Low Speed Vehicles
The highest numbers of electric vehicles being used on the roads are Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs). Estimates include over 40,000 LSVs having been sold for use as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). There are possibly dozens of companies making LSVs and creating jobs right here in the USA.
There are at least three separate classes of NEVs being produced and marketed. These include:
A LUV in every garage
Local Use Vehicles
All of three types of NEVs are operating under the Low Speed Vehicle specification that calls for a very basic set of safety features. The safety features were established so that these vehicles can be used in limited situations such as golf courses and corporate or university campus settings. They are being used in increasing numbers in urban situations and that is raising a mixture of safety issues.
The following safety issues apply to the basic and developing NEVs:
Due to the pluses and minuses of the Basic Low Speed Vehicles it would be best if a safer alternative were available. That alternative would need a set of safety specification appropriate for urban use and yet one that would allow manufacturers to keep the price for these vehicles reasonable.
Fully Advanced NEVs have very significant safety improvements over the basic requirements. They need to be able to go 35 miles per hour to keep up with urban traffic. They also have huge safety advantages built into the fact that they would be limited in speed. That is why the Medium Speed Electric Vehicle Standard is necessary.
Advanced NEVS Solve Most of the Negatives
This is an approach that starts with the basics and allows for a natural growth based on profits and reasonable investments. It is an approach that can support the domestic production of these vehicles and even higher levels of performance. It does require the support of government as the lack of supportive safety regulations is holding back the US manufacturers of these vehicles.
Ø They have minimal crash protection
Ø They operate on some of the safest streets with
low speed limits, which reduce the chances of an accident.
Ø They are limited to 25 miles an hour so they impede
the flow of traffic.
Ø People feel safer when they keep up with traffic so they increase the speed to 35 mph.
Ø Thirty-five miles-an-hour involves twice as much potentially destructive energy as 25 mph.
Ø Crash testing
has shown that the vehicles do not protect the occupants and that crashes at even 30 mph can be fatal in a basic NEV.
Ø There are no solid reports of significant crashes with the vehicles so fatalities and serious injuries are negligible.
Ø The combination of lightweight, compact size and low speed means the vehicles are many times less hazardous to each other as well
as to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles and wheel chairs in our neighborhoods.
Ø The vehicles offer far
greater safety than motorcycles or motor scooters and other vehicles being used on the roads including ATVs and snow mobiles not to
mention skates and skateboards.
This is a clear reason to put the needed Medium Speed EV regulations in place.
MSEV Need Support
Ten States have passed regulations to support MSEVs. Contact us for details.
Copyright Speakers Press July 2010 all rights reserved. Use rights free for not for profits when authorized 805-652-1482
The Starting Point of our
Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Industry
Ø Basic NEVs
such as the GEM shown below, conform to the Low Speed Vehicle regulations spelled out in
the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) Section 571 500.
Ø Developing NEVs
that are part of
the way to being and Advanced NEV and need a lot of added safety features.
Ø Advanced NEVs
enclosed bodies with crash resistant features and numerous safety features that satisfy many of the passenger vehicle standards (FMVSS
sections 571 100 through 200)
The GEM and the Roadster below are a basic NEV even with doors. These are raising concerns about safety.
In addition to the MSEV standard the manufacturers of these vehicles need support with research and development to meet the standards. They also need help to produce as many of these vehicles here in the USA to create jobs and stop the money drain from our economy.
NEVs are a start in producing a volume of electric vehicles. The market size increases dramatically when the speed goes to 35 mph. That would allow for larger volume production. Larger volume production would bring the costs down. More affordable vehicles would help increase the volume even further. A few cycles of growth like that and the electric vehicle industry would really start to take off.