For the past 3 years, Mercedes-Benz has been working on ideas for the creation of a next-generation golf cart, a form of transport that has remained relatively static in design ideas over the past several decades. The resulting Style Edition, a product of its partnership with Danish golf cart firm Garia, integrates features that take driveability, style, and convenience to a new level.
A double wishbone suspension with a tight turning circle of 17 feet and enough power to allow for a governed top speed a hair below 19 mph make the Style Edition a pleasure to drive on the course. Front disc brakes are a measure for safety. The lithium-ion battery has a charging time of six hours, and a range of up to 50 miles.
The overall shape is organic, aesthetic, and comfortable. A rear spoiler serves to hold golf bags slanted at a rearward angle for easy access to clubs.
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Stuttgart. Vehicles with Mercedes-Benz design are already to be seen on water, on land and in the air. Now they will also be seen on golf courses. As a "real sports car", the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car authentically transfers the unmistakable Mercedes-Benz automobile design idiom of sensual purity to a premium-class golf cart. The showcar is the result of cooperation between Mercedes-Benz designers, Daimler's Think & Act Tank Business Innovation and the well-known golf cart manufacturer Garia.
The Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car defines a new class of transport for the golf course. Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG: "We have reinvented the world of the golf cart with our Mercedes-Benz Golf Car. Mercedes-Benz stands for modern luxury, and golf is an authentic part of that theme. Transferring our automotive design idiom to the Golf Car is therefore something quite natural, and in doing so we have created a product that is both sensual and pure."
Dr. Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars: "With the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car we are offering a high-end golf cart which is absolutely unique and was specifically developed for sporting golfers and the sport they enjoy." Our communication bears the lighthearted slogan "a real sports car".
In 2013 Mercedes-Benz called upon golf and automobile fans from around the world to submit their ideas for a Mercedes-Benz golf cart of the future. While golf has developed into a premium sport with a modern face, golf carts have remained almost unchanged for decades. The numerous submissions showed the need for a golf cart in keeping with modern times. This in turn meant that the golf cart needed to go through a long overdue evolutionary stage spanning several decades. Using modern technology, it was to be tailored to the needs of golfers, accompany current developments in the golf scene with a modern and sophisticated interpretation of luxury, lifestyle and practicality, and feature a bold, intelligent avantgarde design as a clear sign of change.
The best submissions in the design competition were the starting signal for the development of the new Golf Car under the Mercedes-Benz Style label. This is the label under which Mercedes-Benz Style designers create products for aspects of life beyond the automobile. The technical basis for the development of the Golf Car was contributed by golf cart manufacturer Garia. The underlying business model was developed by Daimler's Think & Act Tank Business Innovation. Susanne Hahn, head of Daimler Business Innovation, explains: "We brought all the relevant project partners around a table – our designers and the golf cart manufacturer Garia, who in a possible pilot stage to come will be responsible for sales, production and development. We ourselves will manage and coordinate the various pilot phases with the in-house and external partners."
The formal basis for the design of the Golf Car is the same unmistakable design idiom that makes Mercedes-Benz design stand out as a definition of modern luxury. The aim of this design idiom is to create beautiful and intelligent products that are hot and cool.
The first conceptual phase already took into account that golf carts need to have certain characteristic features in view of the available space on golf courses. They must be narrower and shorter, but also higher than conventional automobiles. The front and rear overhangs must be very short in the interests of interior spaciousness within a compact overall length. The unusual proportions that resulted are still harmonious thanks to the design expertise of Mercedes-Benz Style. The designers have also been able to blend the exterior and interior into a formal unit.
As a showcar, the new Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car immediately appears distinctly different from conventional golf carts. The driver and passenger have a view through a large, curved windscreen. The carbon-fibre roof is different in colour and form from the base vehicle. With its short front and rear overhangs, it somewhat resembles a sporty baseball cap. The effect is to make the vehicle look low and more sporty.
The sporty impression is heightened by a small rear spoiler which acts as a golf bag holder while being fully integrated into the overall design as a significant feature. It is so constructed that it can accommodate two golf bags slanted rearwards. This slanted position allows golf clubs to be conveniently taken out and replaced. A carbon-fibre diffuser rounds off the lower rear end as a lighthearted reference to the vehicle's character as a "real sports car". The bench seat has a sculptured, inviting look like a lounge chair, and blends in with the exterior design to provide a sensual experience.
Other examples of intelligent and useful details: There is a refrigerator under the bench seat, and a stowage tray under the dashboard holds golf balls aligned in a row. Bottle holders on the instrument panel support and on the passenger side provide space for glasses and bottles.
The pedals are another nice detail. The right pedal has a plus sign, the left a minus sign, a reference to Garia. In a both practical and charming way, they thereby indicate their functions as accelerator and brake in this electrically powered vehicle.
An integrated onboard touchpad with a screen diagonal of 10.1 inches and a high resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels shows graphically enhanced vehicle information in the smaller, upper area – for example the remaining range, vehicle speed, current power consumption or parking brake status. Many functions can be controlled at the touch of a finger, e.g. driving mode 'sport' or 'eco', the headlamps, windscreen heater, wipers and many more.
On the large screen area beneath this, the occupants can display the layout of the golf course and their current position, or if desired activate an electronic score card. The sophisticated graphic design is derived from the latest Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
A hands-free system with Bluetooth® connection and hi-fi speakers integrated into the rear roof frame strut ensure that also on the fairway, the occupants are connected and able to listen to music from their smartphone. Those who wish to can take a look at a weather app, or order refreshments for delivery to the green. There are also plans to make the contents of a personal smartphone transferable to the touchscreen of the Golf Car, e.g. for internet access.
Stimulating contrasts between soft and harder materials are likewise typical of Mercedes-Benz – e.g. on the instrument panel support, which has a painted upper section and is leather-lined in the lower section. The colour and materials concept has stimulating and surprising highlights with sporty carbon-fibre, sensual wood decor and high-quality, light-coloured leather. Carefully finished to a high standard, the choice of materials confirms the high-quality character of the Golf Car. Metallic features shimmer elegantly in modern silvershadow. The steering wheel literally makes dramatic material contrasts tangible: lined in white leather, its lower section features a metal clasp in silvershadow.
The grille with an air intake slot reinforces the intentional allusion to an automobile. It creates associations with familiar Mercedes-Benz radiator grille designs, and its golf ball structure makes the vehicle's purpose clear. Below it, the front section ends in an underbody protection panel which visually symbolises suitability for use on the unmetalled surfaces of a golf course.
The 5-spoke wheels with high-sheen twin flanges and black-painted surfaces between them are likewise heavily reminiscent of the dynamism for which Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are known.
In addition to a sensual, purist design idiom, a holistic overall appearance is one of the major attributes of Mercedes-Benz design. In other words, all details must come together to form a harmonious whole at a high level when viewed from any angle. The designers intentionally created every little detail from scratch. This includes e.g. the rear lights and the modern headlamps, whose striking graphics provide a recognition factor for Mercedes-Benz. They lend a face and character to the Golf Car. The headlamps use LED technology, ensuring good visibility in the event of sudden inclement weather and darkness.
The Golf Car self-assuredly declares its origin with the label "Mercedes-Benz Style". This embellishes the side sill panels, the wide lounge chair on which the occupants sit, is prominently engraved in the rear spoiler and takes the form of a badge on the arched trim section of the instrument panel support. The front section and steering wheel bear the Garia logo, and the rear end has prominent Garia lettering.
In technical terms the Golf Car has unique features which even make approval for on-road use possible in the USA. To this end it is equipped with all the necessary features such as direction indicators, headlamps and rear lights.
A double wishbone suspension typical of sports cars ensures comfortable driving characteristics and light, precise handling on all surfaces. This also gives the compact Golf Car (length 2350 millimetres, width 1200 millimetres and height 1720 millimetres) a tight turning circle of 5.2 metres. The Golf Car drives extremely smoothly both on the golf course and on metalled roads.
The electric motor of the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car has an output of three kilowatts, but can also make up to eleven kilowatts available for short periods. This is enough to give the 440-kilogram vehicle with its permissible payload of up to 460 kilograms sporty acceleration, with a governed top speed of 30 km/h with a range of up to 80 kilometres. The charging time for the lithium-ion battery is six hours. The vehicle is braked by front disc brakes.
Garia is initially building two driveable examples of the showcar. The reactions of the market and potential customers will be incorporated into any series production. This progressive Golf Car is to be mainly sold via digital channels. Susanne Hahn: "The vehicle can be experienced absolutely virtually. This means that wherever customers are, in a dealership or on a golf course, they can look at the vehicle on a tablet and order it with three clicks."