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Old 6th September 2015, 22:02   #1
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Default Using a Golf Cart on public roads

Golf Cart on Road - Advice Requested

( Mods - had this post on another golf cart thread, which was somewhat unrelated and old, perhaps that's why it did not get any responses hence creating a new thread)

I have been toying with the idea of using a Golf Cart as a mode of transport on normal roads and request BHPians advice to figure out its viability.

First a little bit of history and facts of why the idea came up:

1. In my hometown Ichalkaranji (near Kolhapur), one can cover the entire city within a radius of not more than 5 - 7 km therefore the maximum distance even if one were to go from one end to the other and back for each trip will not be more than 20-25 km.

2. The average local commute is not more than 10 km per day per person; multiple short trips every day.

3. Majority of people there, including yours truly when I am there, use 2-wheelers for obvious reasons; ease of use, quick, fuel efficient, most trips are 1 person only, etc. Therefore, using a car for normal commute is not a very practical option - in fact, even a lot of people who have cars, prefer to use 2-wheelers for local commutes and cars are used only for long distance or more than 2 passengers.

So here is my Idea:

Use a golf cart instead of a 2-wheeler for transport. Maybe not for all commutes but for most of the commutes. This is largely focused as an upgrade (safety wise) for the elder (my parents) generation, for whom learning how to drive a car at this age will be difficult, if not impossible and will not be worth it just for the local commute.

This will initially have to be a used cart as a new one will be as expensive as a car and defeat the purpose; capex needs to be as close to a 2-wheeler as possible (~ 50k).

A Golf cart has the following advantages over 2-wheelers:

1. Safety. 4 wheels therefore no need to balance, etc. and better over potholes than 2-wheelers.
2. Protects from weather - Rain & Sun. Not so much from cold wind but still better than 2-wheeler
3. Much easier for old people to get in & out (as passenger) compared to a 2-wheeler
4. No need for people (especially older people) to have a drastic learning curve to learn how to drive a car. Golf cart is easier to drive. Open on all sides (therefore better judgement of distances similar to a 2-wheeler), no hassle of gear / clutch etc.
5. Can seat 4 people instead of 2 and more comfortably
6. Eco-friendly (I know not very relevant due the polluting elsewhere logic, but for whatever it is worth).

Other points:

7. Range is not an issue if it can cover a 50-km distance per charge, perhaps even 40 will do.
8. Most houses there are not high-rises and therefore charging point on ground floor not an issue.
9. Golf Cart normally have headlights. Indicators & horn can be added.
10. Hopefully, damage / theft risk (it being completely open) should be negligible but is still a genuine risk.
11. Using a REVA or similar EV defeats the purpose - expensive, not as easy to drive, etc.

With this background, I would like your thoughts on the following specific points, especially people owning Reva or other street legal EVs:

1. Has anyone tried using a Golf Cart on normal roads.

2. If I plan to use a Golf Cart on road, does it needs to be registered with RTO? I seem to remember any electric vehicle with more than a certain wattage motor needs to be. If yes, then what category will they register it under and are there any specifications that the vehicle needs to fulfill (crash, etc.)?

3. What about Own Damage (OD) & Third Party (TP) insurance, etc.? Is it available easily or will insurance companies create an issue?

4. Does a person need a driving license to drive such EVs on road? If yes and if it needs to be a car license, will defeat the purpose largely.

5. Will the ground clearance of 125-175 mm be an issue for potholes / speed breakers?

6. What is the normal life of a Golf Cart battery? How much does the range deteriorate? Even it the range falls from the claimed 80-km per charge to 40-50 km per charge, it should not be a problem. How much will it cost.

7. Also, I understand that the original (Trojan is the most used) batteries are very expensive. Are there any indigenous products from Exide, Amara Raja, etc. which can be used instead. A wild idea I have - why not create an array of batteries using locally available batteries (distilled water or dry for ease of use) perhaps those for inverters which are high power instead of car batteries? Is it possible or am I day-dreaming too much?

8. Does anyone know anybody who is looking to sell 2nd hand golf carts? I can be the test subject as long as the upfront capex is not very high.

If this experiment becomes successful, would also like to put a solar panel on the roof, but lets leave that for later.

Thanks.

Ashish

Last edited by GTO : 7th September 2015 at 13:27. Reason: Removing special characters that were there because of cut-copy-paste from MS word
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Old 7th September 2015, 10:58   #2
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Default re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

Good thinking!
However please consider the following points, extrapolating your ideas:
1) Why do you think people drive two wheelers? Is it because it is cheap? I don't really think so. Used cars are available at all budgets.
2) Why do you think electric cars / electric two wheelers hasn't really taken off yet? Is it because it is costly? Again I don't think so, because after FAME schemes, these days a lot of subsidies are on offer. Doubtful? Check out the prices at Hero electric.

My belief is that, people are afraid of the niggles associated with electric vehicles. Range problems, charging infrastructure, battery replacement costs, uncertain A.S.S etc turn people off, and for the sake of peace of mind, people go to well established cars / two wheelers. All EVs have same concerns.
Now, coming to two-wheelers - I do not think anybody will want to replace their two wheeler with a car. They use two wheeler because it is easy to use. An EV like a Golf cart will still ride like a car (by means of dimensions).

Reg RTO registration - I do not think it is needed. Have you seen any golf cart with number plate? And roads have all crazy types of transport. Which authority approves of bullock carts, horse carts, 3 wheeled cycle carriers?

Having said that, safety being primary concern, a word of caution: golf cart isn't a safe mode of transport, by any definition. Such EVs are used in parks etc just to ferry around people who are tired to walk. Do not attempt to use them on traffic!!
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Old 7th September 2015, 11:24   #3
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Default re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

I think, the golf cart's poor cousin will suit your needs as well.

Name:  ElectricRickshaw14Passanger.jpg
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  • Does not have any RTO registration issues AFAIK.
  • Can be put out on rent when not in use by the family.
  • Eco friendly.
  • Low upfront cost - should be around 70-80k for a new one.
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Old 7th September 2015, 12:45   #4
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Default re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

Just a small query, why don't you look at a used Nano. It should be available for 80-100k INR and would fit your needs perfectly. Plus it will be supremely more comfortable than a golf cart and you wouldn't need to worry about it getting stolen Just my 2 cents
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Old 7th September 2015, 12:57   #5
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Default re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

To ply on public road, you need a RTO registration. RTO won't register any vehicle unless it is approved for CMVR i.e. central motor vehicle rules. No Golf-cart will be there in the approved vehicles list, hence RTO can not register.

CMVR defines many rules - e.g. lighting, braking, crash-worthiness, exhaust emissions... which are of interest to drivers as well as other road users. Golf carts are meant for usage on golf courses and not on public roads !
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Old 7th September 2015, 12:57   #6
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Default re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
I think, the golf cart's poor cousin will suit your needs as well.
This looks suspiciously close to an autoriksha. So unless the golf cart idea materializes, the choices are cycle-bike/scooter-autoriksha-car.
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Old 7th September 2015, 13:33   #7
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Default Re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

For those interested in golf carts, here's the main thread (Golf cart: which brand? what price? where to buy?).

@ Aashishnb - You are looking at one big hassle in terms of permissions, maintenance etc. I don't think it'll be cheaper in the longer run either. If very keen on this kind of vehicle, why don't you buy an e-rickshaw? Related Thread.

My recommendation:

1. If you want an easy to ride vehicle, buy an automatic (or electric) scooter.

2. Used Tata Nano / 800 / Alto.
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Old 7th September 2015, 13:54   #8
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Default Re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
For those interested in golf carts, here's the main thread (Golf cart: which brand? what price? where to buy?).

@ Aashishnb - You are looking at one big hassle in terms of permissions, maintenance etc. I don't think it'll be cheaper in the longer run either. If very keen on this kind of vehicle, why don't you buy an e-rickshaw? Related Thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
I think, the golf cart's poor cousin will suit your needs as well.
I would HIGHLY recommend you not to buy an e-rickshaw. I have seen and heard multiple cases where accidents have been caused just because of the bad structure of the e-rickshaw. One of the cases even turned fatal. There are thousands of them roaming in around in our city, and having commuted for small errands in these vehicles, I would definitely advise you to not buy them. Trust me, they are so unsafe. The ride is very bumpy. And, the brakes! I have seen one of these skid very badly right in front of my eyes. Believe it not, one rider tried to push it to its top speed and one of the wheels came off! I will try and hunt down the pic where it shows an e-rickshaw after if had faced a little accident. You would have a hard time believing that such a small crash crumpled down the whole thing.

How about a Nano AMT, if by any ways you can stretch your budget? It's very easy to drive. I don't think your parents would face a problem commuting in it.

Happy Shopping!

Cheers,
Neel

Last edited by petrolhead_neel : 7th September 2015 at 14:13.
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Old 9th September 2015, 17:16   #9
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Default Re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
I think, the golf cart's poor cousin will suit your needs as well.

Does not have any RTO registration issues AFAIK.
  • Can be put out on rent when not in use by the family.
  • Eco friendly.
  • Low upfront cost - should be around 70-80k for a new one.
DryIce - This is a clear NO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravindra M View Post
To ply on public road, you need a RTO registration. RTO won't register any vehicle unless it is approved for CMVR i.e. central motor vehicle rules. No Golf-cart will be there in the approved vehicles list, hence RTO can not register.

CMVR defines many rules - e.g. lighting, braking, crash-worthiness, exhaust emissions... which are of interest to drivers as well as other road users. Golf carts are meant for usage on golf courses and not on public roads !
This is the key issue - makes the whole idea a non-starter.
Unless, of course, someone has registered a 'street-legal' (as it is called abroad) of the golf carts with the CMVR. Any idea where I can find a list of all vehicles registered with CMVR?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
For those interested in golf carts, here's the main thread (Golf cart: which brand? what price? where to buy?).

@ Aashishnb - You are looking at one big hassle in terms of permissions, maintenance etc. I don't think it'll be cheaper in the longer run either. If very keen on this kind of vehicle, why don't you buy an e-rickshaw? Related Thread.

My recommendation:

1. If you want an easy to ride vehicle, buy an automatic (or electric) scooter.

2. Used Tata Nano / 800 / Alto.
We currently use an automatic scooter. In fact, parents don't drive any manual transmission 2-wheeler either.

I agree permissions is going to be the real challenge. Maintenance, I am not that worried about as average daily running will be less than 5-10 km. Perhaps a reason why I am not even contemplating a new golf cart that will set us back by 5+ lakhs.

I did post it in the Golf Course thread but there was no response for exactly a year now, so created a new thread. Sorry for the re-creation, but looking at the responses, did serve a purpose as so many replied :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsquared View Post
Just a small query, why don't you look at a used Nano. It should be available for 80-100k INR and would fit your needs perfectly. Plus it will be supremely more comfortable than a golf cart and you wouldn't need to worry about it getting stolen Just my 2 cents
Quote:
Originally Posted by petrolhead_neel View Post
I would HIGHLY recommend you not to buy an e-rickshaw. I have seen and heard multiple cases where accidents have been caused just because of the bad structure of the e-rickshaw. One of the cases even turned fatal. There are thousands of them roaming in around in our city, and having commuted for small errands in these vehicles, I would definitely advise you to not buy them. Trust me, they are so unsafe. The ride is very bumpy. And, the brakes! I have seen one of these skid very badly right in front of my eyes. Believe it not, one rider tried to push it to its top speed and one of the wheels came off! I will try and hunt down the pic where it shows an e-rickshaw after if had faced a little accident. You would have a hard time believing that such a small crash crumpled down the whole thing.

How about a Nano AMT, if by any ways you can stretch your budget? It's very easy to drive. I don't think your parents would face a problem commuting in it.

Happy Shopping!

Cheers,
Neel
Neel, Rsquared & GTO,
It is not the pricing but the learning curve required to drive a car. My parents are not going to do it now - therefore no license - therefore no car. The primary reason for thinking about this is - much less cumbersome to learn compared to a 'full' car (if you know what I mean).

Of course, the currently used option - hiring a car (largely done for longer rides), is always there.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts & suggestions.
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Old 10th September 2015, 07:11   #10
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Default Re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

My apartments have golf carts for the lazy and those few people who actually need these. Let me start by saying that they are horribly bumpy even on the well paved sections. Better get a used Reva IMO. It's the most Golf Cart-ish car you can buy.

Last edited by Doge : 10th September 2015 at 07:12.
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Old 10th September 2015, 17:38   #11
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Default Re: Using a Golf Cart on public roads

Quote:
Originally Posted by aashishnb View Post
This is the key issue - makes the whole idea a non-starter.
Unless, of course, someone has registered a 'street-legal' (as it is called abroad) of the golf carts with the CMVR. Any idea where I can find a list of all vehicles registered with CMVR?
Every RTO has this notification listing all the vehicles which can be registered. This circular / notification / whatever it is called, is updated periodically from their "central command".

You may get access to it from some influential person named agents, or maybe via RTI channel. Never tried it.
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