A recent arrest has re-ignited a three-year battle between Electric Cab of Austin, TX and the City's Transportation Department, proving again that the legal status of low-speed electric vehicles is a gray area in a lot of places in the U.S.

Last Sunday, a driver for Electric Cab of Austin was reportedly arrested for not having the proper permit to operate a vehicle for hire on the streets of Austin. The owner of Electric Cab, Chris Nielsen, admits as much, but says his firm does not need a permit since his drivers work only for tips, not fares. This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened, and Electric Cab has faced hundreds of dismissed tickets over the past few years.

Even though he says he doesn't need a permit, Nielsen claims he has been trying to get one for a long time. The trouble is, since his five vehicles are basically nothing more than electrified golf carts, they are not included in the city's ordinances and, thus, permits cannot be obtained. Neilsen says he will continue to operate Electric Cab and, now that he has the support of Austin's police department, his drivers aren't likely to be arrested. Austin's city council is currently working on regulations that should eventually allow for Electric Cab to obtain a proper permit. Hit the jump for KXAN News' video of this ongoing permit battle.

Electric cab company awaiting permit: kxan.com



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