We made it! Time for another end-of-the-week rulebreaking session. Today we’re looking at compact electric vehicles – really compact electric vehicles. But first let’s settle up on our wagons from yesterday:
Zzzz… Huh? What? Oh, sorry, I dozed off there. You voted for the Camry. That’s nice.
All right. So last week, my Friday special involved motor scooters, and there was some dissent in the ranks about two-wheeled vehicles being featured here. “Just for that,” I said to my colleagues here, “next Friday I’m gonna do golf carts.” I am a man of my word. You want four wheels? Here you go.
Yamaha Sun Cruiser – $3,700
Engine/drivetrain: Electric motor, single-speed gear reduction, RWD
Location: Woodburn, OR
Odometer reading: Ha!
Runs/drives? Seems to
If I’m not mistaken, this is the same model of golf cart that our co-founder Jason Torchinsky was so taken with in the pits at Pebble Beach. These appear to have been available as either electric- or gas-powered, and I imagine the one Torch saw was gas. This one’s electric.
Those headlights up high are its best styling feature, that’s for sure. And that little grille between them sort of makes that whole upper panel look like a half-scale first-generation Chevy Cavalier front clip. And that’s not a knock – I’m a J-car fan.
Controls are minimal: just a steering wheel, two pedals, and a lever to select forward or reverse. Because this cart has full lights and turn signals, there is a chance it might be street-legal in some areas. But maybe not; no mention is made of its top speed, and a minimum speed is required in most places in order to drive a cart on the street.
If it is street-legal, you can drive it to the supermarket, and carry your groceries home in the frunk. How cute is that?
Western Country Golf Cart – $4,000
Engine/drivetrain: Electric motor, single-speed gear reduction, RWD
Location: Rancho Mirage, CA
Odometer reading: Ain’t got one
Want something a little more upscale? Head to the Palm Springs area, where golf carts are common modes of transportation. There you’ll find this sweet Western golf cart, which features everything needed to make it street-legal, plus a stereo system and an air conditioner on the roof.
Even better, this cart has been modified to reach a blistering 21 miles an hour. Yes, that’s right – you can just barely break the speed limit in a school zone in this baby.
It’s got snazzy alloy wheels too, and a frunk of its own, the ad says. And personally, I like the color; were I to live in a place where I could use a golf cart to get around, I wouldn’t want a boring old white one.
Bonus points for it looking kinda like a post-facelift Geo Storm from the front, too.
Everyone keeps saying we need small affordable EVs, but they’re here already. Here are two of them. You just have to live in a place where they make sense as transportation. And I suppose it helps to be retired, so you’re not in a hurry. Which one would you choose?
(Image credits – Craigslist sellers)
I actually like ’em both, but the Yamaha’s full windshield, great period teal-and-white paint (though Bob’s maroon-and-tan Western looks fine too) and that front end sold me. Mark sees an early Cavalier while to me it’s an Omni 024 without the grille split – either way, it works, and it’s funky. The Western’s creature comforts and those sweet wheels are nice, but the Yamaha has it.
Both of these have wheels that are FAR better than what I see on most fancy golf carts (and boat trailers!) which are the black-and-chrome FUEL style, except worse because they’re tiny.
Faster, sportier, better equipped, Western country all the way. I think it looks better too.
If I’m getting one of these it’s going to be a paddock vehicle. That means smaller and lighter is better. I’m getting the Yamaha and filling the front with tires when it’s changing time. Hope I can see over the open hood!
AC + side curtains=Florida ready! Western for the South part of the country!
I voted Yamaha because I like motorcycle brands and I need to hit the Adidas outlet in Woodburn.
My vote goes to the Yamaha… it has a full *untinted* windshield and rear window. Plus, A/C in an electric golf cart with no doors is stupid.
WHY does the Western have a tinted half windshield? Is there that much glare from the hood? I don’t get it.
Also: Air conditioner, but not enough enclosure to contain it. This is a lifestyle I do not understand. (Yes, I AM from the Midwest.)
Half tinted windshield acts like sunglasses when you need it, folds out of the way when you don’t. It does work. Air conditioning is unfathomable.
People use them around here like they’re going for boat rides around the neighborhood. Beverages and all.
In my work on various Hollywood studio lots, I’ve spent a fair amount of time pootling around in golf carts, mainly Yamaha or E-Z-Go ones. Don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of a Western. Anyway, I like both of these, but I bemoan the lack of a back seat (I’ve always driven four-holers). But though I really like the color of the red one, and I’m… shall we say… intrigued by its air conditioner, I’m gonna go with the Yamaha. It’s a spiffy aesthetic, and I can use the saved $300 to give it a halfway okay stereo (I already have a couple spare head units in my garage). I don’t see the point of the extra weight of the AC unit if all it can do is breathe a cool breath on the top of my brow before the utter lack of side doors and windows dissipate the effect away completely.
The air conditioning is one of the stupidest options I’ve ever seen added to any vehicle, ever. And I knew someone who replaced all the aluminium on the bus they were living in with tongue and groove then sold the metal for beer money.
Retiring in March and my name’s Bob, so that Western has my name on it. Literally. Gotta get me some plaid pants I can belt up under my armpits, though
No. What? No.
I could like… buy a car for that. A whole car, with doors and everything.
But who’s gonna fly it, kid?!
Yamaha: baby got frunk! Plus, I like the weird split-face look.
If I’m getting a golf cart, I’m gonna do something stupid to it, like put a LTR-450 motor in the back.
That being said, I guess I’ll take the red one.
During a night of porch beers with some buddies, we found a golfcart with a snowmobile engine for about $450. Buddy said it would do 50 mph and had more oomph but he was afraid to take it any faster. We called him the next morning but it was already sold. Probably for the best.
The Yamaha looks like the bastard love child of the Multipla, CP.
I was at a golf tournament once where they had those Yamahas, The frunks were filled with ice and adult beverages. Good times.
Newer battery and Frunk! Yamaha all the way.
You had me at air conditioner
With open sides like that, I don’t see how the AC is going to do anything but turn battery capacity into noise.
Voted Yamaha for the full front and back window, also who can resist that green and white combo?
Amazing how these cost more than the actual cars usually posted here.
I’m sure they are more reliable too
The Western…just look at the a e s t h e t i c s ! That glorious maroon, the wood dash, tan seat accents…she’s a beaut! I’d love to zip around the neighborhood cranking 80s bangers with that sweet stereo.
With socks and sandals and a golf cap of course
I’d rather go for the tackiest visor I can find and a bright pink polo, but we’re definitely on the same page. PANAMA!!! PANAMUhhhhhh!!!
The front of the Yamaha looks the rear end of a Saab 900. Louvres included. I think that gives it an automatic win.
The Western, if I am going to golfing:
1.) I drink, I need music
2.) AC when I am passed out on the 10th green after my 12th Bacardi and Coke.
Need a golfing buddy?
It looks like the Yamaha also has a stereo. And from the CL ad, it has “forced air duct on roof”! I mean, I don’t know what the hell that is supposed to do, but the Western doesn’t have it!
Plus that frunk on the Yamaha looks like it could ice down a case of beer. Just enough to get through the front nine! No pics of the Western’s supposed frunk.
Also note the arm rest/bar separating the two seats on the Yamaha. I like the idea of keeping my drunken golf buddy on his side of the cart.
Yamaha wins for me.
I also thought it looked like the Yamaha has something going on in the roof. A basic fan would be fine.