LETTER: Low-speed electric vehicles aren’t safe

From reader Al Grant

Re: Low-speed electric vehicle hits the road in Nelson, Nov. 24

Since the 1960s, safety has been paramount in the evolution of the motor vehicle in North America. Thanks to research, cars and light trucks today are much safer than they once were. They are expertly designed to withstand impacts from every angle and many systems keep those riding inside, safe. Hundreds of thousands have been spared serious injury or death as a result.

Low-speed electric vehicles (LSVs) are not the same as passenger cars. They fall into a special class of vehicles Transport Canada have recognized with the distinction that “they are not intended to interact with other classes of vehicles on public roads.” As a result, their build standard for safety does not even remotely mirror that of a modern car. They are golf carts, never designed for use around urban traffic and not designed or built to withstand the forces involved in a crash.

It is my hope that this vehicle is never involved in even a minor collision, but unfortunately, odds are it will be, or other LSVs that follow will be. People are injured or killed every day in crashes involving speeds less than 50 kilometres per hour. Add to that a vehicle designed for use on a golf course with no consideration or understanding of crash dynamics, and the outcomes will be catastrophic.

I am hopeful that at least one of those responsible for promoting, financing, or approving this initiative will have the courage to revisit what I know from experience is a very bad decision. I understand your dedication to zero emissions but, you also have a responsibility to consider other factors. Sacrificing peoples safety in LSVs to achieve climate targets makes no sense when a conventional electric vehicle could achieve exactly the same goal safely.

Al Grant