Califronia Street Legal UTVs

| September 5, 2009 | 0 Comments
Th!nk Neighbor

Th!nk Neighbor

The Ford TH!NK neighbor was part of a short-lived line of electric vehicles that were sold as street legal neighborhood vehicles in California. The TH!NK neighbor is a battery powered vehicle, capable of speeds up to 25 miles per hour, designed for commuting within closed communities, resorts or work environments.

I saw the one you see here at a horse show and gave it a quick once-over.  It got me thinking about UTVs not able to get approved for street use in California. Other than the windshield, windshield wiper, mirrors and turn signals, what is the difference?  It surely isn’t any more safe than a UTV.

Ford Th!nk Neighbor

Ford Th!nk Neighbor

Back in 2000 when the Th!nk Neighbor was announced, it met the new U.S. government FMVSS500 requirements for low speed vehicles, and was designed with a number of safety features, including three-point restraints at all seating positions, AS-1 glazed safety glass windshield and 3 mph bumpers. Now UTVs don’t have all that stuff, but if they did, why couldn’t they be street legal?

Seems like maybe the speed is an issue for it to become a “low speed vehicle”, but it sure seems like that could be overcome.

TH!NK neighbor is equipped with a two speed selector for private road and golf course applications. The “high” speed setting is limited to 25 mph. The “low” speed setting is limited to 15 mph.

Maybe Polaris has plans for its’ new RANGER EV to become street legal? Time will tell as the EV rolls off the line soon and into consumers hands.

One thing is for sure, compared to states like Arizona and Utah, California’s laws, rules and regulations are much too restrictive.  It isn’t like I want to take a UTV on the freeway.  I just want to be able to go to the corner market, or drive from a campground to the trail head without have to trailer it to get there.

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Category: Random Thoughts

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