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So thanks to another poster - I have now seen what China has to offer in the way of electric cars and they are SWEET. One in particular has grabbed my attention, the Fulu A01. Here is some information about the vehicle: http://gfulu.en.alibaba.com/product/731759431-215980759/electric_car_A01.html

The manufacturer is the same company that built the Xebra series that was sold in small numbers to the USA under "Zap Motors".

Now I know there are some concerns about sending your money to China and getting what you paid for. Never mind all that. I can do that research on my own.

What I want to know - is how can I register and drive one of these in the USA as an LSV or a NEV? It seems that since these cars are not highway capable, they do not need to meet Federal safety standards and therefore it's up to your State to make laws about them. I live in Ohio, where these are allowable on roads up to 35Mph. But that's as much information as I can find on the BMV and DOT sites.

But if I walk into my local BMV and try to get plates on this thing, how is that going to work? I won't have a title. I will have a "bill of sale" for something from China. Do I have to use my bill of sale to obtain a title? And when I have a title - will it be a special one for a different class of vehicle? I have a co-worker who bought a custom built car and the title basically said "custom built automobile" or something on it. But he bought that car - so he didn't know anything about how the title was obtained. But hell, if that guy can get a title for that monstrosity, I should have no problem getting a title for one of these little battery operated vehicles. :)

It would be helpful if I could find anyone else who has ever gone through this process. Even if it's just someones blog.

Any information or links anyone can share would be very helpful.
 

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Bumping my own thread with some information I found ...

This site is a great start to see how you might go about importing a car into the United States. And it looks like a royal pain in the arse.

This PDF is also very helpful and includes a flow chart.

The manufacturer would have to have attached certifications to the vehicle which show that it meets EPA guidelines for emissions standards (called an EPA certificate of conformity) as noted here ...
Vehicles imported to the U.S. must pass through a port of entry and be cleared by U.S. Customs. For Customs clearance you will need the shipper's or carrier's original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, and any other documents covering the vehicle. You will also need a completed EPA Form 3520-1, or a manufacturer's label in the English language affixed to the car, stating that the vehicle meets all U.S. emission requirements.
If that is not available, you have to send your car through an "ICI" who will certify or modify and then certify your vehicle. And yet it states: "only import certain vehicles"? What a joke.
You may make arrangements to import your vehicle with an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI). In this case, the ICI will import your vehicle and perform any EPA-required modifications and be responsible for assuring that all EPA requirements have been met. ICIs can only import certain vehicles, however, and in general, their fees are very high.
And that's only the EPA. You also have to show that it meets Federal Highway Safety standards. Which, it obviously would not. Because these vehicles are intended to be sold as LSV or NEV's. And yet - not mention of these vehicle classes on pages about importing vehicles.

And if you get through all of that ... there are the taxes, which are rather huge.

So I could just see going through all of these processes, paying all the related fees, and then getting your vehicle held up by U.S. Customs anyway - because something wasn't filed correctly, or they don't understand that these vehicles don't meet highway safety ratings and don't need to.

And I imagine that all of this ... is why most NEV/LSV manufactures do not list the United States as a country that can buy one of these. I wouldn't want to deal with the United States either! :)
 
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