I'm not a lawyer, and I used to think that vehicles – whatever their drivetrain – were allowed on paved roads as long as they met certain qualifications like speed ability and weight. But apparently it's not that simple. Wisconsin has a law on the books (Act 329) since 2005 that doesn't forbid neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) on the streets, but instead requires local municipalities to permit them. A few towns have allowed NEVs (Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Green Bay and De Pere) and Bellevue is the latest to do so.
The text of Act 329 says that, "the governing body of any city, town or village may by ordinance allow the use of a neighborhood electric vehicle on a roadway that has a speed limit of 35 mph or less and over which the governing body has jurisdiction."
As one person interviewed in this story from the Green Bay Press Gazette says, not only is it a problem for NEV owners to get permission to drive in their own towns (one woman waited over a year,a man couldn't drive his NEV in the town where he bought it), but their errands might take them to a different town with different rules.
This is nonsense. NEVs already face enough hassles to gain acceptance. In the cases where they work for individuals, ease of use needs to be encouraged. Each locality in Wisconsin needs to pass a NEV-friendly rule, or the state needs to modify its language pronto.