From Course to Community: Golf Carts vs LSVs vs NEVs

‍Golf carts have been a popular mode of transportation on golf courses for decades, but they have also gained popularity as a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around gated communities, neighborhoods, and college campuses. They’re fun to drive and helps reduce your carbon footprint.

With the rise in demand for golf carts, many other alternatives have emerged, such as low-speed vehicles (LSVs) and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). We’ll explain the differences between golf carts and their alternatives, factors to consider when choosing one, maintenance and safety tips, and customization options.

Golf Carts and Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTV)

To put it simply, the speed and safety features define whether something is a golf cart, an LSV, or NEV. They are all types of personal transportation vehicles (PTVs).

Golf carts are small, motorized vehicles that were designed to move golfers and their equipment around the golf course. They are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them ideal for navigating through narrow pathways and tight spaces. Golf carts are powered by an electric motor or a gas engine and can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.

Low-speed vehicles (LSVs) are similar to golf carts but are designed for use on public roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less. They are equipped with safety features such as seat belts, headlights, and turn signals to make them street-legal.

Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) are also similar to golf carts but are designed for use on public roads with speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less. They are also equipped with safety features that allow them to be used on public roads.

In Florida, LSVs and NEVs must be registered and tagged (licensed by the DMV) because of their capacity to be used on public roads.

Differences at a Glance

  • Golf carts, LSVs, and NEVs may appear similar, but there are some key differences between them.
  • Golf carts are designed for use on golf courses and private property, while LSVs and NEVs can be driven on public roads.
  • LSVs and NEVs are equipped with safety features that make them street-legal, such as headlights, turn signals, and seat belts.
  • LSVs are also more powerful than golf carts and can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
  • NEVs are more energy-efficient than LSVs and golf carts, making them a popular choice for eco-conscious consumers. However, their lower speed limit may limit their appeal to some buyers.

Looking to Buy One? Factors to Consider

  • What’s your intended use?

If you plan to use your vehicle primarily on golf courses or private property, a golf cart may be the best option. If you plan to use your vehicle on public roads, an LSV or NEV may be a better choice.

  • What is your budget?

Golf carts are generally less expensive than LSVs and NEVs, but they may not be street-legal in your area (unless there are roads designed for golf carts). LSVs and NEVs are more expensive but can be driven on public roads.

  • What size and capacity do you need?

Golf carts typically seat two to four people, while LSVs and NEVs can seat up to six people. If you plan to use your vehicle for transporting multiple passengers, an LSV or NEV may be a better choice.

→ Pro-tip: There may be manufacturer differences in how they label their carts. That is, most will call them golf carts even if they are technically a low-speed vehicle or neighborhood electric vehicle. Your golf cart dealer should be able to clarify the top speed of the vehicle you’re interested in, which will narrow down the type and tag requirements.

Golf Cart Customization: So Many Ways to Add Style and Function

One of the best things about owning a golf cart or alternative vehicle is the ability to customize it to fit you. From custom paint jobs to upgraded sound systems, your golf cart dealer can help you make your vehicle unique. You can also add accessories like golf bag holders, coolers, and weather enclosures to make your vehicle more functional.

Ultimate Carts is an authorized dealer for ICON®, EPIC Carts™, and Atlas Carts. Typically, your accessories won’t void your warranty if installed by Ultimate Carts.

Customization options can vary depending on the specific model and manufacturer. Popular customizations include:

  1. Body and Paint: You can choose colors and finishes that call out to you. Some manufacturers offer custom paint jobs and decals, allowing you to personalize the appearance even more.
  2. Seats and Upholstery: You can upgrade your golf cart to be more comfortable and stylish. Custom seat covers, cushions, and even embroidered logos or patterns can be added.
  3. Wheels and Tires: Upgrading the wheels and tires can significantly enhance the aesthetics and performance of a golf cart. Custom alloy wheels, chrome rims, and low-profile or all-terrain tires are popular choices.
  4. Lift Kits: Lift kits raise the height of the golf cart, providing more ground clearance and a more aggressive stance. This customization option is particularly popular for off-road or rugged terrain usage.
  5. Lighting: Additional lighting can be installed, such as LED headlights, taillights, and underbody lighting kits. These not only improve visibility but also add a stylish touch.
  6. Sound Systems: Customized audio systems, including speakers, amplifiers, and Bluetooth connectivity, can bump up the quality of music you take with you in your cart.
  7. Storage and Accessories: Storage options include rear cargo boxes, overhead storage compartments, or glove box compartments. Accessories like beverage holders, rearview mirrors, and windshield options are available as well.
  8. Batteries and Power: Upgrading the battery system can increase the range and performance of electric golf carts. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more popular due to their higher energy density and longer lifespan.
  9. Performance Enhancements: For those seeking more power, there are aftermarket options to increase the speed and torque of golf carts. These modifications may include upgraded motors, controllers, and performance tuning.
  10. Specialty Customizations: Some golf cart enthusiasts opt for unique customizations, such as custom body kits, chrome accents, personalized license plates, or even custom wraps to showcase specific themes or branding.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. From golf cart parades to enthusiast forums, you can see there’s no shortage of bling and creativity in the world of golf cart accessories and customization.

Some modifications may void the warranty or violate local regulations. Always consult with your authorized dealer to ensure they’re safe, legal, and compatible with your specific model.

Don’t Forget Maintenance and Safety Tips

Golf carts and their alternatives may be more fun to drive than a car, but they require the same care to stay in good condition. Proper maintenance is essential.

Regularly checking the battery, tires, brakes, and lights can help prevent breakdowns and ensure your safety on the road. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

When operating your golf cart or alternative vehicle, it is important to follow all traffic laws and safety regulations. Always wear your seatbelt, use turn signals, and obey speed limits. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions while driving.

You can be cited for violations, just as in your car or truck!

Visit Ultimate Carts to Test Drive Your Golf Cart (or Street-Ready Golf Cart)

With a wide selection of golf carts and customization options, Ultimate Carts has something for everyone. Our knowledgeable staff can help you choose the perfect vehicle to fit your needs and budget. Start cruising in style at one of our Central Florida locations:


845 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

New Smyrna Beach

1701 FL-44, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
(386) 202-9404

About Ultimate Carts

Ultimate Carts is the EV golf carts arm of the Ultimate family of luxury vehicle dealerships in greater Central Florida and its coasts. The business group includes Ultimate Auto and Ultimate Marine, offering a highly personal service model that includes in-house custom manufacturing capabilities and a white-glove delivery experience. All are overseen by CEO Joe Labon, who started the first Ultimate Auto shop more than 30 years ago in Orlando. 

Service areas for Ultimate Carts include Orlando, Winter Park, Tampa, New Smyrna Beach, and The Villages. Ultimate Marine serves Sarasota to Clearwater on the West Coast, and Cape Canaveral to Jacksonville on the East Coast. Ultimate Auto is headquartered in Orlando.