Golf carts are not just a means of transportation but they contribute positively to the game of golf by speeding up the game. But golf carts have out grown golf courses and are the catalyst to the surging electric vehicle industry.
Golf carts are now the most popular neighborhood vehicles and are suitable for short-distances and are more eco-friendly than the available alternatives. Over the last few years, golf carts are no longer limited to the sport of golf.
According to Allied Market Research, the global golf cart market is expected to hit $1.79 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 3.9% from 2021 to 2028. Rise in inclination toward solar-powered golf carts and strict government rules toward vehicle emission drive the market growth. Moreover, the inclination of customers to use electric golf carts as a mode of transportation for short distances has increased their demand.
Impact of Covid-19 on the Golf Cart Industry
The Covid-19 outbreak took a toll on businesses across the globe and the golf cart industry was not spared. The rapid spread of the virus across North America, Asia, and European countries led to nationwide lockdowns and a temporary closure of production facilities to curb the further spread. Such halt in production hampered the market.
However, with the proper precautions, social distancing norms, and safety precautions the sport of golf did surprisingly well and even grew during the Covid-19 pandemic. For golf lovers, the pandemic was the perfect excuse to play more golf. Many non-golfers who needed an outdoor activity took up the game. Such increased popularity of golf favored the golf cart industry during the pandemic. During the pandemic, television audiences increased significantly for televised golf events.
Advent of New Technologies
The emergence of novel technologies transformed the golf industry. Over the last few years, golf cart manufacturers integrated several new technologies into the traditional golf cart designs to attract the attention of tech-savvy consumers. From robotic carts to self-driving pushcarts, the golf cart market witnessed several new trends. Here are some of the most disrupting trends:
Robotic Golf Carts
A few years ago, robo-golf carts would have sounded too good to be true. However, a few industry players focused on integrating state-of-the-art technologies into conventional golf carts. Recently, Disney launched Robo-Cart, a next-generation golf cart that uses GPS and Bluetooth technology to carry clubs across the course. The cart would work through a small transmitter that golfers can attach to their pockets or belts and it would follow them wherever they go.
Self-Driving Push Carts
Even during pre-pandemic, self-driving golf carts gained the attention of golfers as they improved the overall social experience. Thus, post-pandemic, self-driving carts would witness increased demand. These carts have a sensor that enables golfers to track their equipment.
Solar Golf Carts
Although golf is not often considered an eco-friendly sport due to lawn maintenance, the adoption of solar energy has made the sport just a little bit greener. Carts that uses solar energy for its power supply conserves energy and gains a tax credit from the government. Moreover, solar companies have developed peel and stick solar charging systems that are widely used on golf carts as they offer around 33% additional range between recharges and extend the battery by 25-50%.
Miniature Golf Cart
Instead of driving a four-wheel golf cart, the miniature, two-wheeler golf cart offers far better flexibility. These carts offer bag carriers and scorecard holders. Furthermore, these vehicles have low-pressure tires that enable them to travel gently on the course and reduces damage to turf.
The Future of Electric Vehicles
While Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle industry, very soon they will only be one of the many electric automobile manufacturers. But a big part of the future of EVs lies with golf carts, Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs) and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs).
For short distances around college campuses or universities, golf carts are more suitable than cars as they are noise-free and contribute less to air pollution. More importantly, they are quite affordable and offer pedestrian safety. They are perfect for short distance, neighborhood transportation. Many communities around North America are being designed to incorporate NEVs as a primary means of local transportation.
This is why EVs are rapidly replacing the traditional, full-size, combustion-powered vehicles in metro cities, especially in congested parts of cities. They are also beginning to replace delivery vehicles. Large vehicles and trucks are difficult to navigate and troublesome to part in narrow streets, the golf carts offer a perfect solution. Moreover, golf carts are easy to navigate and park and their performance does not decline in continuous stop/start environments.
To Sum It Up
The Covid-19 pandemic created a huge problem for global business but outside of supply chain challenges it had a positive impact on golf carts. The pandemic offered an opportunity for new participants to enjoy the sport and OEMs used this time to develop new technologies.
The integration of robotics, solar panels, and autonomous technology has disrupted the golf cart industry. Several golf cart manufacturing companies have integrated touchscreen tablets, GPS tracking, and 3D maps of the course to offer a new level of convenience to golfers.
The popularity of electric golf carts has surged over the last few years. The declining rates of Li-ion batteries are expected to cut down the overall cost of electric golf carts. Several automotive companies consider electric golf carts as the future of electric vehicles for short-distance transportation.
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Swamini Kulkarni holds a bachelor’s degree in Instrumentation and control engineering from Pune University and works as a content writer at Allied Market Research. She is deeply fascinated by the impact of technology on human life and loves to talk about science and mythology. When she is not glued to the computer, she loves to read, travel and daydream about her areas of interest.