Golf carts are not the first vehicle you think of when you hear the word racecar. But one manufacturer is turning the industry on its heels by setting Guinness Book records for speed.
Even though the golf cart market has extended outside the sport, fast golf carts are extremely rare. Despite the advent of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and low-speed vehicles (LSVs), which are legal on most city streets. However, this will not stop Plum Quick Motors. The firm recently beat its previous speed record for golf carts by hitting 118 mph. But is this the world’s fastest golf cart?
Plum Quick Motors Sets the Bar
Plum Quick Motors is a family-operated business founded by Carson Steen and his two sons, Ricky, and Robby. The story goes that they were wondering how to take advantage of the new electric cart market. And they saw first hand, increase in demand by golfers for fast golf carts. Steen and his sons decided at that point to see just how far, or fast, they could go.
In 2012, Plum Quick Motors pulled together its team of top-notch designers and engineers to build the fastest golf cart. Around the same time, Robby contacted Guinness World Records. He began to petition them to open a new classification: the fastest golf cart.
The board of Guinness World Records was agreeable with Steen’s idea. As a result, a new category was introduced. Plum Quick Motors spent the next year developing the fastest electric golf cart. On October 4, 2013, it was taken to legendary Darlington Dragway in Hartsville, South Carolina, for speed trials.
Later that day, Plum Quick Motors made it official. The team was logged into the Guinness Book of World Records for obtaining a top speed of 103.65 mph in an electric golf cart. However, that was not enough to appease the Steens. They immediately set about to build a more powerful electric motor. One they could use to create an even faster golf cart.
A New Speed Record Is Set
Shortly after setting the world record, Robby Steen, his father, and brother laid out the plans for a new and improved golf cart. One that could accelerate much faster and reach a higher top speed. Other manufacturers soon joined in the race. To meet the standards of Guinness World Records, the Steens knew they would have to start with a traditional golf cart, and they chose a 2010 E-Z-GO to serve as their base model.
While building the new golf cart, Carson and Robby Steen were interviewed by a local newspaper that had picked up the story. When asked why they were undertaking such a task, Carson replied, “We’re just country folk. We are not smart enough to know what we can’t do”. He then followed up with a serious answer to the question. “We like to do things nobody else does,” he said.
Carson, Robby, and Rick estimate that 90 per cent of the EZGO golf cart was still stock after they finished working on it. It was originally built for the links, and when they purchased the cart, it was ready for 18 holes of golf and not much more. It even came with two bags of clubs, a golf ball washer, and extra golf tees.
Lithium-ion Batteries – the Key
Except for the 80 pounds of lead weights attached to the front bumper for improved stability and the racing safety harnesses for passengers, the additions and modifications the Steens made to the car were all underneath the body. One of these modifications was a bank of supercharged lithium-ion battery cells, and another was a high-performance motor custom built by the Steens. However, the part that genuinely turned this E-Z-GO into a racing beast was a high-amperage, high-voltage controller from Zilla.
When Robby Steen finally got the car on the track on October 31, 2014, he knew they had built a monster. After all, was said and done, the vehicle reached a top speed of 118.76 mph, hitting the quarter mile in 12.24 seconds. And giving them the title of the world’s fastest golf cart!
“It was a scary ride,” said Robby in an interview after breaking his record. “There was nothing around you to protect you.”
Is this the World’s Fastest Golf Cart?
According to Robby, he was only using 80 per cent of the batteries’ power when he hit 118 mph, and he is confident he could’ve gotten the golf cart up to 130 mph. The only thing stopping him was a lack of stability at such high speeds, and he was not prepared to give his life for the record at that moment. “It was more dangerous than people realized,” Robby stated matter-of-factly.
Carson knew exactly what his son was talking about and stood behind his decision to lay off the throttle. He had accompanied Robby on a test run earlier in the day that reached 95 mph. “I felt like my head was going to pop off,” he said in regards to the force of the acceleration.
Another golf cart manufacturer also tried to beat the record in 2014, but the driver couldn’t get his golf cart to go any faster than 97 mph.
Looking to the Future
Even though Robby Carson was concerned for his safety, the family is not ready to give up on their dreams of building the world’s fastest golf cart. They now have their sights on a model that can easily reach speeds of 130 mph to 150 mph, and their ultimate goal is to build a cart that can top out at 200 mph like a dragster.
For the golf cart dragster, the Steens will have to design a new body with a tubular frame. It will also need a roll cage to protect the driver. To reach speeds of 200 mph or higher, they plan to connect three motors to the drive train. And they will use a parachute to help with braking!
About the World’s Fastest Golf Cart Manufacturer: Plum Quick Motors
Carson Steen established Plum Quick Motors in 1981 with his two sons, Ricky, and Robby Steen. The company’s headquarters is in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Carson began operating an automotive garage when he was only 14 years old After getting married; he took a job at Springs Cotton Mills. Carson holds several patents, including one for an electric drive axle and the Plum Quick Motors, sells three primary motors: the Bandit, Executioner, and Assassin.
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