect or out of date, please let us know.

    Alabama - unknown
    Alaska - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Arizona - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph, must display notice of restrictions on use
    Arkansas - no NEV specific regulations
    California - Legal on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Colorado - Legal on roads posted up to 35 mph if approved by municipality
    Connecticut - Illegal
    Delaware - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    District of Columbia - no information
    Florida - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Georgia - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Hawaii - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph, must display notice of restrictions on use
    Idaho - Legal on roads posted 25 mph or less - may not even cross roads posted at higher speeds
    Illinois - Legal 35 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Illinois Law 096-0653 (recent amendments regarding low speed vehicles took effect January 1, 2010)
    Indiana - Legal 35 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Iowa - Legal on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Kansas - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 40 mph
    Kentucky - Illegal (as near as I can tell, there is passed legislation pending which will make NEVs ('alternative electric vehicles' in Kentucky) legal after January 1, 2010) 2008.08.05)
    Louisiana - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Maine - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Maryland - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 30 mph
    Massachusetts - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 30 mph (as of July, 2009)
    Michigan - Legal on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Minnesota - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Mississippi - no information
    Missouri - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Montana - Legal 35 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 45 mph
    Nebraska - Illegal
    Nevada - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    New Hampshire - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    New Jersey - Legal on roads posted 25 mph or less, municipalities may allow use on roads posted up to 35 mph
    New Mexico - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph, must display notice of restrictions on use
    New York - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    North Carolina - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    North Dakota - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Ohio - Legal (2002) references federal LSV rules


    Oklahoma - (since 2001.11.01) Legal 35 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    From Statutes of Oklahoma: "47-11-805.1. Low-speed electrical vehicles - Restrictions on operation.
    A. No person shall operate any low-speed electrical vehicle on any street or highway with a posted speed limit greater than thirty-five (35) miles per hour. B. The provisions of subsection A of this section shall not prohibit a low-speed vehicle from crossing a street or highway with a posted speed limit greater than thirty-five (35) miles per hour. C. This section shall not prevent a city from adopting any ordinance that would further restrict low-speed electrical vehicles from operating on certain city-owned streets in order to ensure the public health and safety. D. This section shall be a part of and supplemental to the rules of the road as provided in Section 11-101 et seq. of Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes. Added by Laws 2001, c. 243, 2, eff. Nov. 1, 2001."
    Oregon - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Pennsylvania - Illegal
    Rhode Island - Legal on roads posted up to 25 mph (Prudence Island only between hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
    South Carolina - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    South Dakota - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Tennessee - Legal 35 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 40 mph
    Texas - Legal on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Utah - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph, must show slow moving vehicle marker on rear of vehicle
    Vermont - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Virginia - Legal 25 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 35 mph
    Washington - Legal 35 mph vehicle speed limit, operate on roads posted up to 45 mph
    West Virginia - Legal on roads posted 25 mph or less
    Wisconsin - Legal on roads posted up to 35 mph, subject to municipal regulations (LSVs or NEVs must be approved in each municipal jurisdiction)
    Wyoming - Illegal

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