The shopping district of Cocoa will have an all new ecofriendly touring option by the end of this summer. Previously the village, that attracts scores of shoppers, took them around in quaint horse-and-carriage rides. But now, the transportation will be via a solar-powered golf cart, which can go up to 35 mph.
Called the Solar Rider – the refurbished golf cart has the capacity to seat six passengers. It already has huge support from the local population including city officials and merchants. The Solar Rider will soon be the main vehicle taking shoppers from parking lots to the shops and other local spots of interest, and will help to do this while saving energy and drawing attention to green concepts. Two solar panels on the cart’s roof harness the energy that powers the vehicle’s battery. The cart needs to be plugged into an electric source overnight, like a hybrid vehicle.
People in the district see this as an ideal way to move around the village. Volunteer drivers will conduct oral history tours on the Solar Rider and stop at about 20 historic sites in Cocoa Village. Although there is no charge officially for taking a ride on the Solar Rider, drivers are permitted to ask for donation tips, which will be used for cart maintenance, be a tip for the volunteer and help other green initiatives in the area. The Solar Rider came to Cocoa due to the collaborative efforts of Gary Kitchens, director of Brevard’s GREEN team and Dewey Kessler.
Sourced from Extreme Custom Carts, which used recycled materials of steel, vinyl, plywood and foam, the Solar Rider also uses energy-efficient LED lights. Solar panels on the cart are from Power Shift Solar, which sells solar products for homes and businesses. This was the company’s first attempt at a mobile application.