Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Low Speed Vehicle and Golf Cart Information FFVR 37

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Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV)/Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) and Golf Cart On-Road Registration Checklist

To register your NEV/LSV or golf cart you may need:

  • A properly completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343).
  • The out-of-state title or Manufacturer’s Certificate/Statement of Origin.
  • A vehicle verification (REG 31) completed by an authorized DMV employee or law enforcement officer.
  • Registration fees.
  • For a golf cart only: A Statement of Facts (REG 256) completed by the vehicle owner or authorized representative that states the vehicle meets the definition of a golf cart (per California Vehicle Code [CVC] §345) and has not been modified.
  • If your golf cart is gasoline powered it must have a label certifying the vehicle complies with California emissions requirements to be eligible for on road use.
  • Appointment(s) are recommended for faster service.

Note: If you purchase your NEV/LSV from a California dealer, the dealer will submit your paperwork to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) (CVC §§ 385.5 , 21250 )


A NEV/LSV is a motor vehicle that:       

  • Has four wheels.
  • Within one mile can reach a speed of more than 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph on a paved level surface.
  • Has a 17-digit conforming vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Only NEV/LEVs certified to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) can be considered for registration.
  • Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV) are also known as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV). NEVs/LSVs may look like a golf-cart to the casual observer, but they are actually a motor vehicle requiring a valid California driver license, registration, and insurance.

            golf cart        golf cart

Operation of NEV/LSVS
Dealers must provide buyers of an NEV/LSV with a disclosure statement regarding the operation of the vehicle (CVC §21252).

Local authorities, by ordinance or resolution, may restrict or prohibit the use of NEVs. The NEV may not be operated on any roadway with a speed limit above 35 mph. NEVs can cross state highways only at controlled intersections. Crossing at uncontrolled intersections is permitted with the approval of the agency responsible for that intersection.

NEVs may also cross at intersections that have a higher speed limit of 35 mph, if the crossing begins and ends on a road of 35 mph or less. NEVs can also be operated as a golf cart when operated within a distance one mile or less from a golf course or on roads designated for such operation by ordinance or resolution.

Modified or Altered NEVs/LSVSs (CVC §21254)

If you modify or alter your NEV/LSV to go faster than 25 miles per hour, you will no longer qualify for the relaxed FMVSS established for low speed vehicles. Your vehicle will then be required to meet the same federal standards established for passenger vehicles. Failure to comply with all necessary regulations may result in a citation. 

Equipment and Safety Requirements

NEVs/LSVs operated or parked on public streets, roads, or highways must meet the FMVSS at all times.
golf cart


Golf Carts (CVC §345)

A golf cart is a motor vehicle designed to:

  • Carry no more than two persons, including the driver.
  • Carry golf equipment.
  • Have not less than three wheels in contact with the ground.
  • Operate at a maximum speed of 15 mph.
  • Weigh no more than 1,300 pounds unladen (empty).

Operation of Golf Carts (CVC §§345, 21115, 21115.1 and 21716 )
Registration is not required if you operate your golf cart on a highway designated for such use by ordinance or resolution within one mile of a golf course. 
You may not operate on roads with speed zones above 25 mph except by ordinance or resolution by a local authority.

Modified Golf Carts

A golf cart cannot be converted for registration purpose as a NEV/LSV.  If you modify your golf cart to go faster than 15 mph or seat more than two persons, the vehicle is considered a regular motor vehicle and must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for regular passenger vehicles. These standards include additional vehicle equipment, appropriate FMVSS labels, applicable emission standards, and a 17-digit conforming VIN. Failure to comply with all necessary regulations may result in a citation.

Equipment Requirements for On-Road Use (CVC §24001.5

Your golf cart must comply with certain equipment standards established by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to be registered for on-road use. The equipment requirements are outlined in form CHP 888, Motorcycle, Motor Driven Cycle, and Motorized Bicycle Requirements, which is available from your local CHP office or calling (916) 445-1865.

If you drive your golf cart on the road it must be equipped with: 

  • At least one headlamp, tail lamp, and stop lamp
  • A rear reflector
  • Front/rear turn signals
  • Front/side reflectors
  • A mirror (located in a position to allow the driver a rear view of at least 200 feet)
  • A horn
  • Fenders
  • Safety glazed windshield
  • Windshield wipers


FFVR 37 (NEW 2/2010) WWW 2/2010