Transport Canada Proposes Including Small Trucks in Low Speed Vehicle Definition
14 December 2007
Transport Canada is updating the definition of electric low speed vehicles (LSVs) to allow manufacturers of small low-speed vehicle (LSV) trucks to begin to market them in Canada. Such trucks could be used in applications such as grounds keeping, landscaping and in certain industrial and institutional settings.
While the road use of LSVs is a matter for provinces and territories to regulate, Transport Canada reminds licensing authorities, as well as manufacturers and consumers, that the safety standards for these electric LSVs do not match those of other motor vehicle classes that travel our public roads. The safety of LSV users in case of a collision is of great concern to Transport Canada.
Along with small LSV trucks, the proposed updated definition makes it clear that the LSV class was created to meet transportation needs in controlled areas. It’s important for Canadians to know that these vehicles should be restricted to safe environments.—Honorable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
A controlled area can include any of the following: university campuses, military bases, parks and retirement communities. These are areas where LSVs do not share the roads with larger, heavier and faster motor vehicles.
Transport Canada encourages vehicle manufacturers to consider designing and making electric vehicles that meet all of the strict safety standards currently met by mainstream motor vehicles, so they can offer the same level of protection without tailpipe emissions or negative impact on local air quality.
Another minor revision in the definition of an LSV would clarify the current “no emission” requirement by stating that an LSV does not use fuel as an on-board source of energy. This is in keeping with the original intent that LSVs are environmentally friendly electric vehicles and produce no operational emissions.
If I was in the mood to rant about narrow-minded, anally retentive, fossilized, turf defending, clock watching, part-of-the-problem bureaucrats, transport Canada would be high on the list of targets.
They're only allowing this now because the minister has been embarrassed twice by news broadcasts about Canadian companies, building EVs in Canada, that are able to sell them in other countries (notably the US), but have been stonewalled here.
The safety thing is red herring and a load of hooey.
Posted by: Neil | 14 December 2007 at 04:19 PM
Yes. It's funny how Canada has the NEV/LSV manufacturers but is not where they're allowed. The great thing about these cars is they're functioning electric vehicles that prove that this is today's technology, not tomorrow's. The 25 mph limit is what keeps me back. Neil may well be right that Transport Canada overstates the risks, but I think if these things were permitted at 45 mph and were certified to meet something close to NTSB standards for crashes at that speed, these would really take off in urban areas, which is where EV's are most desirable.
I wonder if there's another way forward here; e.g., if the main LSV manufacturers cooperated to set up an independent underwriter to crash test their cars, with an eventual objective of hitting a higher safety standard than what US LSV law requires. I'd think to insure these at all, there must be some similar system already. The expense of this would be challenging, especially as the litigious mindset in the US means standards must be tough. But there's got to be a way to accumulate capital explicitly for this purpose, as the payoff down the road could be pretty nice.
I wonder also if there are cities in some developing countries which have less trafficked roadways yet enough electrical infrastructure that NEV's would be ideal.
Posted by: Jim G. | 15 December 2007 at 10:52 AM
I agree that the safety issues that Transport Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation point to are entirely a red herring. I just got a letter from the province today and their position is in line with that of Transport Canada.
It is not only ridiculous, it is criminal. These are people who really do not understand the crisis of global warming and the lives that are at stake if we don't get it under control right now. They also don't understand the report that was put out by Toronto's medical officer of health that demonstrated that air pollution contributes to 1,700 premature deaths every year and 6,000 hospitalizations in Toronto.(http://www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/air_and_health.htm.) The safety of LSVs has to be looked at in a more balanced manner. If crash safety was our only concern in transportation we would have to close down all the 400-series highways because of all the deaths and injuries on them.
These are vehicles that could easily be used right now in dense urban areas where speed limits are 50km/hr. These are the same roads that countless people use bicycles on, including bicycles with child-carriers on the back and child chariot rear attachments. I'm sure Transport Canada would ban bicycles if they thought they could get away with it.
We have to keep putting pressure on our politicians to adopt these clean technologies that are available right now and stop waiting for the perfect solution. This isn't a perfect world, but we have some viable and affordable solutions created by some innovative Canadians!
Posted by: Kristin | 09 January 2008 at 03:21 PM
Transport Canada eh! Well i own a business that imports electric service vehicles into Canada and we are trying to get an LSV into a provincial pilot program so the LSV can be studied (although there are more studies available than you can shake a stick at) for 5 years by our government. To do this (as an importer not a manufacturer) there is an approximate 18 month process to go through just to get the permission to bring one into the country! Oh and during this process Transport Canada states "they are not allowed to sustain telephone or e-mail contact with us during the process"!?
Red Herring is correct 100%. I have repeatedly asked members or engineers of our government how the safety issue is such a large one with LSV's when for decades we have had motorcycles, geriatric scooters, mopeds on our cuty streets. The answer from one gentlemen was "yes but they were 'Grandfathered' into the transportation system"?
This is corruption and nothing but in my personal opinion.
Oh well. Play the game as they say!
Posted by: Tom | 17 March 2008 at 08:41 PM
Bureaucrats? Bah, humbug! Bring on the electric cars and trucks - or will the drop in accidents and radar tickets put a dent in revenues, or are the oil cartels defeating all these alternatives? I'd buy one if it was available - and Canadian.
Posted by: Lorell Gingrich | 19 June 2008 at 11:22 PM