I saw a new sign beside the road in my neighbourhood last week: NZEV Zone Begins. This means that I might now encounter Net Zero Emission Vehicles in my local travels. Also known as Low Speed Vehicles (LSV) or Neighbourhood Vehicles, these electric vehicles are designed to operate at speeds of 40 km/h or less.
NZEVs are vehicles that bear a national safety mark issued by Transport Canada. They must meet minimum safety levels which include: headlights, turn signal lamps, mirrors, parking brake, glazing requirements for a windshield and have seat belt assemblies present. Finally, there is the maximum speed capability of 40 km/h.
These low speed vehicles may be operated on provincial roads under authority of a permit issued by the local office of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. They may also be driven on municipal streets with speed limits of 40 or 50 km/h if the municipality has authorized it through a bylaw. You must have a valid driver's licence and insurance and licence plates from ICBC.
An NZEV may be a golf cart, but a golf cart is NOT an NZEV! They don't bear the required safety mark and they do not meet the safety requirements, so a golf cart cannot be operated under the same conditions as an NZEV.
In light of the current slow vehicle keep right issues in the public eye, one wonders why a NZEV whose speed tops out at 40 km/h is allowed on a road with a posted speed of 50 km/h. Our NZEV zone contains a lot of winding road with double solid center lines. Will there be many violations of the no driving on the shoulder or pass over solid double line laws? We'll see.
Will these things be required to display the Slow Moving Vehicle sign at the back (that uninverted orange triangle with red borders)?
After all, them there Amish/Hutterite/Mennonite horse drawn buggies - pretty much zero emission themselves - are required to do this when operating on a highway!
Or is that 40 km/h a deliberately governed maximum speed, designed to escape this mandated safety warning for other motorists?
7B.01 "Slow moving vehicle" means a vehicle, combination of vehicles or other machinery or equipment that is designed for use, and normally travels, on a highway, at a speed of 40 km/h or less but does not include an antique motor vehicle or a collector motor vehicle.
Prohibition — driving
7B.02 No person shall drive or operate on a highway a slow moving vehicle unless the slow moving vehicle is equipped with a slow moving vehicle warning device.
So, yes, it would appear that these vehicles must display a slow moving vehicle sign.
Lucky you to have local politicians that can look ahead and embrace the future. Where I live, (Saanich) they deliberately disallowed them. Over 90% of our streets are residential, where the speed limit should never be over 40 km/h to start with. They would have been a perfect fit in our community. One NZEV manufacturer (Tesla?) got so little support they packed up and left the country, taking with them all the economic benifits that could have been ours.
I was behind such a vehicle on Granville Street in Vancouver. This type of vehicle is extremely dangerous for everyone on a busy street. Although (possibly?), they are not meant to be driven on such streets, the driver seemed oblivious to any possible problem and traffic slow down. The vehicle in question looked like a large motorized golf cart. I can see this as beneficial in a residential area, but in a large city on a busy street, I can see it as a target for road rage! It will be interesting to see how, when and where NZEV's are introduced in the Lower Mainland.