And they are doing so to a far greater extent than most people realize. Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and low-speed vehicles (LSVs) have brought golf carts out of golf courses and onto city streets. And they are making a bigger impact on the transportation industry than other types of electric cars are, including those designed by Tesla Motors.
Global Golf Cart Market 2015-2019
In January 2015, Technavio, one of the top technology research and advisory firms in the world, released a new report titled Global Golf Cart Market 2015-2019. The report details the market and what to expect from it in the immediate future. A few of the factors for the increased vitality of the golf cart market that are presented in the report are improved economic conditions and the evolution of consumer lifestyles.
“As income levels increase worldwide, participation in golf is also increasing, which is affecting the popularity of the game,” said Faisal Ghaus, the vice president of TechNavio. “Moreover, the game has seen a marked increase in participation from both the genders.”
Ghaus also commented on the technology aspect of the golf cart market, such as the development of more efficient, longer-lasting batteries. “With the improved features and advantages of lithium-ion batteries, vendors are increasingly using them in newer models of golf carts, which is expected to boost the overall market growth,” he proclaimed.
Other factors leading to growth in the market include the introduction of solar-powered golf carts and other technology, a rise in consumer confidence and the emergence of strong economies in China and India. Also, golf has been slated for inclusion in the 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Brazil.
The report also brought to light a few challenges facing the market for new golf carts, and one of the largest obstacles is a lack of infrastructure for parking and charging them. Despite these challenges, Technavio predicts the market will grow by 4.29 percent through 2019.
Electric Vehicles Market – Global Industry Analysis
A second report developed, compiled and analyzed by Transparency Market Research, a U.S.-based research and consulting firm, is also making waves in the golf cart industry. According to this report, Electric Vehicles Market (on-road) (hybrid, plug-in and battery) – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013-2019, the global market for electric vehicles is expected to grow as consumers around the world seek to mitigate fuel expenses.
Transparency Market Research found that electric vehicles of all sorts were rapidly increasing in popularity because of the rising trend to embrace sustainable energy and address problems with climate change and air quality. Also, the rising cost of fossil fuels is pushing people toward electric vehicles, including NEVs and LSVs, regardless of whether they have environmental motivations or not.
In the consumer market, electric vehicles provide a broad range of benefits over those powered by fossil fuels. A few of these advantages are that they produce no harmful emissions, offer enhanced energy efficiency and are relatively inexpensive to operate and maintain.
Although this report does not focus on golf carts alone, it breaks down electric cars into several categories and provides a detailed analysis of each category. The three classes of electric vehicles are full-size automobiles, NEVs, and golf carts. And while NEVs and golf carts share many common characteristics, the classifications are demarcated on the basis of whether they were designed specifically for golf courses or for city streets.
The $83 Billion Global Electric Car Market
From the perspective of revenue for manufacturers, distributors and dealers, the global market for electric vehicles was valued at more than $83.5 billion in 2012. And North America handles a 38.3 percent share of the total. Furthermore, global value continues to rise each year as government organizations around the world embrace initiatives to promote alternative transportation.
Although the market is expanding, it is facing a few challenges. However, these are being overcome by new advances in technology. For instance, nanotechnology has recently been introduced to lithium-ion batteries to improve the efficiency of transferring energy to motors and to increase storage capacity. Research within the industry is booming, and new partnerships have formed with the goal of speeding advancements in performance and lowering production costs.
Golf Carts: The Future of Electric Vehicles
A recent article by Thomas Bartman, a member of the Harvard Business School think tank Forum for Growth and Innovation, is also shedding light on the future of the global golf cart industry. The article, The Future of Electric Vehicles Is Golf Carts, Not Tesla, was published in May 2015 by the Harvard Business Review. The report maintains that golf carts are making a much larger impression on the market than Tesla Motors is. This market domination is occurring, despite all of the media centered on the high-tech manufacturer.
According to Bartman’s essay, NEVs and LSVs are the future of electric transportation in the United States and around the world. The purpose of the essay was to show that golf carts are disrupting the traditional automotive industry more than Tesla is. One of the biggest reasons for this is the price point. A car from Tesla costs upwards of $100,000 to own, but it is possible to buy a brand new NEV for $8,000 or less.
While Tesla cars compete with traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles, they are not as purpose-oriented as golf carts are. NEVs and LSVs are made to provide consumers with affordable, personal transportation for neighborhoods and surrounding local areas. And fleets of these cars operated by commercial enterprises to serve as public transportation may be in the immediate future of most major cities.
Tesla has offered no response to this essay despite being specifically asked by members of the press, which appears to be because they don’t quite know what to say. However, industry insiders believe that it is only a matter of time before the golf cart market skyrockets.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will probably be a thing that happens, especially in urban areas,” said John O’Dell, senior editor at Edmunds.com.