Immediate Action Needed – The Medium Speed Electric Vehicle Bill (HB 144)

March 1, 2009 at 10:33 pm 2 comments

The Medium Speed Electric Vehicle Bill is awaiting a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. If it is not put on the schedule by the end of the day Monday, March 2, it will die, and with it our hopes for a law allowing Medium Speed Electric Vehicles in Hawaii. Please check the deails below and send a short e-mail if you want to support this useful stage of growing sustainable transportation.

Click here to send an e-mail to:
Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu
Chairman, Judiciary Committee
Subject: HB 144 Medium Speed Electric Vehicles
Message: Please hold a public hearing for HB 144 Medium Speed Electric Vehicles
Remember to include your name and island.

Every state legislator has been asked for assistance, but it’s all the citizens pulling together that really has the greatest influence. If you haven’t sent an e-mail yet, please, please do.

At the moment, there is only one special classification for electric vehicles to be used on roads. They are called Low Speed Vehicles and evolved from golf carts. However golf carts only go about 15 mph and do not have any safety features at all. Low Speed Vehicles are required to have headlights, taillights stoplights, directional signals, seatbelts, and review mirrors. They are required to be able to go at least 20 MPH but must not exceed 25 MPH. They look something like this:


In the past few years, companies world wide, have started building electric cars that look like cars. These cars are presently sold and licensed as low-speed vehicles because that is the only classification available. However, they are capable of going faster and many believe they are significantly safer than the open golf cart type Low-Speed Vehicles. There is a national movement to create a new class called Medium Speed Electric Vehicles, MSEV, which would be allowed to go 35 mph in a 45 mph zone. Here are a few examples of what they look like.


As you can see there is a tremendous amount of difference between the vehicles in the top row and the vehicles in the bottom row. However at the moment there is only one class for all of these and it is Low-Speed Vehicles which means that all these vehicles are only allowed to go 25 mph on roads with speed limits 35 mph or below. Click here for video.

There are a few full speed, or highway speed electric vehicles but these cost at least $50,000 with some over $100,000. MSEV cost $10-20,000.

Electric vehicles must be very light to be practical. Neither the Low-Speed Vehicles nor the proposed Medium Speed Electric Vehicles can meet the full National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) safety requirements for highway speed vehicles. The safety requirements for Medium Speed Electric Vehicles must be defined.

NHTSA refused to define the safety criteria for Low Speed Vehicles for 50 years. They finally acted after there were about a million golf carts being operated by retirees on public streets and only after 15 states had defined their own Low-Speed Vehicle criteria. We are now in exactly the same position with Medium Speed Electric Vehicles. NHTSA refused to define the safety criteria for MSEV

Five states have already adopted MSEV laws;Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Kentucky did it by administrative order so that’s 6 states where MSEV is allowed.

At least nine states are considering MSEV bills this legislative session as of February 25, 2009

Road speed limit
Hawai’i (35-45) HB 144
New Mexico (35-45) HB 294
Kentucky (50-45) SB 7
New York (35-45) A00870
Texas (35-35) SB 129
Oregon (35-40) HB 2120
South Carolina (35-35) S 0419
Georgia (35-35) HB 530
Colorado (35-45) SB 075

Of course Medium Speed Electronic Vehicles have all the environmental, petroleum eliminating, economic, traffic calming, pedestrian safety and other positive features expected from all-electric vehicles as detailed in the video linked above.

For more information, send an email to Buck Joiner


Entry filed under: Cars, Political Action, Recycling & Conservation, Transportation.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sameer  |  March 2, 2009 at 7:30 am

    You are right, this is the time to act fast and pass on the Bill for Medium speed electric vehicle. Unless this is done, it will not be a good sign for the manufacturers and distributors of battery-charged vehicles to enhance their capacities further.


  • […] Medium Speed Vehicle Regulations – At the end of February nine states were considering medium speed vehicle laws:  Hawaii, New Mexico, Kentucky, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Georgia and Colorado. Speed limits proposed ranged from 35mph to 50 mph with most at 45 mph. Five states who have already adopted MSEV laws include Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. […]


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