First the Model S broke the mold for electric vehicles. Then it broke a roof-strength testing machine, or at least overwhelmed it. Now it has broken a dynamometer. But none of this derring-do makes Tesla the future of electric vehicles. No, for a peek at the future, you should avert your eyes from Tesla and focus on the other end of the EV spectrum: golf carts.
The meek shall inherit the Earth. So says Harvard think tanker Tom Bartman. He’s already opined that Tesla will never scale up like other automakers, and now he says golf carts, not Teslas, represent our electric future. In his first piece, the one about Tesla failing to scale, he neglects to mention the Gigafactory. And in this latter piece, about golf carts stealing the show, he neglects to mention NHTSA regulations on golf carts and their fancier brethren called neighborhood electric vehicles.
Bartman is now a repeat gold medalist in the 200-meter avoid-the-elephant-in-the-room.
Hey, In some parts of the world, e-carts are indeed becoming de rigeur for quick errands — an efficient and safe alternative to raspy rickshaws, raspy mopeds, raspy scooters and poopy livestock. These nominal “cars” just might make it big. But in developed nations with developed restrictions on vehicular transport, they’ll always be golf carts. That is, unless they grow crashworthy bodies, airbags, vehicle-to-vehicle awareness, stuff like that. In other words, become cars.
The future of EVs certainly isn’t the P85D or Model X. Those represent the extreme end of the EV spectrum where super-heroism wins kudos. But the future isn’t golf carts either. Those represent the extreme OTHER end of the spectrum where merely getting a few bushels of potatoes across town without buying gas wins kudos.
The future lies in the middle, with a widely-affordable, safe, street-legal, compellingly-spiffy electric car that won’t break any dynamometers, but will do much more than merely transport mangoes (Sri Lanka) or your fat ass (USA).
It’s set to bow in concept form next year, with a familiar “T” logo on its nose.