A Vernon company has been given the green light to build a low-speed electric vehicle with all the safety features needed for public road travel.
Simolo Customs Ltd. received approval from Transport Canada earlier this week, marking the end of a five-year process. The manufacturer is now ready to enter the production phase for its line of NXT electric vehicles.
The low-speed vehicles (LSV) are similar to golf carts but with added safety features and a sharper design. Canada has had criteria for LSV production for years, but the latest NXT series is the first to be granted Transport Canada approval.
“When we designed the vehicle, the long-term idea was to have them street legal, so from the get-go we incorporated all of the things that were needed,” said Jeffery Holomis, CEO and owner of Simolo Customs Ltd.
Those elements needed for street-legal status include headlights, tail lights, signals, seat belts and a DOT-approved windshield. The vehicles travel at a maximum speed of 40 km/h.
“It was never really our intention to have them be something you would drive downtown with, but more so that the owner is legal while driving on public roads within their communities,” said Holomis. “So we’re giving them a safe alternative.”
Holomis said large golf course or gated communities are where you’ll most likely see these LSVs.
“Especially in the Okanagan here, like McKinley Beach and Lakestone which are big developments with homes everywhere and they’ve got communal clubhouses down by the water, but only so much area and so much space to park vehicles.”
Simolo Customs Ltd. has a background in manufacturing in the aircraft industry, but in 2010 the company started rebuilding and refurbishing golf carts as a side project. Development of the electric LSV began in 2015, and the first version was released as a golf cart or resort-based vehicle meant for off-road travel.
Holomis said the base, two-seat model will cost $12,500, with prices going up for four-seaters and other higher end models.
With production expected to begin soon, Holomis said vehicles could possibly be ready for sale two months from now.