Pennsylvania, one of the last states holding out against legalizing neighborhood-electric vehicles (NEVs) – such as those from Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), pictured – for street use, may change its laws to allow NEVs on some streets with speed limits as high as 35 miles per hour, according to AOL's Patch website for Warmister, PA.

The State Senate passed a bill that would allow NEVs on any street with a posted speed limit of no more than 25 mph and on some roads where the speed limit is as high as 35 mph. The bill, which was sponsored by the appropriately -named Senator Stewart Greenleaf and which doesn't include golf carts, will go before the state's House of Representatives for possible approval.

NEVs have long been popular with governments and operators of entities such as college campuses and planned communities because of their relatively small footprint, rechargability and lower pricetag – their lead-acid batteries keep the cost of a typical NEV at about $9,000.

NEVs are also gradually gaining favor as on-street vehicles. Green-technology research firm Pike Research estimated last year that global annual NEV sales will increase to almost 55,000 vehicles in 2017 from about 37,000 last year, with North America accounting for about half those totals. Global sales of NEVs, which are street-legal in 46 states, could surge further if China makes them street-legal.




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  • 36 Comments
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      There are several areas in Florida where these are quite popular. Mostly retirement communities like The Villages and Ocean Reef Club (Key Largo), but also Disney's 'Celebration'. The neighborhoods where these drive are set up in such a way as vehicles do not drive fast, and you do not see these things on long, straight roads. Although certainly more dangerous in an accident (reading mapoftzzifosho's comment), bicycles are more dangerous, as are walking, so no issue there, in my opinion. Here is a live video web cam of one at The Villages - since it is video, you can watch those buggers tooling around: http://www.thevillages.com/lifestyle/cam_ss.asp
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      C'ome on batteries are always posing a problem, always too pricy, not powerful enouph, not ready yet, too weighthy, made outside of north-america. A 9000$ used gasoline car cost less per mile then this and last longer and can go everywhere.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        I have NO idea how many people this applies to, but I spoke to a person with one of these at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo once. Evidently the vehicle is 'works' for them because they can leave it with no maintenance considerations. They then fly down, take a taxi to where they live, and the NEV is their only vehicle when down here. They trick out the vehicles to look like Model T's, 57 Chevy's, and (gasp) Hummers. Obviously this isn't the case with all of them, so your point is still valid. I would say - skip the next Lincoln or Buick, and get a Volt - then load that on a train to Florida, and drive it in electric mode all the time. Win win...
          Ziv
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          The Volt and the Car Train go together like peanut butter and bananas!
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      NEV's can be great little vehicles! They make excellent low speed specialist vehicle in resorts, gated neighbourhoods, etc. I've spent the last 17 years developing a profitable business lease/renting these EV speciality vehicles. i love 'em ! If cities had never permitted larger vehicles, these little vehicles would be perfectly suited for urban use. I am aware that Urban situations exist where such vehicles can be perfectly compatible, but these would be a minority. . Vehicles incompatible with modern traffic are very dangerous, and frustrating. It's all very well to be idealistic, but reality is what it is, hoping for the best is just irresponsible. Like quadracyles, 2WM beloved 2 wheel traffic and other such vehicles, most cities are simply not designed to cater for this sort of traffic. It's unfair to the conventional motorist, and dangerous for the incompatible road users. I know I going to receive an avalanche of indignant idealists, but this is just commonsense! Even in my own home city, with one of the lowest traffic densities in the world, and great wide boulevards with service lanes, serious conflicts are beginning to became apparent between cyclists, pedestrians, and general traffic. Pedestrian injury and deaths from cyclists, cyclist injured and killed by cars. (not to mention road rage). This is a world wide trend. The incidence of respiratory and other ailment's by bicycle riders is beginning to show up in health statistics. World-wide, motor-cyclists contribute a hugely disproportionate percentage of serious and fatal statistics. When ever, this subject is raised, the idealistic advocates always begins, " Ideally"..... But, the road traffic isn't ideal, and the problems exist. It's not a matter of being 'Fair', it's a matter of commonsense. These little vehicles should be restricted to limited use only. (So should bicycles and motor-bikes, but that's not politically possible. ) Not a popular view with many, but reality seldom is.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        At least in Europe your assumption that normal road traffic is incompatible with low speed electric vehicles are incompatible with existing conventional vehicles and so the bikes etc have to go seems to be flawed. It is the conventional vehicles that are b3eing driven off the streets in cities in favour of bike and bus lanes, and perhaps in future zero emission vehicles, perhaps low speed NEVs or at least vehicles strictly controlled to stay below 20mph in most places, here in Bristol for instance. You can't stand in the way of the march of history, but it does not always march in the directions we assume.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          There are two issues here, Marco, what is happening and whether you or I agree with it. On the first count your assumption that incompatibility will force out low speed vehicles rather than vice versa seems to be flawed, at least in crowded European cities. On the second count your assumptions also seem questionable. Reduced use of cars would revitalise, not empty, city centres. There are also two possible approaches to road safety. Going the SUV route so that everyone drives as big and heavy a vehicle as possible in the hope that most of the damage ends up to the other fellow, and restricting the use of vehicles at high speed and high weight so that not much damage is done in the first place. Since when I am walking somewhere I don't want to wear a suit of armour I prefer the second approach. I believe that there has never been a fatality on an American military base where vehicles are restricted to 15mph. That speed is perfectly adequate for city driving, and automated systems are coming in to do most of the driving at that sort of speed. We are going to be hard hit by oil shortages and price rises in my view in the next few years, and electric cars will take time to reach sufficient levels of penetration and cost so that we will not be able to smoothly transition. There is also the question of where the power for them will come from, and the present infatuation with renewables ensures that costs of electricity will be relatively high. For most of the urban world in Europe and Asia it seems to me then likely that present trends will continue, with decreasing car ownership in those regions where ownership was previously high and heavily regulated private car use. On a personal level since I have breathing difficulties I rarely shop for heavy goods by car, but have them delivered. As populations age more and more people will be similarly circumstanced. For bits and pieces of shopping a NEV would be fine, although since I don't have to go that way because I like to go a fair distance to beauty spots etc on day's out a car which can go a fair distance is nice to have, but I would be perfectly able to drive it locally within NEV-like restrictions in the city, and average speed cameras can ensure I do. Of course the situation is different in many some parts of Australia, and the American mid-West etc, but for the vast number of urban dwellers in the world I would see a relatively low level of car use. Against the resistance of taxi and bus driving interests, modern communications mean that it is perfectly feasible in a city to have a shared mini-bus taxi pick you up and take you door to door within 3 minutes of your call in urban areas: http://www.taxibus.org.uk/ Roboticised cars would seem to mean that the major expense of such a system, the driver, will not be needed forever. Although this may decrease the 'joy of driving' for many folk such as the young, the old, and the poor transport will be enormously improved.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          So as far as I can see car ownership most places will greatly decrease, and roboticised NEVs, electric bikes and electric or hydrogen buses will get most people about. The private motorist driving across town at relatively high speeds will in this view have been a passing phase, and just as the lower costs of out of town malls killed city centres, the lower costs of ordering on the internet will kill the malls and city centres for boutique shopping and socialisation, accessed by public transport etc will come to the fore.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Dave Mart You are correct that in many cities, restrictions on conventional traffic is increasing. But much of this is the product of muddled 'politically correct' thinking. ,The creation of malls, bike lanes, and low speed traffic deters people form the suburbs visiting the city. This seems great idea until the major employers leave the cities and move to the suburbs. As retailing declines and the city population of trendy gentrified areas starts to age, the urban centre reverts to a lower income area once again. Streets bereft of cars start filling with low rent businesses. Not, I'll grant you in every instance, but the danger exists. For a city core to remain vibrant, the shops and service businesses need those suburban shoppers. The high cost of Urban dwellings needs highly paid residents. Many European cities are fortunate to possess facilities compatible with non-car ownership. But these are a minority. Even Zero emission vehicles will be sized to replace normal vehicles, not low speed NEV's!
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I'm with DaveMart in his assessment. Based on what's happening in my very congested, very livable city: More people are riding bikes. More people are riding scooters. We all agree they're more fun than cars, and their easier to park closer to where you want to be. Other people (needing passenger or cargo considerations) are buying NEVs, which are very easy to get through narrow streets where traffic is usally only going 15mph anyway. Plus - no gas! Also, taxi services and limos have also skyrocketed. Ten years ago, taxis were scary and only for the commuting poor, but now, we have high-end services like the London Cabs (very chic) and Green Cans (all hybrids). Not to mention the bike rickshaws, which were completely non-existant ten years ago. All of these are now used by locals who'd rather *not* drive and park downtown when going out to eat or to a show, etc. Oh, and our downtown bus service has gone from $1.50 per person to FREE. Driving your own personal vehicle isn't as vital as it used to be. People used to ask when I was going to buy one - now they tell they understand why I never did.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is great for small electric cars. Very close to my idea of a 'non highway' vehicle class able to travel up to 45mph. I do hope the idea catches on. Way lighter, cheaper, and more efficient to design a car for a lower max speed.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      At this point, I think Li-Ions are cheaper than lead-acid when you consider the lifetime costs. Lead-Acid batteries wear out and you need to pay for new batteries and the labor cost of replacing them. If you add up those costs over the lifetime of the vehicle, they'll end up exceeding the cost of just installing Li-Ions in up-front. But . . . people want to low up-front price. So ironically, Li-Ions have the same problem with lead-acid batteries as electric vehicles do to gas vehicles . . . people go for the low up-front cost even though it will cost them more in the long run.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      NEVs are great in smaller towns where a driver can stay on smaller roads. They're very popular here in Charleston, with everyone from college kids to the rich people S.O.B. using them to get around our very tight and narrow streets. They're a breeze to park, and, of course - no gasoline required.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        'rich people SOB?' :D
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          oh! :D I thought, 'well that was a gratuitous dig...'
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Well, it *is* a tongue-in-cheek joke... Probably the only place in the US where it's OK to call someone that.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          It refers to the neighborhood, "South of Broad".
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      'Green-technology research firm Pike Research estimated last year that global annual NEV sales will increase to almost 55,000 vehicles in 2017 from about 37,000 last year, with North America accounting for about half those totals. Global sales of NEVs, which are street-legal in 46 states, could surge further if China makes them street-legal.' So, and increase of about 50% over 5 years counts as a 'surge', and their being street legal in China might make them 'surge further?' Considering that they could conceivably drive them up by a factor of 100 or so, I suppose that could count as a 'further surge.'
      brotherkenny4
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am always for more choice and less government. I don't understand why any local or state government would limit what you can drive as long as it is capable of achieving the posted speed limit. Although, having driven in pennsylvania quite a bit myself, I know that if you drive the posted speed limits you will seriously irritate the general populous, since everyone drives 10-20 mph faster than the posted limits. I suppose that is the way it is everywhere in the US though. Which makes me doubt that people really care about the price of gas, and all that ranting about the federal government making it difficult for people to achieve the american dream is just a bunch of bologne designed to keep people spending irrationally. You know, because they can claim that their habits and lack of self control and lack of education are not the poroblem, it's those dam federal government people. It's kind of like the coke heads in the 70s and 80s. They weren't weak willed dolts, they had a disease, an addiction. It wasn't their fault.
      mapoftazifosho
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not ok with this...these are instant death in an accident with ANY regular automobile.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        Nope, not instant death, but thanks for the FUD! In the environment that NEVs are used, collisions are most likely to be of the very low-speed variety. Sure, someone might fall out of or off an NEV, but deaths are extremely rare unless the driver has done something truly stupid.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          As long as they are only allowed on limited speed roads and as long as they have seatbelts that are used, they are pretty damn save. Certainly much safer than all the people who tow their kids in trailers behind their bicycles.
          mapoftazifosho
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Yeah, you'll prob be a vegetable for a while... http://www.autoblog.com/2010/05/20/iihs-condemns-use-of-mini-trucks-and-low-speed-vehicles-on-publi/ http://www.iihs.org/video.aspx/releases/pr052010 Sorry I wasn't more specific...
        mapoftazifosho
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        I don't think you guys realize how catastrophic a 35 mph accident would be in one of these...
          mapoftazifosho
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          Cyclists are typically off to the side and are often going very slow compared to these toys. If a car drifts over the line a bit over the line...they're not going to hit a cyclist all the way to the right (left for you?), but they might have an offset catastrophic crash with one of these.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          And how catastrophic is a crash-test approved full-highway speed vehicle at 65 mph? Very. But we still allow those cars to drive 65mph on a freeway.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          I do indeed realise how dangerous they may be, as there is no way of separating them from general traffic here in the UK and one recently got crushed. In what way is that different to riding a two wheeler, who are around 30 times as likely to die or be injured as someone in a car though?
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          You have chosen the specialised case fo bicycles to base your case on. Very large numbers of fatalities, around 20% of all road deaths from memory here in the UK, are from the tiny numbers of motorcycles and scooters which can't be sensibly segregated. A quad is likely to be considerably more safe than those, if properly designed like the Twizy.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mapoftazifosho
        It depends what you compare them with. They are presumably not as lethal as two wheelers to their occupants. The Twizy by Renault is an attempt to square the circle: 'What a tandem configuration cannot do is to bend the laws of physics, and here comes the liability (from a US -centric perspective, I have to admit): the main reason for a manufacturer to produce a quadricycle is to avoid expensive crash regulations. With its ultra narrow body, and with the rear passenger head so close to the driver's, it's hard to believe that the Twizy would do good in the Euro-NCAP or FMVSS crash test. Its narrow track might also be an issue in the new US rollover test. Is this a problem? I think it all comes down to consumer education and expectations. For many decades, people have been allowed to buy 100-plus hp motorcycles and kill themselves at the dmv parking lot, if they chose to do so. At the other end of the spectrum, most pick-up trucks and full size SUVs can only be considered irresponsible and dangerous crashing weapons, with their complete disregard for any other object on the road. It would be inconsistent to speak against vehicles like the Twizy when the aforementioned extreme examples are perfectly legal both in Europe and the US. For the big majority of people (who most likely drive in urban environments for short stints), cars like the Twizy are more than enough, providing the much needed link between quick but dangerous scooters and safe but inefficient automobiles, a link sorely needed if we want to move away from our obsolete ways of motoring.' http://itmoves.us/the-little-twizy-that-could Of course, the whole notion of having radically different safety standards for two wheelers and NEVs and regular cars, at least when the former are not used to transport children, is the root of the problem.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Not instant death because they are only allowed on roads with slower speeds and they are equipped with seatbelts.
      Warren
      • 3 Years Ago
      "I'm not ok with this...these are instant death in an accident with ANY regular automobile." If they would allow them to go 55 mph, drive on any secondary roads, and licence them as quadricycles, like they do in France, electric vehicles would replace cars for most people. Where is the logic of allowing a sixteen year old on a 140 mph crotch rocket, or a 50 year old alcoholic on a Harley three wheeler on city streets, and next to semi's and SUV's on the interstates. But we don't allow responsible grownups to drive a 55 mph light vehicle, because it has one more wheel?
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Warren
        Exactly. We have a crazy non-linearity is our rules. Go ahead and drive Murdercycle or be forced to pay thousands extra for a 4-wheel vehicle that has been put through a battery of simulated and real crash tests and include 8 zillion mandated safety features. With the price of oil rising, many people just can't afford a car with all those mandate and we are shutting a lot of poor people out of the car market with over-regulation. So instead they'll ride a motorcycle in the rain . . . yeah, we sure made things safe for them!
      Penn State EcoCAR 2
      • 3 Years Ago
      Awesome! Penn State University recently received a donated NEV. They align perfectly with the goal of the EcoCAR 2 competition to reduce the environmental footprint of a vehicle. As NEV's make the transition to the roadways, it's important to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers as they compete with much larger vehicles.
        Warren
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Penn State EcoCAR 2
        "it's important to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers as they compete with much larger vehicles." Making NEV's heavier, and more expensive to keep up the automotive mutually assured destruction arms race, will solve nothing. The logical way is to park the two ton, 100 mph, battering rams at the city's edge. They have no place in cities. Which, by definition, are a place for people.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does anyone know the status of the NEV legislation in PA. We live in a golf community in PA and would consider a NEV for tooling around the neighborhood.
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