Mainstreaming the Golf Cart

Seniors are on the cutting edge of a movement to make Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), otherwise known as golf carts, a viable form of everyday transportation.
October 12, 2015, 8am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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They're already used widely in parks, college campuses, enclosed communities, and, of course, golf courses. Now small towns are jumping on board in a push to make NEVs and other low-speed electrics the "cars" of choice for those who don't need to travel far. They're also much cheaper than full-size EVs. 

In an odd twist, seniors are the demographic most suited to pioneer this transportation innovation. "Dozens of communities have outlined schemes to integrate carts and similarly sized vehicles into their transportation networks," particularly places where older folks tend to live, and not limited to retirement communities.

Sun Belt suburbs, so long the domain of soccer-mom SUVs and vanity pickup trucks, are poised to embrace the humble electric golf cart. "Why drive a cart? Certainly, disposable income, warm weather, and relatively dense settlements are prerequisites. But drivers also say that NEVs allow for old-fashioned urban social interaction."

The golf cart's potential isn't limited to Arizona retirees: "In beach towns and other compact tourist enclaves, already accustomed to a mix of transportation modes, NEVs can do a car's job with ease." No highway commutes though: the NEV demands more compact planning.

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Published on Monday, October 5, 2015 in The Atlantic
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