The recent 2011 Geneva Motor Show gave us a glimpse of how electric vehicles may look in the near future. The European auto tuning company Rinspeed debuted their BamBoo Concept Electric Vehicle to showcase technologies which may find their way into Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). Normally associated with modified Porsches and BMWs, Rinspeed are known to create wacky concept vehicles to showcase the creativity of their design abilities. Although not strictly a golf cart Rinspeed’s press release says it “resembles a grown-up golf cart at first glance.”
Street legal golf carts are becoming more and more popular within gated communities, golf resorts and retirement communities, but the majority of existing vehicles in use are based on modified custom golf carts that you would normally see on the golf course. These golf carts are usually fitted with aftermarket lights, turn signals, seat belts and DOT street legal tires. To capture part of this growing market golf cart manufacturers are developing their own "off the shelf" street legal carts, such as the E-Z-Go 2Five. But increasingly other non-golf cart manufacturers are developing their own NEVs which differentiate themselves from golf carts by looking more like a traditional car and may be more appealing to consumers.
The Rinspeed BamBoo looks more like a small European car but still offers an environmentally friendly electric powertrain. It has a very un-golf cart 54kW electric motor and enough battery capacity to give it a 104 km (65 mi.) range. The German made high-torque motor can accelerate the 1,090Kg vehicle to a top speed of 120 km/h. This lightweight vehicle features a steel chassis with horizontal shock absorbers with a sturdy composite body and extensive use of polymer plastic materials. The BamBoo sits on 17" AEZ three-spoke billet aluminum wheels and eco-friendly Goodyear "EfficientGrip" energy-saving tires.
The Rinspeed BamBoo Concept is unlikely to ever enter production, but it does showcase many styling elements and pieces of technology which may find their way into future NEVs. What is certain is that the likes of Club Car and E-Z-Go will have increasing competition in this growing market and if they are to be successful may have to shift away from producing street legal NEVs that appear to be based on golf carts.