Photo by courtesy of Chicago Tribune
The U.S. denominates battery operated electric vehicles as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV), which are 4-wheel Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) or, in California, Zero-Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) that:
- Fall under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 500 (FMVSS 500) with no Federal regulations specifically pertaining to the powertrain;
- Have a maximum loaded weight of 3,000 lb (1,400 kg);
- Have a top speed of 25 miles (40 km) per hour;
- Are street-legal to roads with posted speed limit of 45 miles (72 km) per hour;
- Must be titled and registered.
Here is a summary of the latest global Community EV Regulations on a power point for your easy reference.
The Development of NEVs
NEVs have a typical driving range of 30 miles (48 km) per charge and a typical 3-year battery durability. NEV sellers are bound by law to limit the top speed to 25 miles (40 km) per hour, however, NEV buyers are allowed to modify it to go 35 mph (56 km/h) in accordance with the safety requirements of passenger cars, including 3-point seat belts, headlights, brake lights, running lights, reflectors, rear view mirrors, turn signals, etc. Windshield wipers, window defroster, speedometer, odometer, back-up light and doors are additional requirements subject to local governments.
Where NEVs stand in the U.S.
- NEVs are street-legal in 46 states as of February 2012, which include Alameda, Playa Vista, Los Angeles, Linclon and Coronado of California, Put-in-Bay of Ohio, etc.; (Sources: Autoblog Green 2012-02-10)
- There are some communities designed specifically with NEVs, e.g., Celebration and The Villages of Florida, Peachtree City of Georgia;
- The two largest NEV markets in 2011 are the United States, with 14,737 units sold, and France, 2,231 units; (Sources: Pike Research 2012-02-05)
- Estimated annual global sales of NEVs in 2017 are 55,000 units with half in North America; (Sources: Pike Research by Autoblog 2012-02-06)
- GEM of Polaris ranks global big one and sold 50,000+ units globally during 1998 and 2014. (Sources: Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2015-11-22)
Some interesting NEV news
- The Future of Electric Vehicles Is Golf Carts, Not Tesla (By Thomas Bartman of Harvard Business Review, May 14, 2015)
- City of Atlanta sets National Example by launching Electric Vehicle Fleet Program (By City of Atlanta Government, August 18, 2015
- Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Launch at Ponce City Market’s BeltLine Shed (By OnGeorgia, August 15, 2016)
- Small Illinois towns drive golf cart popularity, but safety a concern (By Chicago Tribune, September 10, 2016)