Street-Legal Electric Carts

Low speed vehicle

What’s the Difference Between a Street-Legal Golf Cart and a Street-Legal Electric Cart?

Golf carts are not designed to exceed 15 mph (24 km/h) and are not required to have safety features for use on public roads. 

Street-legal electric carts are designed for on-road driving beyond the greens. Low-speed vehicles, such as GEM, come standard with safety features that meet and exceed NHTSA safety standards.

Street-Legal Cart vs. Golf Cart

Street-Legal Cart
Golf Cart
Primary Purpose
For street use
For use on a golf course
Speed
At least 20 mph (32 km/h)
Not to exceed 15 mph (24 km/h)

Enclosed

Yes, configurable with full doors

No

Driver Requirements
Must be operated by licensed driver
License not required
Can be driven on public road?
Yes, check local and state laws for any restrictions
Not unless it’s converted to be street-legal
Safety Feature Requirements
Headlights, tail lights, reflectors, turn signals, speedometer, mirror, horn, fenders, windshield, seat belts
None

About GEM Vehicles

GEM low-speed electric vehicles are street-legal and provide a more comfortable ride and more standard safety features than a golf cart.

low speed vehicles

Are GEMs Street-Legal?

Yes. GEM is the leader in the LSV (Low-Speed Vehicle) market, and GEM vehicles are street-legal in nearly all U.S. states. An LSV is a vehicle class that follows federal safety standards, has a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), and can legally be driven on most U.S. roads posted 35 mph (50 km/h) or less.

Are GEMs Considered Golf Carts?

While they may seem like golf carts, GEMs have many additional features that make it so much more. GEMs follow federal safety standards required to be classified as low-speed vehicles, and some of our features go above and beyond the standard LSV requirements. 

  • All GEM vehicles include an occupant protection system (OPS) that is roof crush certified to SAE J2358 standards.
  • Add doors for a fully enclosed cab and protection from the weather  elements.
  • High-back bolstered seats provide premium comfort for drivers and passengers.
  • 30+ automotive-like EV enhancements provide a smooth and enjoyable ride (hill control, smooth acceleration, one-pedal driving, DOT-compliant tires, a backup camera and more).

GEMs vs. Golf Carts

street legal cart

GEMs

  • Designed for on-road driving
  • Up to 6 forward-facing passengers
  • High-back upholstered seats with bolster support and weather-resistant technology for added weather protection
  • Street-legal in nearly all U.S. states—explore where GEM can take you in your community with GEM Go 
  • Occupant protection system (OPS) that is roof crush certified to SAE J2358 standards
  • Optional doors
  • Standard safety features: 3-point seat belts, headlights and tail lights, brake lights, parking brake, turn signals, backup camera, horn, reflectors, mirrors and more
  • 30+ EV enhancements to deliver an automotive-like driving experience: hill control, smooth acceleration, one-pedal driving, backup camera, one-touch turn signal, windshield wiper, optional automatic daytime running lights and more
  • Speed up to 25 mph (40 km/h)
  • DOT-compliant tires
  • Must be operated by a licensed driver to be legal on public roads
golf cart on on a golf course

Golf Carts

  • Designed for golf course driving
  • 2-4 passengers, sometimes rear-facing
  • Bench seating, typical
  • No doors
  • No occupant protection system (OPS)
  • Generally not street-legal
  • No standard safety features
  • Speed unable to exceed 15 mph (24 km/h)

Find Your GEM

e2

Our most nimble EV and smallest footprint model.
Seats 1-2  |  Starting at $15,240 US MSRP

e4

Our most popular and versatile EV.
Seats 1-4  |  Starting at $17,490 US MSRP

e6

Our ideal people mover is a great alternative to SUVs or vans.
Seats 1-6  |  Starting at $21,240 US MSRP

eL XD

Rival any truck or cargo van with up to 1,415 lbs of payload, 1,250 lbs of towing and zero emissions.
Seats 1-2  |  Starting at $18,741 US MSRP