Vancouver Gives Green Light to Low-Speed EVs
04 October 2008
CBC News. The Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) city council has approved the use of low-speed electric vehicles on city streets.
Under city bylaws, they will now be able to travel on Vancouver streets which have a posted speed limit of 50 km per hour [31 mph] or less, meaning they will be able to travel on most city streets.
But staff remained concerned about the safety of the vehicles since they don’t meet the crash standards for regular vehicles. They are typically larger than electric golf carts and look more like small compact cars. Most low-speed electric cars, however, don’t have impact absorbing bumpers or airbags, according assistant city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny, making them a case of buyer beware.
British Columbia law permits low-speed electric vehicle operation on roads with a speed limit of 40 kph (35 mph) or less—access to roads with faster speed limits requires the authorization of municipalities.
40kph is 25 mph, not 35.
As long as they have seat belts, and people use them, they should be OK. If you are hit by a hummer doing 60, you will be in for it, but this is very unlikely.
Just as long as people wear the seatbelts.
It is a pity they can go a little faster (even 60kph) - this would keep city traffic moving.
But you have a trade off between speed and safety with very light, cheap vehicles.
Posted by: mahonj | 04 October 2008 at 06:18 AM
I think that last sentance should be
" ... permits ... 40 kph (25 mph) " not "(35 mph)".
I find it shocking that they would rely on personal responsibility in a life or death matter.
This is no less outrageous than allowing fans to watch football games in the rain or snow.
Posted by: ToppaTom | 04 October 2008 at 06:32 AM
The NEV is an ok introduction, but face it, this is a golf cart.
We need a new standard for "city cars." To be drivable, they should go up to 90km/hr and have sufficient safety equipment for this speed. (This means good bumpers, side impact strength, and seat belts, but not airbags).
Highway capable cars should have mandated air bags as well as all safety equipment.
Posted by: John Taylor | 04 October 2008 at 09:12 AM
What makes you think any of us care what you find shocking and outrageous about fans watching football games. Show some concern for the rest of us and stop posting crap like this.
Posted by: Jerry | 04 October 2008 at 09:36 AM
Overtly corrupt ICBC (gov't insurance monopoly)will now have more crash test dummies to refuse benefits to.
Posted by: | 04 October 2008 at 10:13 AM
There are medium speed EVs that go up to 45 mph. Those might prove more useful in city and suburban use. One thing about slower speeds is less energy in a crash, unless the other vehicle is a large SUV.
Posted by: sjc | 04 October 2008 at 12:10 PM
You can implement a 2car PHEV with one of these and your existing car. Use the EV in the town or for shorter runs.
Use the ICE for big trips or when you need to pull a boat or a load of sand.
As long as you have the space to park them both, it would be reasonable - it would be up to the government to make it economical to tax and insure 2 vehicles if one is an EV.
You can keep your ICE monster, just don't use it more than 50% of the time.
Better still lend / rent your ICE to a neighbor / friend enabling him/her to get rid of their one altogether (or vice versa).
Posted by: mahonj | 04 October 2008 at 02:24 PM
Aren't those small cars much safer to drive (in slow traffic) than motorbikes and scooters ?
Do motorbikes have side impact beams, seat belts, airbags?
It would be very desirable if those cars were able to drive a couple of seconds up to 60 kmph, to do some avoidance manoeuvre. If batteries allow that, e-motors can be overloaded for a very short time.
Adding side impact beams and seat belts would insignificantly increase production costs.
It would be reasonable to ban them access to 'fastest lane' on multi-lane streets, otherwise they could slow traffic dramatically, especially when other people drive a little bit above limit.
Posted by: MG | 04 October 2008 at 02:57 PM
MG, NEVs would be restricted to the rightmost lane, unless making a left turn or passing. See here for details
Posted by: | 04 October 2008 at 03:17 PM
I find the "shocking bla bla bla" person ridiculous. How about well all drive monster Dummers, I mean Hummers and be so safe that we end up squandering and hording our resources and destroying the environment that we depend on for survival.
Posted by: GdB | 04 October 2008 at 03:39 PM
This is a joke.
Typical political BS that seemingly allows for some kind of action without the possibility of any practical outcome.
I live in Vancouver. I would LOVE to get my hands on a practical inexpensive EV of any kind. But getting one that can travel on 50km streets is not practical at all. Not in Vancouver. Try getting from downtown to Kits say. You will have to spend an extra 1/2 to an hour minimum going around the creek. Most people who live in Vancouver (which is actually a very small area within the Greater Vancouver) regularly commute to or through a dozen or so other municipalities that enclose Vancouver. Most are accessible by bridges only, with 60km or higher limits. Unless you own another vehicle no one in their right mind will buy/insure an NEV.
Considering that the 40km/hr limitation is probably in the software and not the hardware of the NEVs, if the city REALLY wanted them on the roads, the NEVS should have been allowed on ALL of the roads/bridges within the Greater Vancouver by allowing them to travel up to 70km/hr.
Now, that would have been a good start.
As is, the 36 months evaluation period will "determine" that those NEVs are just darn unpopular in the city of Vancouver. But, you know, "they" tried.
Posted by: disappointed | 04 October 2008 at 04:09 PM
Why not set up some HOV HEV lanes that give hybrids and high occupancy vehicles preference? Forget under performing NEVs and prepare for the new PHEVs. Solves safety and some congestion issues. These are positive incentives for consumers to trade up to greener vehicles.
BTW, the NA demographic for motorcycle and scooter riders is male, under 35 - which pretty much leaves out the family and seniors who run more neighborhood errands.
Posted by: Sulleny | 04 October 2008 at 05:17 PM
Despite naysayers, this is a good thing.
Notice there is no limit on the speed of the vehicle itself. Most 50km/hr roads are traversed at 10km/hr above that by most vehicles anyway.
I believe the authorities genuinely want to reduce noise and urban pollution and this is a small step on the way.
The unspoken concerns maybe on the possibility of having stranded vehicles blocking major intersections - although in fact EV's don't run out of gas the same way as a gasoline propelled cars. There is always something left in the "tank" so the vehicle is never an impediment to traffic.
These vehicles may encourage local businesses - outside cafes, hairdressers etc to offer charging points in downtown. There is a role here for Business Improvememt Associations to push local goverment into providing kerbside parking meters suitably equipped.
Above all they will give a foretaste of problems that may arise and allow them to gain more acceptance. Then the gradual establishment of a charging infrastructure will enable the more reliable usage of larger numbers and more powerful Evs on the streets. Perhaps even some from Azure Dynamics which has a facility in Vancouver.
It's a case of small steps at a time.
Posted by: T2 | 07 October 2008 at 08:22 AM