Here’s how and why cars and trucks will be replaced with … golf carts?

There hasn’t been a better year for car sales in about a decade, but some experts see change on the horizon with electric vehicles, such as golf carts.

That’s right. We said golf carts – and all-terrain vehicles.

“When people think of electric vehicles, they think of Tesla,” writes Thomas Bartman in Harvard Business Review. “But if you want to see the future of EVs it’s important to look [beyond automakers].”

Photo: Tesla Model E electric sedan.
Tesla Model E electric sedan.

“There are two categories of disruptive EVs: low-speed electric vehicles and electric utility vehicles,” he writes, including vehicles built on platforms mostly used for golf carts and ATVs.

“For short trips around a development, [low-speed EVs] are actually more desirable than cars; they don’t create tailpipe or noise pollution; they’re slow, increasing pedestrian safety, and they’re cheap to buy and charge. Range and comfort limitations aren’t important factors because they’re only used for short trips in good weather. Full-size cars would be overkill in applications like this.”

But golfing communities, college campuses and residential developments aren’t the only places such low-impact vehicles may be useful, Bartman suggests. “Small-format EUVs are increasingly replacing full-size combustion-powered delivery vehicles in congested cities.”

And imagine what they could mean for downtown and highway automobile traffic.


Before you scoff at the prospect of golf cars zipping around our roadways, consider this.

Bartman compares today’s auto industry to sailing ships of the past, which gradually were replaced by steam vessels as that technology developed from its initial limited uses.

“We’re witnessing a similar pattern develop in low-speed EVs and EUVs,” Bartman writes.

“Early generations of low-speed EVs were basically golf carts that could be driven on public roads. [But] manufacturers have added features like hard doors, stereos, even heaters and defrosters,” he writes.

“These improvements don’t seem like much compared to the features of traditional automobiles … but each improvement brings the disruptive product closer to the minimum performance requirements of the least-demanding mainstream customers.”

And, perhaps, drivers that much closer to wanting golf carts or ATVs in their driveways instead of cars.

More Like This

Importance of maintaining your vehicle
October 13, 2022

Importance of maintaining your vehicle

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, or someone who has retired many vehicles over the years, you probably know that acquiring a new ride is just one step in the life of car ownership. Driving off the lot and into the…

Woman using vehicle safety features
September 25, 2019

Automated vehicle safety features reduce crashes, study says

Americans may not be ready for self-driving cars, but some related technology already is proving its value. Automated vehicle safety features make a “statistically significant” difference in the number of crashes, according to a study by the University of Michigan…

How to travel safer – home or away – on Memorial Day weekend
May 20, 2016

How to travel safer – home or away – on Memorial Day weekend

One in nine. That’s how many Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, May 26-30, according to AAA Travel. And nearly 90 percent of those will drive to their holiday destinations. That’s…