I just purchased an Atomic coupe and am very happy with it so far. No question that it will go as far on a charge as I ever want to go in one day.
I also live in The Villages, and probably bought my car at the same location as Tim K (who also lives in The Villages) (I think there is just one local dealer). I’ve had it for a week now, and have experienced the same interactions that Tim reports–I can hardly drive it anywhere without someone stopping me to ask questions and talk about it.
I had the seats re-upholstered and am glad I did. The new fabric is cool on hot days (of which we have more than our share in The Villages), and the additional padding makes the seats more comfortable.
I originally planned to keep the car as a golf cart because I had been told that the insurance costs were high ($5-600 a year). However, after talking to a couple of people (one with a GEM car) who told me that was not true, I called my insurance company (USAA) and found that I can get the car insured for an additional $92 a year. And given that I was paying $50 a year for my old cart insurance, the additional cost is even less than $92. So I do plan to register it as an LSV. That will allow me to drive it on some roads that I currently cannot, but I don’t think I will do that much, because I’m not comfortable competing with full-size cars. We have a full assortment of golf cart paths here in The Villages, and I think I’ll stick with those for most of my driving. So why register the cart as an LSV? Well, first of all, the cart consistently runs faster than 20 MPH, and if you’re driving a cart on a neighborhood road at that speed, you can get a ticket–a very expensive ticket. But if it’s registered as an LSV, anything under 25 MPH is OK. The second issue is that you can cross all roads with an LSV, but not with a cart. So I’ll be able to access lots of shopping with an LSV that I cannot with a cart.
While I think the car is terrific (and have recommended to everyone who asks that they get one), I have a few concerns. First, the sound system in the car is terrible. It’s great that it comes with one, but for just a few dollars more they could have included something that sounded half-way decent. I have ordered a Kenwood head unit and two 6.5" Jensen speakers–just $115 on Amazon. But now the problem will be getting it installed, and the dealer is clearly not interested whatsoever in service after the sale. It’s impossible to get them to even answer a question (how does one uninstall the existing head unit?), much less do the work (or even refer you to someone who will do it!).
Second, the car comes with sun shades, but they keep falling down. I’ve put a couple of screws into the pins and hope that will tighten them up enough to keep them up.
Finally, there is not enough storage space in the car to keep little things. My other car is a big SUV. It has a storage area between the front seats in which I can keep, for example, discount cards for local merchants. The Atomic has two cup holders, a tiny open space they refer to as a “glove box”, and netting on both doors. The netting is a great idea and holds some of what I want to keep in the car (owner’s manual and a map), but another space to put small items would be a huge plus. I’m thinking about doing something up high–just under the roof line–because there is plenty of unused space up there.
And speaking of the owner’s manual, it is a hoot. Not very informative, but lots of laughs to read. I told my wife, I’m sure the person who wrote the manual speaks English far better than I speak Chinese, so I can’t knock them for trying. But it’s clear that they never involved an editor who speaks English as a primary language. Here’s an example from the very first page of text (referring to the importance of reading the manual before operating the car)–“It may offer you with safety driving, traffic safety information, keep the vehicle in good condition.” And the next sentence is, “If you sell the vehicle, please company with this manual, it is integrated part of the vehicle.” Fortunately, most of the operation of the vehicle is self-evident, so the lack of a readable manual is not a great detriment. But a well-written manual would give one greater confidence in the all-around quality of the vehicle.
But other than those items that I’m going to be working on, I am very pleased with my Atomic and expect to have many happy hours driving it around The Villages.