Star Electric Vehicles at the PGA Show

Star Electric Vehicles, a division of JH Global Services had a number of their vehicles at their booth at the PGA Show.  They displayed some new colors for their golf vehicles and featured one of their people movers. Their patented 2 in 1 combo accessory was also on display.  This product fits on the rear of a golf car and easily switches from a golf bag holder to an additional seat. While a number of Chinese manufacturers have come and gone in the market, Star Electric Vehicles has had staying power and the dealers I spoke with like the quality of their products. In fact, one dealer I met placed a sizable order at the show.

A new color for 2013 for StarEV

A new color for 2013 for StarEV

E-Z-GO Highlights from the PGA Show

Cushman Hauler 72V – E-Z-GO introduced their new Cushman Hauler 72V at the PGA Show. The electric utility vehicle features an AC motor and 72 volt electric drivetrain. The vehicle has a total capacity of 1,000 pounds, 9.6 cubic foot cargo box and a range of at least 50 miles. A limited-slip differential is an available option.

The AC motor in the new Cushman Hauler 72V

Battery pack for the new Cushman Hauler 72V

Refresher 1200 – One of the most innovative vehicles I saw at the show was the new Cushman Refresher 1200. The food/beverage/merchandise vehicle was developed for E-Z-GO by 19th Hole Cart and features what they call FlexServe Technology, a modular design that allows an operator to easily swap out different sections of the vehicle to customize the mix of food, beverage and merchandise offerings. This customization should allow the facility to generate more revenue from a better mix of products throughout the day. Some of the key features of the vehicle include:

  • All aluminum construction for the food/merchandise unit
  • Modular design with compartments in 6, 12, or 18 inch widths that can be swapped out
  • Wrap around work counter
  • Slide out merchandise rack
  • Two cooler sections on each side
  • Vehicle’s center of gravity is moved forward and separate cooler units limits weight shifting while driving
  • Gas vehicle powered by a 13 hp Kawasaki engine
  • Beverage area in back can be switched from coffee to liquor

The flexible design allows for a wide range of potential markets for the Refresher 1200 beyond the golf course including stadiums, promotional vehicles, food trucks, etc.  In addition, from the OEM’s point of view the vehicle can produce additional revenue as buyers will want to have additional modules to swap in and out.

Newly designed Cushman Refresher 1200 with modular and swappable units

The merchandise rack on the Refresher 1200 slides out of either side of the vehicle.


PGA Merchandise Show Highlights

I was at the PGA Show last week in Orlando, FL that features a wide range of products and services pertaining to golf, including small, task-oriented vehicles and related products.  I will be posting about some of what I saw there throughout the week.

New from Yamaha – Yamaha introduced their new Adventurer Sport vehicles at the show as well as featuring their electronic fuel-injected Concierge 4 and Personal Transportation Vehicle (PTV).

The new 2013 Yamaha Adventurer with flip-down rear seat that converts to utility configuration.

Yamaha Adventurer Sport 2+2
The new 2013 Yamaha Adventurer Sport 2+2 with electronic fuel injection

Yamaha Adventurer all terrain tires

2013 Yamaha Adventurer Sport with 20 inch all terrain tires

The new Adventurer vehicles feature a beefier suspension, increased ground clearance, 20-inch all terrain tires and electronic fuel injection. The vehicles are targeted for off-road users with agriculture, estate and general utility needs and will be available March 1. Electronic fuel injection is an important feature that is appearing in more and more small, task-oriented vehicles. In an upcoming post I’ll talk more about this and other STOV trends I saw represented by new products at the show.


LSVs Exempt From Washington State EV Tax

A Washington state tax on electric vehicles will go into effect February 2013 but will exclude vehicles like LSVs with a top speed of 35 mph or less.  The $100 tax was instituted to address the conundrum of electric vehicles not paying any gasoline taxes earmarked for highway and other road maintenance, even though they use these roads as well.  The tax is the first in the nation of this kind.  As EV use increases it is likely that other states will try to recoup lost gas taxes in a similar way.  Learn more:

John Deere and BRP Recall Utility Vehicles

Following on the heels of recent recalls announced in cooperation with Transport Canada, John Deere and BRP have announced similar recalls in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the US.

John Deere RSX850i UTV Recall – The company is recalling 4,650  RSX850i Base, Sport and Trail model utility vehicles manufactured between May 2012 and October 2012 because a fuel line may separate and create a fire hazard.  To date no injuries have been reported related to the issue.  Vehicles with the following serial numbers are affected:

1M0850TB++M010013 thru 1M0850TB++M010768
1M0850TS++M010001 thru 1M0850TS++M011932
1M0850TT++M010001 thru 1M0850TT++M012765

The vehicles were sold from August to September 2012.  Owners should stop using the vehicles and schedule a free inspection and repair with their local dealer.  John Deere will be contacting registered owners directly or they can call (800) 537-8233 for more information.  Learn more:

BRP Can-Am Commander Utility Vehicle Recall – BRP is recalling 3,400 of their various Can-Am Commander utility vehicles because an improper assembly of the steering column to the rack and pinion can result in the loss of steering control and pose a safety hazard.  To date no injuries have been reported related to the issue.  The recall involves the following model years and models:

Model Year 2011
Can-Am Commander 800 and 1000
Can-Am Commander XT 800R and 1000
Can-Am Commander X 1000

Model Year 2012                                                    Can-Am Commander 800 and 1000
Can-Am Commander XT 800 and 1000
Can-Am Commander X 1000
Can-Am Commander Limited 1000

The vehicles were sold between April 2011 and December 2012.  Owners should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact a BRP dealer to schedule a free repair. BRP has notified registered consumers directly about this recall or they can be reached at  (888) 638-5397.  Learn more:


Polaris Recalls GEMs and Ranger 400 Vehicles

Polaris has issued voluntary recalls of some GEM low-speed vehicles and Ranger 400 utility vehicles.

GEM Recall – Polaris acquired GEM in April 2011 and has been tracking a warranty issue with the parking braking assembly which has now led to a recall in conjunction with NHTSA.  Certain assembly components can “…wear prematurely and prevent the brake from engaging.” and potentially lead to the vehicle rolling away after the driver exits. The recall includes the following 2010 to 2013 GEM models manufactured between January 14, 2010 and November 23, 2012:  E2, E2 XLD, E2L, E2S, E4, E4S, ELXD EL E6, E6S and ES.  The recall covers a total of 4,394 vehicles.  The recall is expected to start in February and Polaris will notify owners.  Dealers will replace the parking brake lever assembly free of charge.  Polaris customer service can be contacted at 1-888-704-5290.  Learn more:  NHSTA

Ranger 400 Recall  – In cooperation with the CPSC Polaris is recalling 327 2013 Ranger 400 utility vehicles because the vehicle’s throttle can fail to operate properly, possibly causing the loss of vehicle control.  To date there have been no report of injuries related to the issue.  The vehicles were sold between July and September 2012.  The recall affects 2013 Ranger 400 vehicles with model number R13RH45AG and VIN numbers between 4XARH45A3D4726305 and 4XARH45A7DE648444 however not all VIN numbers in the range are included in this recall.  Owners can conduct a VIN-based search for recall information at the Polaris website.  Polaris is contacting owners directly to schedule a free repair.  Vehicles should not be used until repaired.  Polaris can be contacted at (888) 704-5290, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.  Learn more:


NHTSA Proposes “alert sound” For EVs Including LSVs

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed rules to develop a standard for an “alert sound” so the blind, visually impaired and other pedestrians know that a vehicle is near.  NHTSA is proposing to:

establish a Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) setting minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles. This new standard would require hybrid and electric passenger cars, light trucks and vans (LTVs), medium and heavy duty, trucks, and buses, low speed vehicles (LSVs), and motorcycles to produce sounds meeting the requirements of this standard…..The proposed standard establishes minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles when operating under 30 kilometers per hour (km/h) (18 mph), when the vehicle’s starting system is activated but the vehicle is stationary, and when the vehicle is operating in reverse.

The ruling is in response to the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 which required the issue to be studied and a standard established.  NHTSA estimates that the appropriate technology to meet the standard will cost approximately $30 per vehicle. There will be a comment period for the next 60 days and eventually a three year roll-out possibly starting in September 2015 if the process runs smoothly.

The standards developed by NHTSA are based on highway capable vehicle.  However, LSVs have been “tentatively” included in the proposed rule making but the agency has not performed any acoustic testing on LSVs, has limited real-world crash data on the vehicles and not sure if the minium sound levels are appropriate for LSVs.  They believe application of the standard to LSVs “…will result in 10 fewer injured pedestrians and pedalcyclists.”  The agency is seeking comments as to whether the standards should apply to LSVs.  Learn more:  Quiet_Vehicles_NPRM (PDF) 

Comment:  I believe the LSV’s varied usage environments creates problems for the application of this standard.  LSVs are used on campuses/parks, within gated communities and on public roads.  While the standard could apply for public road usage, there may be  issues in other operating environments.  Namely, LSVs in gated communities and campuses/parks may spend a significant amount of time operating below the 18 mph threshold during much of their normal operations within these environments.  This could lead to the vehicle constantly putting out an alert sound.  
In fact, we have conducted utility vehicle related research on college campuses recently and on some of these campuses maintenance staff are told not to exceed 15 mph while driving around campus walkways and sidewalks.  Furthermore, campuses and parks have been a particularly strong market lately for LSVs as institutions push green and sustainability initiatives.  I would think a park environment would not be an area where you would want to constantly hear an alert sound.  Given the relatively low penetration of LSVs and NHTSA’s own acknowledgement that they lack real-world data, it may be more appropriate to wait and develop LSV specific data first before applying the standard to LSVs.

NEVs A Small Part of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program

Statistics from California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program show that rebates for nearly 16,000 vehicles have been provided from March 2010 to December 2012.  Just over half of the rebates have been for Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), not including NEVs.  NEVs account for only a small slice of the rebate pie with a total of 86 rebates over the time period.  The slice is even smaller in dollar terms as ZEVs are eligible for rebates of up to $2,500 and NEVs only $900.  In total approximately $24 million went to ZEV rebates and $100,000 for NEV rebates.  Other eligible vehicle categories include plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), which account for the bulk of the remaining rebates, commercial ZEVs and zero emission motorcycles (ZEM).  In comparison, ZEMs were slightly more popular than NEVs with rebates provided for 120 vehicles.  Learn more:

Transport Canada UTV Recalls

In December 2012 Transport Canada announced a number of recalls related to UTVs. Here is a quick summary:

  1. John Deere  2012 RSX850I – The fuel line connectors in the engine compartment may not have been properly connected. The connectors could separate and create a fire hazard. 466 vehicles are affected.  Learn more:  Transport Canada
  2. Can Cam Commander models:  Limited 1000, 1000R, 800R, DPS 1000, DPS 800R, X 1000, XT 1000R, XT 800R for model years 2011, 2012 and 2013. If some are operated in deep water (over 30 cm) with floating debris like leaves or grass, accumulation near the exhaust system can create a fire hazard.   10,800 vehicles are affected.  Learn more:  Transport Canada
  3. Can Cam Commander models:  1000R, 800R, X 1000, XT 1000R, XT 800R for model years 2011 and 2012 and model year 2012 for the Limited 1000. The lower splines at the steering column to rack and pinion joint may not be sufficiently engaged. The splines could fail causing a loss of steering and a crashing hazard. 1,250 vehicles are affected. Learn more:  Transport Canada 


Polaris Introduces RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition

Polaris announced the addition of the limited edition RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition to their high-end recreational side-by-side line-up.  The vehicle features a high output version of the Polaris Prostar 900 twin EFI engine which bumps the power from 88 to 94 hp. Other key features include:

  • Stainless steel SLP® exhaust with dual outlets for increased exhaust flow and an aggressive race-inspired sound
  • 26-inch longer wheelbase and Walker Evans 2.5” Body Rear Shocks
  • Five-point, harness-ready PRP seats
  • Electronic power steering
  • Weather-sealed, lockable and removable dual cargo boxes in the rear cab area

For styling the top-of-the-line model has “… black, blue and white Jagged X-inspired graphics, the vehicle sports matching factory-installed doors, Voodoo Blue painted suspension springs and valve cover, a race-inspired, color-matched, custom cab frame with integrated rear cab frame extension that wraps around the rear bed and Bighorn tires on Black painted Walker Evans beadlock wheels with color-matched beadlock rings.”  A “very limited” number of the vehicles will be at dealerships at the end of this month.  The MSRP for the vehicle starts at $21,999.  Learn more:  or Vehicle Info