The new LSV or Low Speed Vehicles

July 31, 2008 7:25:30 PM PDT
Some people are finding a new way to beat the high gas prices. They say it's as easy as LSV.LSV - stands for Low Speed Vehicles and one Wake County business that sells them says business is rising ? along with the price at the pump.

The cars look similar to golf carts you've seen on the fairway. "A low-speed vehicle is basically an electric vehicle." Mike Bartholomew sells the low-speed vehicles and unlike golf cars, LSV's are specially equipped to roam real roads.

Bartholomew explains, "A lot of equipment has to be added to the cart to make it 'street legal'."

That includes:

  • DOT approved tires
  • Lights
  • Speedometer
  • Windshield
  • Seat belts
  • Turn signals
  • And a horn

The vehicle is built by certified LSV maker, Mike Bartholomew. The "souped-up carts get registered and get a license plate.

The cart runs on batteries and gets 35 to 40 miles each time you charge them. Mike says sales have gone up about 15 percent as gas prices have soared since the spring. "Since the gas prices went up we've had a lot of calls from people inquiring," Bartholomew said.

We hit the road on Main Street in Rolesville. We got up to near 25 miles per hour. The top speed allowed on an LSV. Mike says he's used to the funny looks he gets on the roads. "Those guys kinda look over at me like, man, you're driving a golf cart on the street. But it's not a golf cart." No - it's a Low Speed Vehicle.

In order to operate a low speed vehicle you have to be 16 and have a valid driver's license. They are allowed only in zones that are 35 miles per hour or less. They save you gas money, but they aren't cheap. Models start at about $4,000.

In case you're wondering. It is illegal to drive regular golf carts on roads where they aren't specially allowed.


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