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An Electric Cart?  Not for most, but …

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We’ve lived in our new solar home now for three years, and we still own our former passive solar home 500 ft down the street; we still do a LOT in the big backyard garden there.  So weather permitting there’s back-and-forthing several times a day with much to be carried.  I’m 86 and my slowing down is getting quite obvious; I’m no longer capable of the walking and carrying that is part of this activity.

One option is to use my truck (when the ground is not soft or slippery), but that’s just not convenient or practical.  Then I saw reference somewhere to a little electric truck.  I checked out what was available, stewed for a while then took the plunge and bought a Scout made by Columbia.  It’s not street-legal.

It’s like a golf cart, powered by eight batteries under the front seat, but instead of a rear seat it has a steel cargo box about 43 inches wide (width of vehicle) by 30 inches deep with a tailgate which can be used to extend the cargo area.  I’ve never made friends with maintaining a gasoline engine, and I love the simplicity of this one.  Several times a season I check the liquid level in the batteries, apply a little lube gun to six fittings and check the tire pressures.  It has a built-in charger and every two or three weeks I plug the charger into a wall outlet overnight.  And that’s it!  Oh yes, also sweep out as needed.  It has only accelerator and brake pedals (no clutch) and the only switches I use are off-on and forward-neutral-reverse.  When winter comes I park it under shelter and plug in the charger; come spring I unplug the charger and drive away.  Never a trip to the gas station and with our own solar panels we could have transportation even if the grid were down.  The big drawback is the cost for all these goodies; in our case about $7300.  Quite exorbitant for going backyard-to-backyard, but acceptable if you have a lot of land or if (like me) you find it enabling of a better lifestyle.   Also of course it could provide contingency transport.

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