By Kristin Hackler
There are so many things that make Dewees Island a wonderful place to live: the close proximity of the ocean in all directions; the maritime forests; its fascinating history rife with Indians, pirates and rum runners; and the dedication of its small population to “conservation” in every aspect of the word. And because of the populace’s dedication to leaving the smallest footprint possible on the island, residents are not allowed to drive any sort of gas-powered vehicle on the island. This is wonderful in terms of the lack of noise and air pollution, but during cold, rainy or windy days (which happen quite a lot on a small, semi-tropical barrier island), it’s tough to get around with nothing but your feet, bike or an open-air golf cart.
For Barbara MacIntyre, one of the first residents on Dewees Island, the inconvenience was worth the location, but when she saw a Current Electric low speed vehicle at the Family Circle Tennis Cup this past April, she couldn’t contain her excitement.
“The climate can be harsh on golf carts on Dewees,” said Barbara. “You have salty wind and alkaline sand, and with open air golf carts you have to worry about how windy and dusty it will be, and there are almost always bugs in the warm months,” she smiled. “The best part is, these cars have doors.”
Barbara and Dave MacIntyre and not the first residents to sport a low speed electric vehicle on Dewees Island.
“This is the answer to my dreams,” said Barbara. “And other people on the island are excited about it, as well.”
Since Dewees is only about six miles around and two miles from end to end, the 40 miles/charge is more than enough to get them where they need to go and back again; several times.
“Now all we need to do is get the ferry to start letting us take them on land,” she grinned.
Frank Guarino, owner of Current Electric Vehicles on Daniel Island, is thrilled that low speed vehicles are being accepted so quickly around Charleston’s barrier islands.
“They’re perfect for these areas,” said Frank. “They can only go on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, but that’s the speed limit on most islands. They can go up to 40 miles on a single charge and they plug into a regular 110 outlet, so you could be visiting a friend and let the car charge while you’re there.”
Although low speed vehicles aren’t allowed on primary roads like Palm Boulevard, Frank has already found a way to get from his home in Wild Dunes to the Red & White grocery store on the Isle of Palms by taking back roads like Waterway Blvd. Another benefit is that they are tagged, licensed and insured like regular vehicles, a plus which allowed them to be permitted for use in places like Kiawah Island, which currently doesn’t allow golf carts on regular roads.
Current Electric Vehicles currently offers two types of Low Speed Vehicles, E-Zone and C-Zone. C-Zones are utility cars which are often used as higher speed, higher capacity golf carts; mobile cafeterias; and even ambulance vehicles in places such as golf courses, baseball/football fields and parks. E-Zone LSVs more closely resemble standard cars and are available in a variety of shades and styles, including pick-ups and multi-purpose vans. The come equipped standard with automatic windows and heated seats, and options include air bags, sun roof, and heating and air conditioning. The price for both types ranges between $11,000 and $17,000, with some available with high-end lithium batteries for around $25,000.
The MacIntyre’s LSV is a gray-tone E-Zone which cost them around $13,000.
“This LSV is a great example of how you don’t have to give up luxury to be green,” said Barbara. “Our car is fun, efficient and comfortable. We couldn’t be happier with it.”
Current Electric Vehicles offices are located on Daniel Island at 142 Sportsman’s Island Drive on Daniel Island, with a show room in Freshfields Village between Kiawah and Seabrook Island. For more information, visit www.currentelectricvehicles.com or call 377-8540.