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LSVs and Street Legality

When it comes to zipping around the neighborhood, nothing beats the convenience and eco-friendliness of a low speed electric vehicle (LSV). These sustainable and affordable vehicles have long been a staple in retirement communities and neighborhoods with private roads, but they're gaining traction in urban areas as well. And when you hit public roads, that means they have higher safety standards to be street legal.

Wink Motors Mark 1 LSV
A Wink Motors Mark 1

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a street-legal LSV must have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and meet a host of safety standards. These include having headlights, turn signals, break lights, and tires and windshields that meet DOT standards.

Unfortunately, a lot of LSV manufacturers aren't completely upfront with the legality of their product. They may advertise them as street legal, sometimes with a different, more vague term, and then when the customer goes to register their new vehicle, the DMV informs them that it can't be driven on public roads.

Here are a couple of red flags to watch out for:

  • Avoiding the words "Street Legal" while advertising them as a car alternative

  • Not mentioning that LSVs are only legal on roads with 35mph and under speed limits

  • Not giving specs about the windshields, tires, or other safety features we mentioned above.

Of course, a product page having these red flags doesn't mean the manufacturer is dishonest. A lot of LSV companies make both street legal and non-street legal models, like Club Car. These companies usually have different sections on their website for these models to make it clear.

Since LSV Genius is primarily interested in LSVs as a real form of transportation, most of the models we recommend on here are confirmed street legal. This includes everything offered by Wink Motors and Gem.

For a breakdown of our 4 favorite models, check out this article.

Image Attributions: Featured Image: Vehicle inspection by Nick YoungsonCC BY-SA 3.0Pix4free

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