Low-Speed Vehicles: The Quirky Cars That Are Getting Away With It

Low-speed vehicles (LSVs), what are they? Is it it a new type of microwave oven, some people don’t know, so let’s get into it. They’re basically four-wheel vehicles that are allowed to drive around at a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h) without all the crazy design and registration laws that normal cars have to follow. Even though LSV’s are generally considered street legal and made to be in zones of up to 35mph, you might not even have to register it with the DMV… say what?! 

LSVs Around the World

In Canada where they too have LSV’s they have some pretty specific rules ( so it’s important to note)  if your running to the Canadian border for some quick ice fishing with your 2 pass GEM the rules are different in Canada.  According to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, it has to be powered by an electric motor, produce no emissions, have 4 wheels, and be able to go more than 20 mph (32 km/h) but not more than 25 mph (40 km/h) on a paved surface. That’s some seriously nitpicky stuff!

But it’s not just Canada that’s in on the LSV game. France has something called a “voiture sans permis,” or “car without license,” which sounds like strange but only because it’s French. Drivers have to pass a written road-safety exam, but then they can hit the road at just 14 years old. Talk about starting ’em young! 

And get this, the Philippines has even created a Low-Speed Vehicle category for four-wheeled motor vehicles that use alternative fuel (like electricity) and have a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). They even have these things called E-jeepneys, which are electric minibuses that can carry 17 passengers and run for 120 km on an 8-hour charge. That’s one seriously eco-friendly ride!

And of course last but not least, the United States has its own set of LSV regulations, with each state doing its own thing. Nearly all 50 states allow LSVs, also called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), to drive on their roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. And because of federal law, car dealers can’t legally sell LSVs that go faster than 25 mph, but if you’re feeling daring, you can modify it yourself to go up to 35 mph. Just don’t get caught, okay?

LSVs: A Niche Market?

All in all, LSVs might not be the flashiest or fastest rides out there, but they sure do have their own little niche. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll all be cruising around in little electric cars that barely break the speed limit. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

What to Remember About LSVs

  • LSVs are four-wheel vehicles that can go a maximum of 25 mph (40 km/h).
  • Canada, France, the Philippines, and the US all have their own regulations for LSVs.
  • LSVs are often powered by electric motors and considered eco-friendly.
  • LSVs are allowed to drive on roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.
  • Car dealers cannot legally sell LSVs that go faster than 25 mph (40 km/h).