Road Use Regulations Roundup – November, 2011

Some trends in this latest regulation roundup:

  • A lot of action the past few months on ordinances allowing ATVs, UTVs, mini-trucks and modified and sometimes un-modified golf cars on public roads.  While some concerns about safety still persist, we may be looking at an expansion of the type of small, task-oriented vehicles that are allowed on public roads.
  • With Nebraska passing a LSV law and Pennsylvania in the process of passing one, only Connecticut, Mississippi and Montana (no LSV but an MSV law) have not passed an LSV law.
  • Higher ordinance activity areas:  Minnesota which is usually active and Ohio which is a relative newcomer
  • Some more activity at the county level in the past few months

State Level Regulations

Pennsylvania – State House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that

“…authorizes travel in NEVs on roadways with a posted speed limit of no more than 25 mph and allows NEVs to cross roadways posted with a higher maximum speed. They can only be operated during daylight hours. NEVs will be required to be equipped with most basic safety equipment, such as brakes, mirrors, seatbelts, windshield and wipers, speedometer, odometer, headlamps, stop lamps, turn signals and reflectors, and a slow-moving vehicle emblem. In addition, NEV drivers must possess a valid license certificate of title, registration and insurance.”

The state is one of only a few that have not passed a LSV law yet.

Nebraska – The governor signed a law allowing NEVs/LSVs on low speed roads.  LSV owners will be required to have a valid operator’s license and liability insurance coverage. The vehicles will be subject to titling requirements, a registration fee of $15 and a new alternative fuel fee of $75 for vehicles using a source of energy not taxed under the motor fuel laws. The alternative fuel fee will replace the alternative fuel tax.

Louisiana – State legislature is debating allowing mini-trucks on public roads.

 Municipality Level Regulations

Wapello, IA – City council is discussing allowing golf cars and utility vehicles on city streets and receiving a mixed reaction from residents.

Sunman, IN – City council will allow golf cars on city streets. Vehicles need to be inspected and have safety features like turn signals, safety belts, reflectors and slow moving vehicle emblems.

Marathon, FL – City allows modified golf cars on low speed streets.  Under the auspicies of the state statue, any golf car meeting the safety and speed requirements will be able to use streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.  A city ordinance with different requirements would of required the city to do their own licensing and other onerous administrative duties regarding the vehicles.

Dundee, IL – Village Trustee is pushing the town to revisit the idea of allowing NEVs and LSVs on low speed village roads.

Lauderdale-by-the-sea, FL – The town is creating four parking spaces in their commercial area specifically for use by NEVs.

Augusta County, VA – Supervisors passed an ordinance allowing golf cars and utility vehicles on country roads with speed limits of 25 mph or less.

Bryan City, OH – Initiated ordinance that allows “neighborhood electric vehicles, urban electric vehicles and golf cars/carts” which have been modified to meet certain criteria to use roads with speed limits up to 25 mph.   Driving hours on public roads for the vehicles is limited to daylight hours.

Findlay, OH – City is considering allowing modified golf cars on low speed city streets.

Tecumseh, NE – Town council allows the use of ATVs and UTVs on city streets.  The ordinance allows ATVs and utility vehicles during daylight hours for licensed drivers with liability insurance. Vehicles must be equipped with a bicycle safety flag and not exceed 30 mph.

Riverside County, CA – The governor of California signed legislation that lets Riverside County open up more low speed roads for low speed vehicles.

Mankato, MN – City passed an ordinance that allowed UTVs and mini-trucks on city streets.  Lower speed golf cars were removed from the ordinance.

Canyon Lake, CA – LSVs/NEVs will not be allowed to use Railroad Canyon Road because of safety concerns related to the vehicles mixing with faster traffic.

Polk County, MN – County commissioners passed an ordinance that authorizes the use of four-wheel ATVs, mini trucks and golf carts on county roads.

Morris, MN – City council is considering an ordinance that allows ATVs, UTVs, mini-trucks and golf cars on city streets.

Reedsburg, WI – City council amended an ordinance to now allow gas as well as electric LSVs on public roads.

Toro UTVs At Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

In what has to be one of the most unique applications for UTVs, Toro’s MD line of utility vehicles will help anchor and guide the balloons at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Toro dealer, Storr Tractor company of NJ, will provide 42 MDX gas powered vehicles vehicles and 4 MDE electric powered vehicles for the parade which travels down a 2.5 mile route through Manhattan. Learn more:

Polaris Makes Another Move In The EV Market – Acquires Goupil Industrie of France

Goupil industrie electric truck

Goupil Industrie electric truck

Diversifying their portfolio of electric vehicle offerings, Polaris Industries recently purchased Goupil Industrie SA.  The privately owned French manufacturer produces a line of light duty electric trucks for a variety of commercial uses.  There were no comments by management on whether the Goupil product line would be exported to or produced in the US.

This is the third major transaction in the small electric vehicle space by Polaris this year following the acquisition of GEM and a major investment in Brammo, an electric motorcycle manufacturer known for electric powertrain expertise. The work and hauling oriented Goupil product line will complement the more people mover oriented GEM line.   Goupil’s estimated annual sales of $25 million adds to the estimated $30 million in annual sales that Polaris gained from the GEM acquisition.

Comment:  After testing the LSV market with their Breeze model for personal transportation and the electric UTV market with their electric Ranger, Polaris has now moved decisively into the space.  Management sees the global market for small electric vehicles as a growth area and have executed on that belief by purchasing this manufacturer in France and initiating GEM distribution in India.  Polaris now has a range of small EV product offerings spanning off-road and on-road, consumer and commercial, as well as work and transportation applications.  Learn more:

In related news, I noticed that Polaris also has a new website for GEM.  On their home page it is accessible under the tab “Low Emission Vehicles” along with the Breeze LSV.

Club Car Extends European Tour Partnership

Club Car has extended their partnership with professional golf’s European Tour through 2014 including the 2014 Ryder Cup.  As part of the deal Club Car provides 70 or more golf cars and utility vehicles at each of 26 tournaments during the year.  At the Ryder Cup upwards of 300 vehicles are provided for promoters anda variety of support staff.  Club Car has worked with the tour since 1999.  Learn more:

Advance Vehicle Research Center To Import Korean NEV

Korean NEV from AD Motors

NEV from AD Motors of Korea will be imported by AVRC for the US market

The Advance Vehicle Research Center (AVRC) of Danville, NC will be the importer and sales agent for a NEV produced by Korea-based AD Motors.  The NEV is called the “Change” in Korea and has a top speed of 45 mph and a range of 70 miles.  The US version will have be restricted to a 25 mph top speed.  A 9 kw lithium-ion battery pack powers the vehicle.  Other features include  a steel-cage passenger compartment, front disc brakes, rear drum brakes, air conditioning, heated seats, power windows, AM/FM stereo with MP3, CD player and USB connection.  The vehicle is expected to be available before the end of the year.

Comment:  The vehicle continues the trend of NEVs with a more car-like design as opposed to a more golf-car design.   Learn more:

Update:  I contacted AVRC and the CEO Dick Dell said the vehicle’s MSRP is $24,450 and that is fully loaded with air conditioning, power windows, heated seats, a stereo system and a lithium-ion battery pack.

GGT Electric Vehicles Qualify For Tax Credit

GGT Electric’s lineup of electric vehicles was recently “…certified to claim the qualified plug-in electric vehicle credit under Internal Revenue Code Section 30.”  The tax credit is based on 10% of the purchase price of the vehicle and can be worth up to $2,500 per vehicle.  Seven GGT vehicles qualify for the credit including the E-Dyne Electric Van, the E-Dyne Electric Truck, the Scout 72-volt Electric Van, the Scout 98-volt Electric Van, the Scout 72-volt Electric Truck, the Scout 98-volt Electric Truck, and the Cozmo electric car.  Learn more:

More Robotic Military Vehicles

Robotic "mule" military vehicle developed by Lockheed Martin

I recently wrote a post about a robotic Gator that has been developed for military applications.  Another vehicle with a similar purpose, helping haul gear for combat troops, is now being tested in Afghanistan.  This “mule” was developed by Lockheed Martin and is much larger than the M-Gator, weighing in at 3,800 lbs for the six-wheeled vehicle.

Four of the vehicles will be tested over several months by troops operating in the field.  The vehicles will be used to haul gear, water, ammunition and other supplies.  In addition, the vehicles have a battery recharger onboard for the plethora of batteries that troops now need to operate a range of high tech equipment.  The vehicle also has a “follow me” operating mode. ” The vehicle will memorize the optical profile or shape and size of a person that it is told to follow, and it will track the person and stay a certain distance behind, moving around obstacles that fall in its path.” If the vehicle performs well, the Army could initiate a bid competition in late 2012.  Learn more:

GEM To Use ARI PartSmart

Polaris announced that they have selected ARI’s PartSmart to provide their GEM dealers with parts and service information for the complete line-up of vehicles.  PartSmart is already used by Polaris and Victory motorcycle dealers.  From the press release:

PartSmart is ARI’s premier parts lookup software known to more than 50,000 users worldwide. It provides the fastest way to find the right part the first time by providing more information with fewer keystrokes and mouse clicks. PartSmart interfaces with more than 90 dealer business management systems to drive even more efficiency. PartSmart offers time-saving features, including easy navigation, a single log in, a single and familiar user interface, updates via the Internet, and thumbnail browsing.

Learn more:

2012 Renault Twizy Urban EV

Renault Twizy Z.E. Electric Vehicle

Renault has announced the pricing for their Twizy Z.E. urban electric vehicle.  Targeting the European and possibly Japanese markets, the Twizy has a starting price of $10,350 with a monthly battery rental of $61.  The Twizy is a NEV with a stated range of 60 miles and a driver’s airbag.  There is no mention of whether or not the vehicle will ever be offered in the US.  Learn more:

AARP Releases Study On LSVs/Golf Cars

The AARP Public Policy Institute recently released a research study on LSV and golf car usage.  The purpose of the study is “ assess current trends and identify key issues and best practices for safely accommodating golf carts and low-speed vehicles (LSVs), particularly neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), within community transportation networks.”  The Institute hopes the study will provide some guidance for municipal planners and law enforcement officials trying to integrate the vehicles into their local transportation networks.  The study includes four case studies of LSV and golf car usage in The Villages, Florida, Peachtree City, Georgia, Western Riverside County, California and Linton, Indiana.  Learn more: