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What is a Medium Speed Electric Vehicle?

Written by Bryan Johannsen

Medium Speed Electric VehicleElectric cars currently come in two classes, a highway capable vehicle which can reach highway speeds and meets all NTSB safety standards required of gas/diesel cars and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (officially referred to as Low Speed Vehicles) which are speed limited to 25 mph and are limited to roads with a 35 mph or less speed limit. NEVs are not required to meet many safety standards and the vehicles vary wildly from small car style bodies to a golf cart with nicer seats.

Electric Car SafetySeveral states have either passed or are working on laws that would create a class known as a Medium Speed Electric Vehicle. Put simply this will allow a LSV to increase it's limited speed to 35mph and be able to travel on roads with a speed limit up to 45mph. The states passing this law are currently at odds with federal government safety regulations. To travel at 35mph the NTSB would require NEVs to meet all the current safety standards for passenger vehicles including energy absorbing bumpers and airbags.

Medium Speed Electric Vehicle10 miles per hour may not seem like much of an increase but impact force increases exponentially with speed. A 1 ton vehicle traveling at 25mph hits a stationary object with a force of 20 tons, that same vehicle hitting a stationary object at 35mph doubles the crash force and impacts at 40 tons. Now imagine traveling at 35 mph in a vehicle with no bumpers or airbags and getting in a head on collision with a vehicle traveling at 45 mph. A closing speed of 80 miles per hour gives the NEV an impact force of 214 tons, definitely a problem for the occupants of a vehicle not meeting any safety standards.

There are currently no Medium Speed Vehicles being manufactured and only Montana and Washington have MSEV laws on the books. Until some sort of safety standards are worked out between the manufacturers, the states and the NTSB the Medium Speed Electric Vehicle will probably be just a term and not a reality.

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