They make the point that golf carts might just be the future of energy-efficient and safe transpotation, at least for the growing numbers of senior citizens.
The photo to the left was taken by my wife, Vi, at a golf-cart parade here in The Villages. Yes, there is a golf cart somewhere under that Christmas tree!
There are several interesting photos in the linked story in WIRED.
The story makes it appear that most golf carts here are "tricked-out" and sell for $10,000 or more. The photos in the magazine show carts that look like classic cars or are illegally geared to go above the legal limit of 20 MPH. The truth is that most of us drive pretty-much "plain vanilla" golf carts. Ours for example, is a 2001 that served a year or two at a golf course and was rebuilt for us in 2003, with an added rear seat, and cost us about $4,500.
Here is a selection from the WIRED story:
It's 9 am in the Villages—practically midday for the chipper residents who often rise at four—as I drive my LC3 down to the Colony Cottage. I'm due for a quick primer in pickleball—sort of a Ping-Pong/tennis hybrid. I arrive to find dozens of fit retirees dashing around the courts, the ubiquitous row of shiny EVs [Electric Vehicles] parked outside.
There will be more carts fighting for space here soon. While the rest of the country wallows in the recession, homes are still being built and sold in the Villages at a rapid clip. The population of the community is expected to hit 100,000 by 2014.
The Villages embodies what environmentalists have been waiting decades for—a glossy future powered by electric vehicles. The slightly messy reality, though, is that it's not powered by pristine futuremobiles but by gaudy, overclocked golf carts.
But the lesson of the Villages isn't just about the vehicles we're driving—it's about where we're driving them. The future of transportation should be focused on the quick jaunts that make up most of our day-to-day driving.
The Villages is for people who've lived long enough to know that what they want now is a warm breeze in a quiet, open ride—going fast enough to hit both the golf course and the Walmart in the same afternoon but slow enough to take in the scenery along the way.
As my octogenarian opponent deftly whacks the pickleball past my reach, I look up to catch a glimpse of the future on the horizon. It's a gray-haired guy with a backward cap, cruising in his cart past a brand-new community center. A golden retriever stands on the passenger seat, tail wagging, and an American flag is displayed proudly right where the gas tank should be.