NZEVs in My Neighbourhood
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.