The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Golf cart vs ATV

comparing a golf cart to an all terrain vehicle (ATV)

Why did we choose an electric golf cart over a gas powered ATV?

We had an old Isuzu 4 wheel drive truck that may have been in the saddest shape any truck has ever been in. It was only 400 dollars, and we were short on cash at the time and thought we could nurse it back to being a decent farm truck. The problem was our location. Being new in town made it difficult to coax a mechanic to make a house call, which is what was needed when the truck broke down in the middle of the driveway.

The country was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and fuel prices were reaching record levels. It felt like we had to get ready for a future where gas would cost as much or more than what folks in Europe were paying. Maybe I was reading too much information on Peak Oil speculation. I'm not sure what to believe when it comes to that subject amymore, and in retrospect the decision may have been partially based on a fear of running out of petrol.

I realize if gas prices go through the roof then electric rates would more than likely follow, but the plan was to do what several people on the internet were doing which was to use solar cells to charge the golf cart.

Lucy enjoys a nap on the golf cartAnother deciding factor was Anna's comfort level. I was pretty sure the golf cart would be less intimidating than driving a truck through troubled waters mixed with a bit of dirt.

It may have been more practical to choose an ATV, but sometimes the path less traveled yields the greatest rewards.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Plus a golf cart can carry two people for much less than a 2-up ATV in addition to the extra cargo space.

Looks like it makes a dynamite nap spot for the dog to boot!

~ Mitsy

Comment by mountainstead [] Thu Feb 16 17:20:19 2012

I just realized my friend Darrel has been using his golf cart too to do things on his property. He has his own garage and has used his golf cart to pull loads of siding on a car trailer back to his house. He had that trailer loaded down good with siding and cinder blocks that kept the siding from blowing away. I was wondering has you tried using that yellow garden cart behind your golf cart as a trailer. Maybe that would help out a lot to haul your straw and stuff.

Comment by John York Thu Feb 16 18:04:30 2012
Lucy really loves it. Mark is such a nice dog owner that when I accidentally leave biomass on the seat after a trip out to the parking area, he always takes it off so Lucy will have room to stretch out....
Comment by anna Thu Feb 16 18:26:44 2012
John --- We actually have a heavy hauler that hooks right up to the golf cart, but it seems to bog it down too much when the floodplain's wet (which it always is.) I'm sure the golf cart would be able to pull it great on flat, dry ground though.
Comment by anna Thu Feb 16 19:09:10 2012
On average I think it's easier to make electricity vs. gas type fuels, so I lean toward electric. They do make electric ATV's :-) but I think they are pretty expensive.
Comment by De Thu Feb 16 21:27:44 2012

I'm having that argument with myself right now. I need something to do some light hauling on the homestead. I have much less property than you guys have, but it is all sloped. I'd love to get one of those electric side by side UTVs, but I have yet to find one used and I can't justify $10k for one.

I think that the electric golf cart is likely my best bet. If I end up with the electric golf cart, I plan on charging it via solar like you mentioned.

Comment by Fritz Fri Feb 17 06:05:33 2012
De and Fritz --- We were able to get our golf cart with nearly new batteries for $1,200. Expensive, but I doubt we could have gotten an ATV that ran anywhere near as well for that amount.
Comment by anna Fri Feb 17 08:36:36 2012

Anna, perhaps something like this would work behind your cart, even when things are wet? I pull it around in the snow and when things are wet and it does well.

Comment by Heath Tue Sep 25 12:58:09 2012
Heath --- That does look extremely handy! The trouble with a trailer with our golf cart seems to be the difference between carrying and pulling, though, so I don't think that would help. When pulling, the wheels are much more likely to spin, which digs ruts and gets us stuck.
Comment by anna Tue Sep 25 17:15:28 2012

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