Over the last several years, design innovations have transformed the simple golf cart into an electric maintenance vehicle widely used on college campuses, resorts, and outdoor venues. And an increasing number of people use their street-legal golf cart, also known as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle or NEV, in place of a car.
In this post, we’ll address common questions about buying an electric maintenance vehicle or street legal golf cart. Including:
- What’s the difference between a golf cart, and a NEV or LSV?
- How far can an electric maintenance vehicle or golf cart go on a single charge?
- How long do the batteries last?
- Buying a used versus new electric vehicle
- Additional factors to consider before you buy
What’s the difference between a golf cart and a NEV / LSV?
There are two main things that distinguish a golf cart from a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV), sometimes referred to as a Low-Speed Vehicle or LSV:
- The maximum speed of a golf cart is 15mph.
- An NEV / LSV must go 25mph or more.
- An NEV has headlights, turn signals, mirrors, seat belts, and even a VIN number.
- An NEV / LSV can be operated on streets with a posted speed limit of 35mph or less.
Read the California DMV’s definition of a golf cart versus an NEV or LSV.
At TMHNC we carry Polaris GEM vehicles including street-legal golf carts and budget-friendly electric alternatives to traditional utility vehicles. These quiet, low-emission vehicles are ideal for college campuses, security patrol, resorts, or any type of business where the vehicle needs to cross a public street.
Don't take the chance of using a non-street legal vehicle on a public road. If there's an accident, the consequences are very unpleasant!
How far can a street legal electric vehicle go on one charge?
On average, an electric maintenance vehicle or golf cart can go 40 miles on a single charge (this assumes a 48-volt system with eight 6v batteries). You can increase this range up to 80 miles by driving flat and level surfaces and not towing. Upgrades such as lithium ion batteries and even solar panels further extend a vehicle's range.
How long do the batteries take to charge?
It takes six to eight hours to recharge a vehicle that’s completely dead using a standard 110-volt outlet. The fast-charge option from Polaris GEM reduces the charging time to as little as one hour when used at public charging stations.
Buying a New Vs. Used Electric Golf Cart or Utility Vehicle
Batteries are the main thing to be concerned with when buying used electric equipment. They can last up to eight years if properly cared for, but only two or three years if they’ve been ignored. A decent set of replacement batteries will run about $1,500+.
If you choose to buy a used electric golf cart or utility vehicle, ask about the battery history and be sure to get a written warranty. Review the warranty carefully and buy from a reputable seller.
Other factors to consider:
- How many seats do you need? The street-legal Polaris GEMs can transport from two up to six passengers depending on the model.
- Do you need to move cargo? Depending on the model, an electric maintenance vehicle can handle up to 1,400 lbs.
- View our inventory of electric golf carts and maintenance vehicles
- Polaris GEM Electric vehicle FAQs