PHOTO CAPTION: Enclosed electric tri-scooter has top speed of 30 km/h.

New Class EV Poses Challenge

They're not your traditional motorscooter nor are they an automobile. They are a new class of electric vehicle whose place in the transportation system isn't yet settled.

Published: 02-Oct-2015

New Zealander Garry Stanley is importing a new class of electric vehicle from China that is best described as an enclosed scooter, both four-wheeled and three. He is taking advantage of 2004 change in the country's law that removed size and speed limits from motor vehicles and, reports Stuff, "simply required drivers travel at speeds that won't endanger themselves or others."

With a top-speed of 30km/h (16 mph), their introduction poses a challenge to transportation planners and regulators. They can be too slow for many city streets and too big for dedicated bike lanes, but Stanley sees a market in the country's aging population. According to New Zealand law, they can be classified as mobility devices, but they must conform to regulations that include being "designed and constructed for people with physical or neurological impairment, and powered by a maximum 1500 watt motor." Unlike similar devices used in the US, these Chinese machines are enclosed, offering shelter from the weather and at least a bit of crumble zone protection in the event of a collision." Reports Stuff...

"If the vehicle meets these criteria then the driver doesn't need a license, or a warrant of fitness or registration for the vehicle.

Drivers are allowed on the road, and must ride carefully and be considerate of others on the footpath.

There is no maximum speed - the law states they must not ride at speeds that put other footpath users at risk.

The five vehicles Stanley is importing from China, which are slated to arrive in mid-October, have a range of from 40-160 km, depending on the number of batteries installed. Both the tricycle and quadra versions models are powered by a 1000 watt motor. How well they work out in New Zealand could determine how they might integrate into other countries with similar aging populations.

Quadra mini-scooter

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