GEM NEV Becomes Golf Cart One
SAVANNAH -- What's red, white and blue, runs off a 72-volt battery and has a top speed of 25 mph? The president's official Bushmobile for the summer Group of Eight summit.
G-8 organizers on Monday unveiled the electric car — which resembles a golf cart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle — customized for President Bush to cruise around Sea Island during the June 8-10 meeting of world leaders.
Leaders of the remaining seven countries attending the summit in coastal Georgia need not be jealous. They'll each get similar rides decked out with decal motifs based on their own national flags.
"You'll see them on TV as (the leaders) arrive to meetings and dinners during the summit," said Barry Bennett, spokesman for the Sea Island Summit Planning Organization.
The cars are made by Global Electric Motorcars of Fargo, N.D., a subsidiary of Daimler Chrysler. With 12-inch wheels and open sides, they work as high-end golf carts.
But they're also street legal in areas where the speed limit is 35 mph or less, with seat belts, headlights, mirrors and even windshield wipers as standard features.
Capable of driving 30 miles between charging, the vehicles are perfect for a secluded resort like Sea Island, which is only 5 miles long and half-a-mile wide, Bennett said.
The four-seat model the summit leaders will drive — minus the flashy flag decals — retails for $8,995.
Savannah company Digital Image is in charge of decorating the cars, using photographs of each country's flag blown up to 5-by-10-foot decals. The trick is to make each leader's car instantly recognizable, especially with no doors to decorate, said company president Doug Smith.
"There's very little surface area," Smith said. "The most difficult one would be the Japanese flag ... the fact that it's just a field of white with a red dot in the center."
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