The Disruptive Power of ‘Minimobility’

Small, lightweight vehicles similar to golf carts could eliminate many Americans’ need for a second car and make roads safer for all users.

Read Time: 1 minute

November 9, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Line of golf carts parked on street in The Villages, Florida

Jillian Cain Photography / Golf carts in The Villages, Florida

Writing in Fast Company, David Zipper highlights the disruptive potential of 'minimobility'—a variation on the more well-known micromobility—in particular, an emerging class of tiny vehicles modeled on golf carts. “While bikes and scooters have been around for well over a century, the addition of small electric batteries has been a revelation, letting riders comfortably handle steep hills and muggy weather (e-cargo bikes are especially helpful when lugging groceries or children).” Meanwhile, smaller, lighter vehicles pose less danger to pedestrians in collisions and produce fewer emissions for building and charging than larger electric cars.

As American cars get bigger and more expensive, small, efficient vehicles could become increasingly attractive to buyers. “Consumer preferences are already showing signs of shifting. In the U.S., more e-bikes are now sold than electric cars,” Zipper points out. “Golf carts—already ubiquitous in suburban enclaves like The Villages, Florida, and Peachtree City, Georgia—are popping up in places like Scottsdale, Arizona, and downtown Tampa.”

Zipper notes that the biggest obstacle to more widespread adoption is America’s tradition of car-centric development and road design, but that the tide is slowly turning in favor of multimodal infrastructure. “The prospect of a rapid shift toward small vehicles should be keeping auto executives awake at night. But from a societal perspective, it could be a dream come true.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 in Fast Company

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