Low-speed electric vehicles eyed in Hope

Greener and safer transportation is the goal of a new bylaw being drafted

Residents may soon have an opportunity to plug in and charge up.

Council unanimously passed a motion on Monday night directing staff to prepare a bylaw permitting the use of low-speed electric vehicles on municipal roads.

“We were interested in looking at ways to be a little greener and be a little safer out there on the roads,” said Coun. Donna Kropp.

“I’m in favour of the initial draft we have going on here, but I’m looking forward to the public’s input.”

Low-speed electric vehicles (also referred to as neighbourhood zero emission vehicles) used to be included with other slow-moving vehicles, like farm tractors, in the Motor Vehicle Act. An amendment to legislation in 2008 allowed municipalities to pass specific bylaws permitting electric cars on roads with speeds between 40 and 50 km/h. Low-speed electric vehicles weigh less than 1,361 kilograms and run on rechargeable batteries. They still require licencing and insurance as they fall under the normal requirements of passenger vehicles.

With all roads in Hope posted at 50 km/hor lower, Hope RCMP Staff Sgt. Suki Manj doesn’t foresee low-speed electric vehicles creating any problems.

“From a police perspective, I don’t think it’s going to cause us too much concern if people follow the rules,” he said.

“I support the idea ofgoing green and trying to find alternative ways of transportation.”

The District of Oak Bay was the first municipality in B.C. to adopt a bylaw legalizing electric cars in 2008. Other municipalities quickly followed, and now Burnaby, Colwood, Esquimalt, Vancouver, North Vancouver, PortCoquitlam, Qualicum Beach, Ucluelet and Whistler have joined the green initiative.