Many inventions make our lives a bit easier, and electric golf carts are no different. It’s not just for the golf course–you can use one for yard work, at a park, at events, when camping, or for any number of applications where a small, zippy vehicle can help.
Before purchasing, educate yourself on the range, batteries, and maintenance so you can choose the most favorable option. To get the best performance with electric golf carts, you must understand which battery works best and how to take care of it. Let’s take a look.
Table of contents
- What Is an Electric Golf Cart?
- What Is the Range of an Electric Golf Cart?
- About Electric Golf Cart Batteries
- Common Issues with Electric Golf Cart Lead-Acid Batteries
- Get More Out of Your Electric Golf Cart By Upgrading to Lithium
- Benefits of Lithium Batteries for Electric Golf Carts
- Other Tips to Get the Most out of Your Electric Golf Cart
- Take Care of Your Electric Golf Cart
What Is an Electric Golf Cart?
An electric golf cart is an electric automobile that traditionally transports golfers and caddies around the course. However, many use them for transportation in places where a car won’t fit. For example, RVers might use them to get around a campground, or staff might use them to travel safely through crowds of people during a big event.
Traditionally, golf carts are gas-powered, but a new version of the handy vehicle is emerging that’s all-electric. It relies on a battery that you recharge between uses. It’s supposed to be quieter, more eco-friendly, and more convenient for golf cart drivers.
What Is the Range of an Electric Golf Cart?
The range can vary with electric golf carts; however, 30-45 miles is standard. It’s ideal if you only need it for short trips, and most people do. Even if you’re using the cart for a full day of driving around an event venue, you likely won’t use up the entire 30-45 mile range, and you can always just plug it in if you do.
Where you’re driving, how much you stop-and-go, and what accessories you’re using can affect the cart’s mileage-per-charge. Taking good care of the vehicle and using lithium-ion batteries rather than lead-acid can extend the cart’s range as well.
About Electric Golf Cart Batteries
Electric golf carts require different batteries, depending on the type you have. Batteries will depend on the voltage needs. You’ll need to know your golf cart’s battery type and how many you’ll need before buying.
What Kind of Batteries Do Electric Golf Carts Typically Use?
A golf cart might use a type of lead-acid or lithium-ion battery. Lead-acid batteries, specifically deep-cycle flooded lead-acid (FLA) batteries, are the most common battery type found in golf carts. You might hear people call flooded lead-acid batteries “wet.”
FLA batteries have been the industry standard because of their cost-effectiveness, reliability, and safety. They usually last for about three to five years unless you discharge them below 50%, which will shorten their lifespan. They’re a good option, but they require regular maintenance like topping off the water inside the reservoir.
An up-and-coming option for electric golf cart power is lithium-ion batteries. The technology is superior to its lead-acid counterparts. They’re more expensive, but because the batteries can last for 10-15 years with a full warranty, most users find them to be cheaper than wet batteries. You can also fully discharge them without damage.
How Many Batteries Are in an Electric Golf Cart?
The short answer is most carts require four, six, or eight batteries. But it depends on the voltage of the electrical drive system (usually 36V or 48V).
Golf carts usually require batteries that are 6V, 8V, or 12V, and the number you need depends on the cart. It could require anywhere from four to eight batteries, depending on the drive system size.
Before buying, knowing how many batteries the cart will require will help you determine your overhead and maintenance costs as well as the power.
You can figure out how many batteries your golf cart needs by looking at the battery compartment. You’ll see several holes or cells, usually between three and six. Each cell equals 2V, so double the number of holes, and you’ll have your cart’s voltage.
Since most golf carts have a 36V or 48V electrical drive system, you can count the number of holes to determine the voltage of batteries you need. Then add those batteries together to equal the voltage in the system.
So, three holes in your battery compartment would mean your cart takes 6V batteries. If you have a 36V system, you’ll need a total of six 6V batteries. If your rig uses 6V batteries and it’s a 48V system, you’ll need four 12V batteries.
Common Issues with Electric Golf Cart Lead-Acid Batteries
Although lead-acid batteries have been the industry standard for decades, there are a few key issues. Voltage drop, water level maintenance, range, and overcharging are some of the most harrowing.
Perhaps the most frustrating is dealing with a dead battery. Lead-acid batteries drain faster than lithium-ion, and they incur damage every time the charge drops below 50%. Each time this occurs, the battery takes on more damage until it no longer holds a charge. These batteries can last up to five years, but they rarely make it that long because it’s easy to discharge them below 50%.
Get More Out of Your Electric Golf Cart By Upgrading to Lithium
Many electric golf carts come with lead-acid batteries, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep them. You can convert your golf cart to the more reliable option of lithium batteries and enjoy virtually maintenance-free battery life.
Can You Convert Your Electric Golf Cart to Lithium?
Yes, you can convert your electric golf cart to lithium. In fact, our batteries are drop-in replacements for typical lead-acid batteries, so the conversion will require minimal effort on your part. You might still need extra components and programming for your cart, but usually, it’s an affordable shift.
If you have any questions about converting your lead-acid batteries to our lithium-ion drop-in replacements, give us a call at (855) 292-2831 or send us an email at [email protected]. We’d be happy to answer any questions and help you safely make the conversion.
Benefits of Lithium Batteries for Electric Golf Carts
We’ve already mentioned some of the best things about using lithium batteries for your electric golf cart, but we wanted to go into greater detail for you. Here are some things you can look forward to when you make the conversion.
Lithium batteries have a more extended range per charge. Essentially, you can go further on a single charge from your lithium battery bank than you could with your lead-acid bank.
Not only that, but the batteries charge faster (so you can be on your way faster) and give you 100% power 100% of the time.
For many golf cart users, the charging time is the most frustrating part of an electric golf cart. When it dies, you have to wait several hours for recharging before you can use it again, especially if you have lead-acid batteries that can take 8-10 hours to reach full charge.
On the flip side, you can fully charge a lithium-ion battery in 2-3 hours. If you use your golf cart frequently, this benefit makes a big difference.
Power Availability (Less Voltage Drop)
When lead-acid batteries are brand new, they’re at their peak performance. As you use and discharge them, they experience something called voltage drop, in which the amount of power that runs to your cart’s engine is lower. This is because the battery heats up and loses charge while you’re driving, leading to a slower cart with less torque.
Lithium batteries don’t have this problem. Their power level remains the same, whether you’re at 100% capacity or 20%. Like your laptop, it will continue working at full capacity until it dies.
Lead-acid batteries can’t compare to the lifespan of lithium. Most lead-acid batteries have a lifespan of 500-1200 cycles with a warranty of 2-3 years (if you’re lucky). On the other hand, our lithium batteries can last 3,000-5,000 cycles or more, plus a 10-year warranty. That’s up to 10 times as long as lead-acid batteries will last you.
Best of all, lithium-ion golf cart batteries don’t lose power when you discharge them below 50%. You can discharge them to 20% of their charge capacity without worrying about damaging them. Most lithium batteries have a built-in shut off so it won’t dip below 20%, so you won’t even risk damaging it by discharging it all the way.
FLA batteries commonly used in golf carts require regular maintenance. As you drive and the battery heats up, it evaporates the water inside, and you need to fill it regularly. Doing the maintenance is easy, but if you forget about it and it dries up, it’ll be the end of your battery.
You don’t have to worry about maintenance as often with lithium, and you won’t have to water or clean as much. You can enjoy it more often in between care.
Other Tips to Get the Most out of Your Electric Golf Cart
While your cart’s power source is among the vehicle’s most important features, it’s not the only one. Taking care of every part of the vehicle will help ensure a long and productive life for your golf cart. Here are a few other areas to maintain during the life of the cart.
Your tires contribute to everything from a smooth ride to more efficient mileage for your battery. A tire with less-than-optimal air pressure will slow you down and create unnecessary wear and tear on your tires.
Most golf cart tires have a recommended pressure between 15 and 25PSI, but check your owner’s manual for the exact spec. Invest in a pressure monitor (manual or digital) and check the pressure often.
Additionally, watch your tires for noticeable wear and tear, and rotate them annually to prevent uneven wear.
While a golf cart seems like a small motor vehicle, it has several intricate parts. Lubricating the joints will ensure your electric golf cart will run better. The areas to pay attention to the most are the steering wheel and the suspension pieces under the golf cart.
Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions and the type of oil you should use for lubrication.
Ignoring problems with your brakes could be deadly, so check your brakes regularly. If you take your cart in for regular maintenance, have the mechanic check your brakes each time.
Your brakes might be worn out if you feel vibrations in your steering wheel when you hit the brakes, your brakes squeak, the brakes lock or stick, or you have to push harder to get the brakes to engage. If you suspect something is wrong, take them to a professional right away!
Take Care of Your Electric Golf Cart
Electric golf carts are convenient as long as you take care of them. Things like addressing maintenance needs quickly and upgrading your battery can lead to a more reliable vehicle wherever you choose to use it. This means more time playing and less time worrying. Get out there and stay out there!
Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?
We know that building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!
Also, join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there and stay out there.