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Crazy as It Sounds, Golf Carts Might Be the Future of Transportation



Golf carts are a popular mode of transportation on California's Catalina Island. (Shutterstock)
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What if the future of transportation in metro cities like Fresno, suburbs, and urban villages doesn’t involve Tesla or self-driving cars?

Instead, what if the future is an often-electric vehicle that has been around for decades — the golf cart?

Slate reports that the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City has 10,000 registered golf carts among its 13,000 households. And, Harvard Business School researchers found in 2015 that a “neighborhood electric vehicle” resembling a “souped-up golf cart” offered the most transformative potential in city transportation.

“NEVs are used by security on university campuses, for transportation in retirement communities, and for delivery in cities. They cost just a few thousand dollars and are cheap to operate and easy to park. And their manufacturers are starting to add features found in conventional cars,” wrote the Harvard Business Review.

California Has Different Rules for NEVs, Golf Carts

It should be noted that the California Vehicle Code distinguishes between a golf cart and a NEV.

According to the state, a golf cart is “a motor vehicle having not less than three wheels in contact with the ground, having an unladen weight less than 1,300 pounds, which is designed to be and is operated at not more than 15 miles per hour and designed to carry golf equipment and not more than two persons, including the driver.”

A neighborhood electric vehicle, the state says, must weigh less than 3,000 pounds, reach 20 mph in less than a mile (not to exceed 25 mph), and have four wheels.

In addition, DMV says that registering a golf cart for street use is optional and the operation of golf carts on roadways is subject to local regulations.

Read more at this Slate link.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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