Maggie Caruso in her quintessentially Florida golf cart. Photo: Howard Walker.

Not Just For Golf Anymore: A roundup of the latest in deluxe electric golf carts

Florida and golf carts. They go together just like Mickey and Minnie — green-and-cream E-Z-GO electric runabouts zipping pink-trousered Arnold Palmer wannabes from green to green. 

But these days, you’re just as likely to see a cart heading to the beach with a noodle-toting family aboard, or parked outside a local cafe. Residents of gated enclaves, retirement communities and cart-friendly neighborhoods are loving them as daily drivers. 

And these days, Floridian golf cart-lovers are adding their personalities to their rides. They’re spending big bucks on customized color schemes, even tricked-up carts with big wheels, jacked-up suspension and fancy upholstery. 

Take Maggie Caruso. Maggie owns and manages the much-loved Coconut Inn in the heart of Pass-a-Grille, that funky community at the southern tip of St. Pete Beach. She bought her electric-powered, zero- emission six-seater primarily to ferry her guests around the laid-back beach town. 

“I just love to drive it so much it’s become my everyday driver. Right now I’m looking to bolt a surfboard on the top. That should look pretty cool.” 

Her new ride, built by Clearwater’s Discovery Golf Cars, is like 1950s Florida on wheels. Coral and peppermint paint, diamond-quilted turquoise-and-white vinyl seats, and racy chrome wheels with cool, wide whitewall tires. 

A basic, no-frills electric cart — maybe an E-Z-GO, Yamaha, or Club Car — generally stickers from around $7,000. A fully-customized ride, loaded with accessories, can go for over $20,000. 

The hot new ride on Tampa’s golf-cart-friendly Davis Islands these days is a street-legal ICON cart in retina-searing turquoise, or classy metallic red with matching striped upholstery. 

The ICON cart, ready for the mean streets of Davis Islands,

Such is the demand to scoot around the island in zero-emission style that a new ICON dealer — D.I. Electric Vehicles — is setting up shop in the old ’50s gas station at 340 East Davis Blvd. 

“As a resident of Davis Islands, all I see are golf carts,” says D.I. Electric owner Chas Bruck. “Whether it’s cruising down to the local coffee shop, or to the park with family, these vehicles are a great means of transportation and outdoor adventure.” 

Another ICONic ride.

A “starter” two-seat ICON i20 will set you back around $7,500, while a stretched, six-seater i60 L will run you close to $11,000. Big wheels, raised-up suspension, stereos, light bars — you name it, Chas will help. 

Want to really hit a golf cart hole-in-one? Then look no further than the Danish-made, street-legal Garia SuperSport, the fancy Mercedes SL two-seater of golf cars. 

The Garia SuperSport.

Priced from an Amex-card-melting $73,000, it was designed with the help of Mercedes-Benz Style and comes with such cool features as carbon fiber body panels, lithium-ion battery power, and a 10- inch outdoor touchscreen with wi-fi connectivity. 

Add to these the Garia’s huge, curvy heated windshield, that golf ball “dimple” grille, and the waterproof leather seat. There’s even a built-in fridge to keep your beach beverages chilled. And with its 8kW motor and the biggest battery pack offered on a golf car, it has neck-snapping acceleration and a 50-mile range. 

Another view of the Garia.

As for arguably the coolest beach cruiser out there, the four-seat, super-cute eMoke from Sarasota-based Moke America is hard to resist. Inspired by the swinging ’60s Mini Moke, this all-electric runabout is classed as a Low-Speed Vehicle, so tops out at 25mph. With its 10 batteries fully charged, it can run for 40 miles. 

With a range of wild colors, from sunshine yellow to Barbie pink to too-cute baby-blue, this super-stylish, zero emission runabout stickers from around $20,000. 

A baby-blue Moke.
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