Just don’t call it a golf cart

Virginia Golf Cars, a Harrisonburg-based seller of golf carts with a large showroom in Richmond’s Southside, has started selling a street-legal vehicle.

Golf carts are typically not allowed on public roads. Their normal habitat is more often gated communities, RV parks and for business use, apartment complexes and college campuses. Property managers and house keeping staffs prefer them because they get great gas mileage and are easy to navigate around pedestrians on narrow paths.

In March Virginia Golf Cars started selling the Tomberlin Low Speed Vehicle, or L.S.V. The electric car is street legal, unlike a more traditional golf cart.

“It can be used on any road that has a posted speed limit of 35 mph or lower,” said Virginia Golf Cars’ Jake Pearce.

Pearce said that most buyers plan to use the Tomberlin to traverse around resort communities, subdivisions, and back roads.

“A lot of the people that come in looking to spend $3,000 or $3,500 on a cart see the Tomberlin and decide that they will pay double that.”

Virginia Golf Cars carries up to 1,200 new, used, and reconditioned gas and electric vehicles.

Pearce did not want to reveal sales figures, but he said that sales have been holding steady during the current economic crunch.

“I think the higher gas prices actually helped improve our sales, because we can get 220-240 miles out of a 5 1/2 gallon tank (on a gasoline powered cart), which is much better than most cars.”

Pearce has seen “good sales” of the Tomberlin, and has several potential buyers waiting in the wings for the feature-laden L.S.V.

Just don’t call it a golf cart.

“It’s not a golf cart. It’s a low speed vehicle designed to transport people on public roads, not around a golf course,” Pearce said.

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