Golf Carts vs Nevs

Golf Carts Vs NEVs: what’s the difference?

NEV stands for Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, so they are specifically designed to be street legal golf carts, thus allowing them to be driven on city streets as the law permits.

Street laws around the world are being re-written to help cater to the increased demand for these types of vehicles, and golf cart communities are forming, too, with the idea that electric cars be the primary means of transportation.

As a general rule, NEVs and street legal golf carts can be driven on roads with speed limits not exceeding 35-45 miles per hour.

There are certain features that are necessary for an NEV to be street legal. These may include, but are not limited to, such things as:
Seat Belts
Windshield Wipers
Rear-View Mirrors
Turn Signals
Parking Brakes


If you’d like your electric car to be street legal, but would rather own a golf cart, you can always customize your golf cart to meet these safety standards. But in order for your vehicle to truly be street it must be properly insured.

To be safe, you will want to do your due diligence and check your local street laws to find out what they consider street legal within your jurisdiction.

Another question you may have is, “Why are golf carts and NEVs becoming so popular these days?”

Everybody has their own reasons, but two of the major reasons include eco-friendly consciousness and unstable gas prices.

In case you haven’t noticed, there seems to have been a campaign going on these past couple of years convincing people to go green.

Whether it be scare tactics from Al Gore’s, An Inconvenient Truth, or or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Earth-Day Special on MTV’s, Pimp My Ride, people are finding it necessary to be more eco-friendly these days.

As gas prices continue to reach new highs people begin to take action. Perhaps $4 gas was the price that crossed the line.

NEV, CitiCar

In fact, Neighborhood Electric Vehicles are not a new idea. During the height of the mid-70’s oil crisis a vehicle called the CitiCar made its debut for exactly the same reason, an alternative to outrageous gas prices.

nev citicar

And as you can see, this electric car is very 70’s.

The CitiCar had all the makings of a viable NEV by today’s standards, including a top speed of 30 mph and a battery life of up to 40 miles on a single charge.

In comparison, the GEM (Global Electric Motorcar) featured at the top of this page has a top speed of 25 mph and a battery life of 30 to 40 miles on a single charge, depending on the battery. Based on this, the CitiCar seems just as viable.

But to be fair, a max speed of 25 mph is needed to meet Federal Low-Speed Vehicle requirements. Also, the GEM does look safer and a lot more comfortable.

It causes one speculate as to why the CitiCar never lasted. Perhaps looks. Perhaps safety. But more than likely it was because the oil-crisis ended and there was a return to affordable gas prices.

Either way, times keep on changing and there is a very real chance that NEVs and street legal golf carts will continue to grow in popularity.

Just be sure to know the law when taking one for a spin around town.

Charlie Reynolds

I'm Charlie Reynolds, an enthusiastic golfer and writer with a deep fascination for golf carts. I founded and now edit a top-rated golf cart website, where I explore everything from the newest models to the most innovative features. My passion lies in simplifying technical details for my readers, ensuring they understand what's happening in the world of golf carts.

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