Lee’s Lido – Chapter I

In November, 2002, GolfCarCatalog.com learned that Lido Motors has closed its doors. Lee Iacocca is no longer associated with the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle that bears his name. Bob Holmes, President and CEO of Lido Motors USA, has also left. It is rumored that Lee and Scott Stevens, owners of Western Motors in Desert Hot Springs, California, may resume production of this NEV under the title “Lido by Western”.

In October 2003, we learned that the four-seater Sedan is still in production, but we have not been able to obtain any information on dealer locations or parts availability.

Mr. Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca will be 77 in October, 2001, and he isn’t slowing down one bit.

He has joined with Scott Stevens of Western Golf Cars to be the sole owners of this new company. The Lido vehicle is manufactured in Desert Hot Springs California by Western Golf Cars. The modified chassis begins as a standard E-Z-GO frame. Present production capacity is about 20,000 per year with room to increase to 100,000 per year, as sales dictate.

Iacocca has obtained something like super-stardom in the automotive industry. He is responsible for developing two of the vehicles that have become American classics and defined the Baby Boomer generation: the Ford Mustang and the minivan. He also saved Chrysler Motors from bankruptcy by convincing Congress to guarantee the loans made by wary banks that were needed to revitalize the faltering company.

Now retired from Detroit, Lee still has his eye on the Baby Boomers. With their children out on their own, large minivans vans and SUVs for transportation are no longer neccessary. Many live in gated communities and neighborhoods where 70 percent of their trips are less than 6 miles. Lee says, “Why crank up a polluting gasoline engine to go such short distances?”

For the last five years, GolfCarCatalog.com has been covering the development of NEVs, as we are convinced that they are the future of in-town transportation. We tested the Bombardier and the GEM, and reported on NEVs by Columbia Par Car and Western. As more citizens become aware of the pollution caused by gasoline engines and state and local governments adopt stricter legislations against them, NEVs and ZEVs (Zero Emmision Vehicles) seem to be the future of transportation. But so far, nobody has really made the NEV concept “click” with consumers. Can Lee Iacocca?

Lee Takes a Different Tack

So far, NEV manufacturers have given us small electric cars that are supposed to be used for golf and street use. Their degree of success is questionable because the designs, in our opinion, were inadequate for one or both functions. Some are really tough to get in or out of. Some have the golf clubs (in the golf mode) so high that most women need a footstool to get to their clubs. Some have batteries in such a horrible location that it takes a hydrolic lift to get to them. They can’t use rain curtains so they need doors and the doors restrict access. NEVs so far have had their problems. We have more reporting to do but, from first blush, it appears the Lido overcomes these issues.

Iacocca’s design philosophy is to answer the “long term needs for alternative transportation for short distance commutes.” And, in addition, the vehicles are also designed so you can use them for golf, too. This subtle difference in philosophy shows up in the vehicle design and, we think, puts it in a whole new class.

Lido Features

Lido is a vehicle in full compliance with the standards set for Low Speed Vehicles by NHTSA‘s Rule 500. NEVs must have headlights, taillights, stop lights, rear reflectors, turn signals, seat belts, parking brake, windshield of auto glass or polycarbonate, and a Vehicle Identification Number. They must also go over 20 mph and not exceed 25 mph. The government allows such vehicles to travel on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

The Lido has a front lockable cargo trunk that can easily carry bags of groceries or other items. The rear trunk is lockable as well, but it easily detaches to accomidate for two pro sized golf bags, sand bottles and more.

Performance

The Lido Sedan, tested with four good-sized people on relatively flat terrain, got about 40 miles on one charge. In the hill country of Santa Cruz the same vehicle got about 32 miles on one charge. The vehicle uses a 48 volt system with an “Advance” DC motor and a Curtis Regen Controller specially designed for the Lido. All batteries are easily accessible. (Take that, GEM!)

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