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The Indian REVA 2 door is commercialized as a NEV in the USA and as a quadricycle elsewhere.
An Italcar EV
U.S. Army NEVs

A Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) is a battery electric vehicle falling under United States Department of Transportation classification for low-speed vehicles.[1] The NEV operates by plugging into a standard outlet at home. By using solar or wind power to generate the electricity for these vehicles, they have the potential to run using no fossil fuel.[2]


American regulations

"Low-speed vehicle" is a federally-approved street-legal vehicle classification which came into existence in 1998 under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 500 (FMVSS 500). There is nothing in the federal regulations specifically pertaining to the powertrain.

Low-speed vehicles are defined as a four-wheeled motor vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) and a top speed of between 20 to 25 mph (32 to 40 km/h). [3] Those states that authorize NEVs generally restrict their operation to streets with a maximum speed limit of 35 or 45 mph (56 or 72 km/h). Because of federal law, car dealers cannot legally sell the vehicles to go faster than 25 mph (40 km/h), but the buyer can easily modify the car to go 35 mph (56 km/h). However, if modified to exceed 25 mph (40 km/h), the vehicle then becomes subject to safety requirements of passenger cars. [2]

These speed restrictions, combined with a typical driving range of 30 miles (48 km) per charge and a typical three-year battery durability, are required because of a lack of federally mandated safety equipment and features which NEVs can not accommodate because of their design. To satisfy federal safety requirements for manufacturers, NEVs must be equipped with three-point seat belts or a lap belt,windshield wipers are not required, running lights, headlights, brake lights, reflectors, rear view mirrors, and turn signals. In many cases, doors may be optional, crash protection from other vehicles is partially met compared to other non motorized transport such as bicycles because of the use of seat belts.


State regulations

Regulations for operating an NEV vary by state. The federal government allows state and local governments to add additional safety requirements beyond those of Title 49 Part 571.500. For instance,the State of New York requires additional safety equipment to include windshield wipers, window defroster, speedometer, odometer and a back-up light. Generally, they must be titled and registered, and the driver must be licensed. Because airbags are not required the NEV cannot normally travel on highways or freeways. NEVs in many states are restricted to roads with a speed limit of 35 mph (56 km/h) or less.

Community design

A GEM e2 used by the Tourist Police in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, being recharged
A GEM xLXD NEV used by a street food vendor at the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

Most modern communities within the USA are designed to separate neighborhoods from commercial and other areas, connecting them with relatively high speed thoroughfares on which NEVs cannot go, legally or safely. Unlike with bicycles, specialized routes and rights-of-way are usually unavailable to NEVs.

As a result, these vehicles are most common in communities that provide separate routes for them or generally accommodate slow speed traffic, such as traditional "grid" street plans found in older urban areas. Some retirement and golf club communities are specifically designed, sometimes with alternative arterial road bypass routes and some including an additional "mini garage" in the house designs. Some communities either designed with this in mind, or are taking other steps to foster NEVs, include:

The U.S. Army has announced that it will lease 4,000 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) within three years. The Army plans to use NEVs at its bases for transporting people around the base, as well as for security patrols and maintenance and delivery services. [6] .


See also


External links


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