By Bill Basore
The Peach State is putt-putt-putting ahead in the race to promote zero-emission vehicles. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation on 5 May 2011 that creates a new class of motor vehicle called "personal transportation vehicles" or PTVs--defined as vehicles built on a "golf car-like" chassis. Although more than 20 states are currently considering similar legislation, Georgia is the first in the nation to create this new class of vehicle that allows golf cars to be driven on local streets.
The law, effective 1 January 2012 and subject to local restrictions, defines safety standards for PTVs. A PTV must have at least four wheels, weigh 1,375 pounds or less, have a top speed of no more than 20 m.p.h., and carry no more than eight people.
PTVs must also be equipped with certain safety apparatus, ranging from an appropriate braking system and main power switch to lighting and reflectors. Golf cars manufactured since 2004 have all or most of the required equipment, and dealers can upgrade older models. (The bill does not apply to all-terrain vehicles or mobility aids such as scooters.)
"This bill will allow Georgia families to stretch their transportation dollars and use green energy for miles of lo-cal driving," says Michael Alexander, director of global business development for Club Car, the world's largest manufacturer of small-wheel, zero-emissions electric vehicles.
The law has implications for travelers as well. Aging baby boomers who currently use their toy haulers to carry motorcycles just may want to consider a more, er, sedate mode of transport down the road. With more states likely to follow in Georgia's lead, a PTV in your RV could be the way to go.