Neighborhood Electric Vehicles


What is an NEV?

A bill signing with Governor Schweitzer making Montana the first state in the nation to recognize NEVs.

An NEV is a battery powered vehicle that is legal to drive on streets as a "slow-speed electric vehicle". Recently, Montana passed legislation that allows for a new category of vehicles: medium-speed electric vehicles. These electric vehicles are equipped with safety features such as solid doors, windshield wipers and headlights so they are legal in Montana to drive on roads with speed limits up to 35 mph.

They are ideal for commutes within the city, like to work and for errands. The NEV has no tailpipe and doesn't emit the air pollutants that a standard car would. Their small size makes them easy to park around town.

How do They Work?

Under the hood you will only see its battery, which will have different voltages for different cars. You'll also see a smaller battery for the radio and headlights and the windshield wiper fluid. There is no oil or and its components are much simpler than a standard car, which cuts down on maintenance costs. The battery powered engine also means the car starts and heats up much faster in the winter. The Miles Electric Vehicles, a leading electric vehicle manufacturer, can comfortably seat four people with room in the trunk runs on six 12 volt batteries. These batteries can power the car for 40 to 60 miles on a full charge. The full charge takes about 7 to 8 hours. The battery pack needs to be replaced about every 25,000 miles or about every four years. The car is charged by using the outlet on the side of the car to plug into any standard 110V outlet.

Legal Status

At the federal level, NEVs are classified as Low-Speed Electric Vehicles have a federal speed limit of 25mph and can travel on any street with a speed limit up to 35 mph. categorized as "slow speed electric vehicles." In 2007, Montana became the first to state allow NEVs to travel up to 35 mph on roadways marked up to 45 mph if they meet certian safety criteria. Washington state has also passes such a law. In these two states, car dealers NEVs governed to the federal limits of 25 mph, with the buyer being able to easily and inexpensively modify the car to the legal state limit of 35 mph. The NEV 35 laws thus allow for "medium speed electric" vehicles; a clean, affordable transportation alternative for urban areas.