NO. 8.  AN ACT RELATING TO NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES.

(S.70)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  23 V.S.A. § 4(73) is added to read:

Except as may be otherwise provided herein, and unless the context otherwise requires in statutes relating to motor vehicles and enforcement of the law regulating vehicles, as provided in this title and part 5 of Title 20, the following definitions shall apply:

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(73)  “Neighborhood electric vehicle” means a self-propelled, electrically‑powered motor vehicle which:

(A)  is emission free;

(B)  is designed to carry four or fewer persons;

(C)  is designed to be, and is, operated at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less;

(D)  has at least four wheels in contact with the ground;

(E)  has an unladen weight of less than 1,800 pounds;

(F)  conforms to the minimum safety equipment requirements as adopted in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 500, Low Speed Vehicles (49 C.F.R. 571, 500).

Sec. 2.  23 V.S.A. § 1007a is added to read:

§ 1007a.  NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES; SPEED LIMIT

The maximum speed for a neighborhood electric vehicle shall be 25 miles per hour.

Sec. 3.  23 V.S.A. § 1043 is added to read:

§ 1043.  OPERATION OF NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES;

              VEHICLE SALES REQUIREMENTS

(a)  Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, the operator of a neighborhood electric vehicle may not operate the vehicle on a highway with a speed limit in excess of 35 miles per hour.

(b)  The traffic committee for state highways or the legislative body of a municipality for town highways may prohibit the use of neighborhood electric vehicles on highways under their jurisdiction when deemed to be in the interest of public safety.

(c)(1)  The operator of a neighborhood electric vehicle may cross a highway which has a speed limit of 50 miles per hour or less if the crossing begins and ends on a highway authorized for use by these vehicles, and there is an intersection that is controlled by traffic control signals.

(2)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the traffic committee or the legislative body of a municipality may prohibit the operator of a neighborhood electric vehicle from traversing an intersection under their respective jurisdictions when the prohibition is deemed to be in the best interest of public safety.  A prohibition shall become effective when appropriate signs giving notice are erected at the crossing.

(d)  Rules adopted under the provisions of 10 V.S.A. chapter 23 (air pollution control) shall not include a requirement for delivery or sales of electric vehicles that derive all of their power from batteries.

Sec. 4.  REPORT TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The traffic committee, in consultation with the Vermont league of cities and towns, shall prepare and submit to the general assembly not later than December 31, 2004 a report evaluating the safety of neighborhood electric vehicle operation in the state.  The report shall also include recommended amendments, if any, to the provisions of this act.

Sec. 5.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Sec. 3 of this act shall take effect from passage, and the remainder of this act shall take effect upon adoption of a rule by the department of motor vehicles which amends the Vermont motor vehicle inspection manual to address the inspection of neighborhood electric vehicles.

Approved:  April 29, 2003