A Neighborhood Electric Vehicle
(NEV) is a term for a speed limited battery electric vehicle
The NEV provides the driver with an alternative to expensive fossil fuels, and an opportunity to take charge of their carbon emissions. The NEV operates on only a fraction of the fossil fuels as a standard vehicle by plugging into a standard outlet at home. By using solar or wind power to generate these vehicles, they have to the potential to run fossil fuel free. Low Carbon Fuel or LCF Accounting
NEV is a Federally-approved street-legal vehicle classification which came into existence in 1998 under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 500 (FMVSS 500). (The vehicle classification is referred to as "low-speed vehicle" within Federal regulations.) NEVs are defined as a four-wheeled motor vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds and a top speed of between 20 to 25 mph. Those states that authorize NEVs generally restrict their operation to streets with a maximum speed limit of or . Because of the federal law, car dealers cannot legally sell the vehicles to go faster than , but the buyer can easily and inexpensively modify the car to go . 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
and windshield wipers
, 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. Some makers are starting to use doors and steel impact beams, and aluminum foam may be used to absorb energy without or sometimes it can increase the weight.
Regulations for operating an NEV vary by state. Generally, they must be 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 or less.
Inhibitory community design
Most modern communities within the USA are designed to separate residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, and places of employment, secondary education sites, and even recreation areas, connecting them with relatively high speed thoroughfares exceeding that available to NEVs with the expectation that a more traditional motor vehicle will be used for transport. Even on roads where the speed limit is 35 mph, usually legal for use by an NEV, the far heavier conventional vehicles are often driven well over the posted limit, leading to very high speed differentials. These factors of vehicle weight and speed differentials have inhibited the adaptation of NEVs in most suburban locations. Unlike bicycles, specialized routes and rights-of-way are usually unavailable to NEVs.
Supportive community design
The Canadian Dynasty EV 4 door sedan is designed for all-season use, as is Feelgood Car's two-door Zenn EV. These vehicles are appropriate for communities that provide separate routes for these vehicles 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, even including an additional "mini garage" in the house designs.
Planned Communities with NEV Programs
Other Notable NEV Communities