Beyond The Gated Community

Suburban Transition—Planned Communities and Active Adult Developments:  How Would You Prefer to Get Around

According to the Florida Census Bureau, there are approximately 850 55+ communities in the state.  The average number of residences within these communities is approximately 35-49.  Multiply this number by 100 or more, and you may have a rough estimate of the national total.  Each of these residences has at least one conventional vehicle.  Many, however, are golf car friendly and, overall, golf car type (GCT) vehicles are a complementary option to the conventional, on-road automobile.

With the U.S. population aging the expansion of planned communities will continue on a significant growth part as well. So, CGT manufacturers and dealers have a major opportunity to service the vast stock of developments already in place, as well as those to come in the future.  Two market segments have emerged:

  • Last mile delivery vehicles; and
  • Micromobility conveyances for personal transportation.

We look at the latter market in this article, and will address the former next time.

Which do you prefer?  Two-wheels or four-wheels?

Bird scooters in fleet formation

Set aside the characteristics of your community, and consider the simple question:  All things equal would you prefer your “mobility platform”  to have two wheels and four?  If you are in the under 30 generation you might prefer a two-wheel platform, such as those available from Bird and Lime.  These conveyances are organized in fleets and stand ready for use for quick movement from point A to point B/

The scooters pictured to the left may zip you and your backpack around city streets with aplomb, but a stop at a grocery or convenience store is probably not on the itinerary.  Bird and Lime also provide on-demand e-bikes.  These two-wheel conveyances may well have an accessory that would allow you to make that grocery store stop and get tonight’s dinner, but probably not the menu for next week.

The Tomberlin e-bike from eBlis

The advantage these two micromobility platforms have is that they are easy to park, or simply drop on the sidewalk, waiting for the next customer.  Unfortunately, this attribute has also led to sidewalk clutter, which, aside from making sidewalks an unwanted obstacle course for pedestrians, is also quite messy in appearance.  Nonetheless, e-bikes have become quite popular, either as an on-demand fleet service, or as a privately owned vehicle.

An indication of e-bike popularity is the fact that at least one golf car OEM, Tomberlin, has become a national distributor for eBliss Global, eBliss being a world leader in high tech ebikes.

Advantages of four wheeled vehicles

Assume for the moment a GCT vehicle is available, on demand, for use in your community.  If you a fiftyish or more the four-wheel GCT vehicle is a far more desirable choice than the above two-wheelers.  Obviously it is far more stable and safer, equipped as it is with seatbelts, turn signals, and lighting kits that can actually make the vehicle highly visible to drivers of conventional vehicles in particular.  (Anyone had a near miss with an ebike in low  light or nighttime situations?)  

In addition to the safety features, four-wheelers come with space to put the groceries, the tools you bought at Lowe’s, or the kids, their book packs, and sports gear.

On-demand or privately-owned?

The next question is how to provide four-wheeler services: On-demand fleet service or privately-owned?  The fleet option has advantages, such as freeing up home garage space, no maintenance expense and properly-managed recharging facilities.  The fleet must have, of course, a centralized parking/maintenance facility, but once established eliminates the parking problem and there no sidewalk clutter.

On the other  hand, to be truly on-demand, the four-wheeler fleet will need an optimized fleet management system and involve autonomous driving capabilities.  Two companies that provide these systems and have exhibited at the PGA Show in Orlando are Carteav from Israel and Turing Drive out of Taiwan.  Both are seeking GCT vehicle OEM partners.  Carteav has a current relationship with PilotCar, based in Ft. Myers, FL.  For more detailed information on the Carteav system, go to

The community environment matters

Not all planned communities or gated communities are the same, but the following would be prime targets for on-demand fleet services:

  • Retirement communities;
  • Gated communities;
  • Industrial/business parks;
  • Educational campuses.

These environments are relatively confined and can be easily geofenced to limit vehicle travel to the borders of the community.

Beyond these markets are the more complex suburban and urban areas.  While these environments are more complex, there is nothing that would impede market entry as autonomous vehicle technology evolves and proves itself.

Privately-owned vehicles are always an option, with the usual responsibilities of upkeep and safety precautions (against theft) borne by the owners.  This is the more traditional option and it’s in this mode that we currently see most of the market growth.  The market for privately-owned LSVs is growing rapidly with a least a dozen new entrants getting into the market over the past two years.

In SVR’s latest market study, as noted in the insert above, the reasons for the sudden appearance of new entrants is analyzed and market share quantified.  This, after years of the industry dominated by three companies, Club Car, E-Z-GO, and Yamaha.

Four-wheelers are likely to dominate the market

Because of their greater versatility and growing market acceptance as a viable and desirable alternative to the conventional automobile, SVR expects four-wheel mobility platforms to become as popular and eventually dominate the micro/mini-mobility market.  Four-wheelers, such as LSVs in particular, will appeal to a broader age demographic than two-wheelers, and generally speaking, as a much more useful type of conveyance.

Cushman Tour LSV

E-Z-GO Textron has just announced three vehicle models which are poised to enter the micromobility space.  These are E-Z-GO Liberty, the Cushman Tour, and the Cushman PRO.  Both are LSV qualified and are targeted for the commercial fleet and last mile delivery segment.

Cushman Pro LSV

Market development for four-wheelers faces at least two obstacles:

  • Not reaching the needed level of local government engagement by OEMs and their dealer networks;
  • Slow acceptance of autonomous systems which would underpin LSV on demand fleet services in a variety of municipal/community environments;
  • Lack of a fully subscribed dealer association that would support advocacy at the local, county and state levels.

In regard to the last issue, it should be noted that a new dealers association, the LSV Dealer Association has been launched recently and more information is available at the website, .


Small Vehicle Resource (SVR) publishes new market analysis

SVR announces new analysis of the small, task-orient  vehicle (ST)V) market, with outstanding growth potential, and covering:

  • Impact of new industry entrants;
  • Segment analysis—LSV.PTV, light duty utility vehicles, and fleet;
  • Trends from 2016, including the COVID disruption;
  • Forecasts by segment and by electric vs. gas to 2030;
  • Electrification of the off-road market;
  • New market opportunities and benefits of a national dealers’ association

Contact the Author: Steve Metzger at  Or check out our website at, where you will find an extensive database of vehicle models and can make side-by-side comparisons of vehicles based on a full set of specifications.