Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs): Cool, Affordable, Earth-friendly Rides
Learn What Makes These Street-legal Vehicles the Way to Go
Augusta, Ga. (Aug. 21, 2012) – October 15 is National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day and a good time to answer a question many people ask when they catch their first glimpse of a low-speed vehicle (LSV): What the heck is that?
These small, bright, Euro-style cars — also known as neighborhood electric vehicles — look more like something you’d see in Barcelona than Boston. Yet they’re turning heads from Manhattan’s Upper East Side to South Beach to San Diego.
“LSVs are the automotive equivalent of the slow-food movement,” says Mary A. Sicard, consumer marketing manager at Club Car, the manufacturer of the Villager LSV. “They’re timely, intelligent and cool. What’s more, they encourage the slower-paced lifestyle so many people want.”
Clean, Green Driving Machines
These electric, emissions-free cars are especially popular among people who care about the environment. Many of them know that every gallon of gas burned by a conventional car creates about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide for an annual average of six tons of carbon dioxide per car.
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to drive an electric car. The Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Initiative’s Alternative Transportation Program reports that electric vehicles have saved nearly three billion gallons of petroleum since 1993.
Enjoy the Ride of Your Life
Then there’s the fun factor.
Stuffy gas guzzlers tend to isolate people from one another and the environment. LSVs, on the other hand, are open to sights, scents and sounds. These small, nimble vehicles make it easy for drivers to stop at shops, restaurants and to chat with friends. They foster social interaction and integrate shopping and dining into the fabric of your life. And they’re silent. No revving engines or backfiring.
“Residents of gated, retirement and urban communities are using their Villager LSVs for neighborhood transportation, shopping, running errands, dropping kids off at school, going out to dinner, zipping to the gym or just cruising,” Sicard says. “These vehicles make driving a pleasure, not just a means to an end.”
Although people sometimes mistake them for golf cars, LSVs are often a more practical choice for neighborhood transportation.
LSVs vs. PTVs vs. Golf Cars
The term “golf car” is commonly used to refer to many different types of vehicles. Specifically, golf cars are vehicles for use on golf courses for the game of golf. When golf cars are used off the golf course, they are classified as Personal Transport Vehicles (PTVs).
A PTV is a vehicle with a maximum speed of less than 20 mph that is for personal use. They may be powered by gasoline or electricity and driven on public roads as defined by state and local laws for purposes unrelated to golf. PTVs are not classified as motor vehicles under federal law and are not regulated by the NHTSA but by state and local governments.
The LSV is classified as a motor vehicle and regulated by the NHTSA. These vehicles travel at speeds between 20 -25 mph. They are allowed on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less in most states. But they must have vehicle identification numbers, be registered and insured, and be equipped with windshields, turn signals, head and tail lights, seat belts and other safety equipment.
Here’s the rub. Original manufacturers of golf cars keep the maximum speed below 15 mph. Yet owners sometimes have their vehicles modified to increase the speed. According to Fred Somers, secretary, treasurer and legal counsel for the International Light Transportation Vehicle Association (ILTVA), an organization that regulates and promotes the safety of golf cars and other small four-wheel vehicles, this can have ramifications that many owners are unaware of.
“If a golf car is modified to go 20–25 mph, it becomes by definition an LSV and is subject to the NHTSA requirements. In effect, many people are driving LSVs when they think they are driving golf cars,” he says.
Here are the major differences between PTVs and LSVs:
- Where they are allowed. State and local governments may decide the type of roadways on which Personal Transportation Vehicles and Low-Speed Vehicles are allowed, what safety equipment is required, who can drive and many other factors. Generally, LSVs can hit streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less in almost all states. PTVs are usually limited to golf car lanes or designated low-speed roads within one mile of a golf course, but this varies by locale.
- Number of passengers. LSVs come in two- and four-passenger models. Most PTVs carry two.
- Speed. LSVs can travel at a maximum of 25 mph; PTVs, 19.
- Weight. LSVs can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. (The Villager LSV weighs about half that, thanks to its rustproof aluminum chassis.) PTVs can tip the scales at 1,300 pounds.
- DMV regulations. LSVs are subject to state Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) rules. They must be titled, licensed and insured, and can be driven only by licensed drivers. PTVs may not have to meet DMV requirements. “It’s very important to understand your state and local regulations,” says Sicard. “The laws vary by jurisdiction.”
- Safety standards. LSVs meet federal safety guidelines. PTVs do not. “The Villager LSV comes equipped with auto glass, four-wheel brakes, three-point safety belts, turn signals, brake lights, a horn, halogen head lamps, adjustable mirrors, windshield wipers and other features golf cars and PTVs are not required to have,” Sicard says.
Slash Your Transportation Costs
LSVs also let you avoid sticker shock at the pump and on insurance and maintenance.
In the United States, LSVs cost about half as much to operate as gas-powered vehicles.
“Villager LSVs can be charged through a standard 110-volt outlet, so you won’t have to pay $300 - $1,500 to install a 220-volt outlet as you would to juice an electric car. And you’ll get up to 30 miles from a six-hour charge,” Sicard says.
Take the Path Less Traveled
Obviously, you can’t drive an LSV down I-95 or on a cross-country road trip, but you can use it for hundreds of short trips each year. And, with more than 75 percent of all American vehicle trips coming in at 10 miles or less, these jaunts adds up quickly.
Since LSVs are so compact, nimble and easy to park, they’re great for retirement and gated communities, motor home owners, second homes, beach front living, college campuses, military bases, industrial plants, small towns, urban environments with congested driving and parking conditions and many other areas.
You can also customize your LSV to your lifestyle, climate and application.
The Villager LSV, for example, accommodates a range of options designed specifically for the vehicle. These include a whisper-quiet cooling system, stereos and MP3 players, sporty upholstery, a 12-volt accessory outlet, luxury dashes, a single point battery watering system for easy maintenance, and a cargo bed for hauling groceries, golf clubs and gym gear.
If you’re ready to transcend the ordinary, stop by your local Authorized Club Car dealer and test drive a Villager LSV today. To find a dealer near you, visit www.clubcar.com and select “dealer locator.”
Club Car Villager 2 LSV on the beach: http://bit.ly/Sg0zn8
Club Car Villager 2 LSV on fishing pier: http://bit.ly/SK4fJy
Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV: http://bit.ly/Pz2Sx4
Studio shot of Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV: http://bit.ly/Ps4NpG
About Club Car
Club Car, one of the most respected names in the golf industry, is the world’s largest manufacturer of small-wheel, zero-emissions electric vehicles. The company’s Precedent® golf cars and Carryall® Turf utility vehicles are integral to successful operations at thousands of courses around the world. The company also offers a complete line of new and used golf cars, XRT utility vehicles and street-legal, low-speed vehicles (LSVs) for personal use, all backed by Club Car’s 50+ year legacy of superior design, manufacture and service.
Club Car is part of the Industrial Technology Sector of Ingersoll Rand, and is based in Augusta, Ga. Visit www.clubcar.com.
Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR) advances the quality of life by creating and sustaining safe, comfortable and efficient environments. Our people and our family of brands—including Club Car®, Ingersoll Rand®, Schlage®, Thermo King® and Trane® —work together to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings; transport and protect food and perishables; secure homes and commercial properties; and increase industrial productivity and efficiency. Ingersoll Rand is a $14 billion global business committed to a world of sustainable progress and enduring results. For more information, visit ingersollrand.com.