Aspen To Add NEV Charging Outlets To Parking Garage

The city of Aspen, CO has approved a plan to add 27 electrical outlets to their Rio Grande Parking Garage so NEV owners can recharge their vehicles when parking them overnight.  Since NEVs are  no emission vehicles they are allowed to park for free and owners use them while in town during the day.

The city parks department is drawing up contracts for owners based on access charges so the charging won’t be for free.  The system is expected to be ready by the summer.  Learn more:

Curtis Industries Offers Modular Cab System For Polaris Ranger

Curtis Industries Modular-Rapid Convertible System For Polaris Ranger

Curtis Industries Modular-Rapid Convertible System For Polaris Ranger Colors shown for illustration purposes. Comes in black

Curtis Industries of Worcester, MA is offering a new modular cab system for the 2009 Polaris Ranger utility vehicle available later this year.  The Rapid Convertible System (RCS) is designed to allow the user to convert from an enclosed vehicle to an open air vehicle in 60 seconds. Learn more:

Curtis Industries

Smith Electric Vehicles Chooses Kansas City As Plant Site

Later today Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp is expected to announce that they have chosen Kansas City, MO as the site for their assembly plant. The plant will be located near the Kansas City International Airport and is expected to eventually employ 200 people within three years. The consortium involving Ford and British based Tanfield Group is expected to invest $5 million in the plant that will produce an electric version of Ford’s Transit Connect delivery vans and Smith’s Newton electric truck.

The first vehicles to be produced will be the Newtons with a third quarter launch date as the target. The company expects to produce 10,000 vehicles annually for a US market estimated to be 200,000 for delivery trucks of this size. The Transit Connect vehicles are expected to roll off the line in 2010.

The plant will be located near Kokam America Inc, a lithium ion battery manufacturer, and Fords assembly plant for Escape and Mariner hybrids. In addition, Valence Technology, battery supplier to Smith’s UK parent company, is located relatively close in Austin, TX. Learn more:


In related news, Smith Electric Vehicles announced they sold their first electric Newton in the Ireland market to a building materials retailer. The company will use the vehicle for deliveries. Ireland plans to have 10% of all their vehicles be electric powered by 2020. Learn more:

Update: Smith Vehicles will receive an estimated $2 million in tax credits and $1 million in job training assistance from the Missouri state government .  The company is leasing an 80,000 sq. ft. facility and expects to create 120 jobs by 2010.  Learn more:

Canada’s Ministry of Transportation Approves LSV Test Project

Pelee Island in Ontario will be the location for Canada’s Ministry of Transportation’s pilot project to assess the use of LSVs on public roads.  The island has no traffic lights and only a few hundred year round residents but the population swells to over a thousand during the summer.  The experiment is slated to run through 2014 after which recommendations will be made about allowing LSVs in mixed traffic.  Besides insurance and registration the vehicles will also need a slow moving vehicle sign on the back. Learn more:

Evergreen Electromotive Looking To Produce Three-Wheel Utility Vehicles

Evergreen Electromotive based in Bainbridge Island is raising funds to finish additional prototypes and establish production facilities for three-wheeled utility vehicles. Led by Bob Fraik, a former software engineer from Sun Microsystems and NeXT, the company has already produced the ECH, a four wheeled MSV prototype with a carbon composite body and lithium iron phosphate battery pack giving it a range of 80 miles.

Evergreen Electromotives Prototype Four-Wheel Vehicle

Evergreen Electromotive's Prototype ECH - Four-Wheel MSV

The company is finishing work on two prototype three-wheel vehicles and is looking to establish production facilities in the Port of Bremerton, WA industrial center. The production vehicles are expected to have a top speed of over 50 mph but can be calibrated for lower speeds, and will be targeted for government and corporate fleets. Learn more:

Yamaha Touts Rhino First Responder Program

In less than three years more than 600 Rhinos have been put into service with first responders through Yamaha’s Law Loan Program and Government Order Program according to a Yamaha press release. The first program loans the side-by-side vehicles and other products free of charge to law enforcement, fire fighters, EMTs, U.S. Border Patrol, volunteer riding groups and others, while the latter program provides discounts to government agencies. Some of the organizations participating in the programs include the: Sunwannee County Fire Rescue of Live Oak, Florida, Clearwater County Sheriff’s Department in Orofino, Idaho, San Angelo Lake & Park Police Department in San Angelo, Texas and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Division. Learn more:

Think Inks Deal For Dutch Market

Think Global has signed a memorandum of understanding to supply 500 Th!nk vehicles in 2009 to Elmonet for sale in The Netherlands.  Elmonet is a subsidiary of Mobility Service Netherlands.  The cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are expected to be key markets.  The Dutch government has developed a 10 million euro fund to advance the introduction of electric vehicles.

Previously in financial difficulty, Think Global has recently raised funds from a variety of sources and is looking to expand beyond Norway, it’s original market, to Europe and the US.   Learn more:

Road Use Regulations Round Up

This round up features some action in Canada, Wisconsin, Colorado and some other states as well as signs of growing interest in medium speed vehicle regulations.

Grand Chute, WI – Town asking state for help regarding the use of NEVs on some of the many roads under state jurisdiction that criss-cross the city.

Loveland, COHouse Bill 1026, which would allow neighborhood electric vehicles on public highways, passed the Judiciary Committee and will be going to a House vote.

North Vancouver, Canada – City council rejects staff recommendations to wait for additional LSV safety standards before allowing vehicles on roads.

Sedona, AZ – Public transportation commission recommends feasibility study to look at NEVs as a public transportation option.

British Columbia, Canada – Motor vehicle regulations amended to allow incidental use of roads by utility vehicles during their normal off-road use.

Kennebunk, ME – ZAP Xebra three-wheeled truck doesn’t pass registration as a motorcycle and therefore cannot be legally driven. Amendment to address issue in process.

Flower Mound, TX – Transportation commission is urged to look at LSV regulations in anticipation of increased usage of the vehicles.

Denver, CO – State Senate bill aims to create uniform road use regulations for LSVs

South Daytona, FL – After a favorable feasibility study, city officials are moving ahead on allowing golf carts to be used on city streets.

Manitoba, Canada – Manitoba province is looking at enacting similar legislation as Ontario and Quebec to allow LSVs on public roads.

Merrill, WI – City officials are drafting legislation to allow NEVs on public roads with speed limits of 35mph or less

Medium Speed Vehicle Regulations – At the end of February nine states were considering medium speed vehicle laws: Hawaii, New Mexico, Kentucky, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Georgia and Colorado. Speed limits proposed ranged from 35mph to 50 mph with most at 45 mph. Five states who have already adopted MSEV laws include Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

Connecticut – Some State Representatives are pushing to legalize NEVs

BG Automotive Shows Off Prototype Electric Vehicle

BG Automotive C100 Prototype               Photo Credit:  Clifford Atiyeh & Boston Globe

BG Automotive C100 Prototype Photos: Clifford Atiyeh/Boston Globe

BG Automotive recently showed a prototype of their C100 NEV to Massachusetts officials in hopes of generating financial support for production facilities in the state. They are also looking to obtain funding from the US Department of Energy.

The C100 features a 48 volt, 18 hp electric motor powered by eight lead acid batteries and has a range of 60-80 miles according to the company. Except for the controller, motor and batteries which are produced in the US, the rest of the vehicle’s parts are produced in China. Price range will be $16,000 to $18,000.

A Boston Globe reporter took the vehicle for a parking lot test drive and had a mixed review.


  • Decent economy car
  • Good seat position
  • Some nice features


  • Noise
  • Slow acceleration
  • Poor braking

The company still expects to make a May/June 2009 launch date despite not having any facilities in place. Learn more: Boston Globe Article

Update 3/23:  The article is updated to note that the vehicle is actually the Chang’an Ben Ben or Chana Benni produced in China.