Innovation That Matters

Deluxe golf carts as neighbourhood transportation

Mobility & Transport

There’s been plenty of lip service paid to electric vehicles in recent years, but the fact remains that in many communities, they’re still more frequently discussed than actually seen. Not so in several U.S. neighbourhoods, however, where golf carts and other diminutive electric vehicles are part of the very fabric of community life. With many of the same gas-free benefits offered by larger electric vehicles—but considerably lower price tags—neighbourhood electric vehicles, or NEVs, are the transportation of choice for residents of several large retirement communities, an article on recently reported. Golf carts are a common sight on the streets and specially designed paths of The Villages community in Florida, for example—and not just the ordinary, plain-vanilla variety. In fact, many of the community’s 77,000 retired residents “pimp their rides” to look like fire trucks, 1930s roadsters and stretch limos, Wired reported, spending as much as USD 20,000 in the process of swapping in bigger tires or hacking engines to surpass the traditional golf cart’s maximum speed of about 20 mph. Similar sights are apparently seen in other communities around the country, including the retirement mecca of Sun City, Arizona, and the all-ages suburb of Peachtree City, Georgia. Accessories are sold by companies like GoNEV. Driver’s licenses are not typically required for most golf carts, but full-fledged NEVs—which are street-legal in most states—require insurance and registration, Wired reported. Either way, such vehicles offer not only eco-benefits and credentials, but apparently also those of the more neighbourly kind: “If your neighbour is in his yard, you can’t drive by in your golf cart without waving and saying hello,” Gary Lester, VP of community relations for The Villages, told Wired. Chrysler’s Global Electric Motorcars is one major maker of NEVs, selling its vehicles for as low as USD 3,644 with tax credits. Lower prices, fewer emissions and social benefits on top of an eco-iconic appearance and government tax incentives? Legal and insurance issues notwithstanding, sounds like a potential winner to us. Who will put golf carts at the forefront of *your* community’s next planning venture…? Spotted by: Katherine Noyes



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