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Golf Cart Batteries: Everything You Need To Know

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Golf cart batteries come in various sizes and types and are the fuel that powers electric golf carts. And golfers aren’t the only ones using golf carts these days.

It’s not uncommon to see people driving around in electric golf carts in many beach towns and retirement communities. They’re also commonly used as maintenance vehicles in resorts, zoos, and parks where people on vacation don’t want to smell the fumes or hear the loud engines of traditional gas-powered vehicles.

driving a golf cart along the beach

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about the batteries in your golf cart, but understanding how they work and maintaining them is critical to the performance of your golf cart. The speed, acceleration, and run time of electric golf carts depend on the battery system configuration.

Having a better understanding of your battery system will help you get the most out of your electric golf cart. Let’s dig in!

What Are Golf Cart Batteries? 

On average, electric golf motors operate at 36 or 48 volts and draw between 50-70 amps of current while cruising at about 15 miles per hour. Keep in mind that the current draw during acceleration or while going up a hill is much higher. To keep you from getting stranded, golf cart batteries must supply a steady flow of high current for long periods.

Additionally, golf cart batteries will typically go through full charge and discharge cycles daily. Draining batteries below 50% is hard on them and often leads to a shortened lifespan and reduced performance. 

Golf cart batteries are deep-cycle batteries designed and built with additional durability to sustain prolonged current draw and frequent deep discharging. They usually come in 6, 8, and 12-volt configurations that can be wired in series to provide the required voltage. For example, six 6-volt batteries connected in series would provide 36 volts, or four 12-volt batteries would provide 48 volts. 

Lower voltage batteries typically have a higher amp-hour capacity. For example, if you wanted to provide 48 volts to your golf cart motor, eight 6-volt batteries would have more capacity and run longer than six 8-volt batteries. This is because you are using more batteries overall. 

Can You Use Regular Car Batteries in a Golf Cart?

The short answer is yes. Standard car batteries are 12-volts, and you could connect three or four of them in series to provide the required 36 or 48 volts to your golf cart motor. 

However, the design of car batteries provides a huge surge of current for short periods. The purpose of the battery in your car is to provide power while starting the engine. After that, the alternator takes over to power all of the electronics in your vehicle. Repeatedly draining a standard car battery below 50% would ruin it very quickly.

So, while you can technically use standard car batteries in your golf cart, they likely wouldn’t last very long. 

Alternatively, deep-cycle batteries are explicitly optimized to provide steady current output over long periods of time and repeatedly be deeply discharged. This makes them a much better choice for golf cart applications.

golf carts lined up at the lake

Types of Golf Cart Batteries: Lithium Vs. Lead-Acid

Lead-acid, absorbed glass mat (AGM), and lithium-ion are the three main types of deep-cycle golf cart batteries. Each has benefits and drawbacks.

Lead-Acid

Lead-acid batteries are the most common and lowest-cost deep-cycle batteries for golf carts. They consist of lead plates suspended in a sulfuric acid solution which creates a chemical reaction allowing energy to be stored. 

The main benefit of lead-acid batteries is that they have the lowest upfront cost. However, they have the shortest lifespan compared to other golf cart battery types, require the most maintenance, and are the heaviest. 

AGM 

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are a sealed variation of a lead-acid battery. In an AGM battery, the lead plates sit between electrolyte saturated fiberglass mats. AGM construction eliminates the need to refill the fluid in the battery and allows them to be sealed, making them leak-free. 

AGM batteries require less maintenance than traditional lead-acid batteries. Unfortunately, AGM batteries can be significantly more expensive without offering much additional capacity. 

Lithium-Ion

Golf carts use deep-cycle lithium iron phosphate (LiFeO4) batteries. Don’t confuse these with the lithium batteries found in small electronics. LiFeO4 batteries are safer and one of the most stable forms of Li-ion batteries. They are optimized to provide a steady current output. 

Best Batteries for Your Golf Cart: Lithium-Ion

Lithium batteries offer many advantages over lead-acid and AGM batteries, such as an extended lifespan, significant weight reduction, increased efficiency, and an overall reduction in cost.

These advantages make lithium batteries the best option for golf cart batteries.

lithium vs lead acid

Converting your golf cart to run on lithium batteries may involve some additional modifications to achieve optimal performance. With the proper charger, lithium batteries can charge much faster than lead-acid batteries. Depending on what charger is in your golf cart, you may need to replace it with a charger optimized for lithium batteries.

As lithium batteries are discharged, their voltage doesn’t drop. As we will discuss shortly, this is a major benefit. The only drawback here is that since the voltage doesn’t drop, there is no warning that your battery is dying until it is dead.

With this in mind, another addition that we recommend is a battery monitor, such as the Victron BMV-700. The battery monitor allows you to see how much remaining charge you have left and helps keep you from getting stranded.

Close up shot of a 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Battle Born Battery

Can I Use Battle Born Batteries in My Golf Cart? 

Yes, you can use Battle Born Batteries in your golf cart! They do require a golf cart that has a governor installed. Governors limit the speed of the golf cart, which, in turn, limits the current draw. Battle Born Batteries have a continuous discharge current limit of 100 amps and can discharge at up to 200 amps for 30 seconds. Exceeding these limits will cause the battery to shut off.

Battle Born Batteries are all 12-volts. You will need to connect three of them in series for a 36-volt system or four in series for a 48-volt system. If needed, wiring additional batteries in parallel will provide additional run time capacity.

Benefits of Lithium Batteries over Lead-Acid

Lithium batteries offer many advantages over lead-acid for golf cart applications. Let’s look at each of them in more detail.

Longer Lifespan and Warranty

As lead-acid batteries go through charge and discharge cycles, they can never be fully charged to their original capacity. Over time, they slowly wear out until the voltage drop mentioned above is too great. When this happens, the battery can’t power your golf cart any longer, even on a full charge. This is not the case for lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries typically last for five to ten times as long as lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries are true deep-cycle batteries with minimal impact on their lifespan as they go through repeated charge and discharge cycles. 

Battle Born lithium batteries generally come with a 10-year warranty. Compare this to lead-acid batteries, which usually only have a 1-2 year limited warranty. 

More Energy Efficient

As mentioned above, lithium batteries have a flatter voltage curve than lead-acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries can typically only be discharged to about 50% of their capacity before the voltage drop is too significant and your golf cart dies.

Conversely, lithium batteries can discharge almost entirely with minimal voltage drop. This means that you can use nearly the entire capacity of a lithium battery each time you charge it. 

Additionally, lithium golf cart batteries can fully charge with the proper charger in about two hours, which is significantly faster than their lead-acid counterparts.

Less Heavy

Lithium batteries are about half the weight of lead-acid deep-cycle batteries. Reducing the weight of the golf cart increases your runtime, allowing you to spend more time driving and less time charging.

Less Overall Cost

Lithium golf cart batteries have a higher initial cost but often provide overall cost savings over time since they last 5-10 times longer than lead-acid batteries.

Safer

One significant risk in all types of batteries is thermal runaway. Thermal runaway causes damage to the battery and can even lead to a fire if not controlled quickly.

Lead-acid batteries offer no protection against thermal runaway. On the other hand, lithium batteries have an integrated battery management system (BMS) that helps regulate the battery’s temperature, monitors for internal shorts, and shuts down the battery if thermal runaway is detected.

The advances in lithium battery technology have helped them become much safer than their lead-acid counterparts.

Upgrade Your Golf Cart to Lithium-Ion Batteries

Whether you’re heading out for a round of golf or cruising around the beach, having a reliable golf cart battery is critical. Nobody wants to get stranded!

Lithium batteries offer a great option to keep your cart running longer while also minimizing maintenance needs and saving you some money in the long run.

Check out our American-assembled 12V LiFePO4 batteries today! And call our knowledgeable, Nevada-based customer service team if you need any help finding what you’re looking for.

A woman driving a golf cart decorated for the 4th of July giving the camera a thumbs up

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.


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26 thoughts on “Golf Cart Batteries: Everything You Need To Know

  1. What are the costs associated with converting a 10 year old Club Car with six 8 volt lead acid batteries? How much does it cost to have the modifications made? Can I do it myself?

    1. Hi Renato, thanks for reaching out. Please give our sales and tech team a call at 855-292-2831 for any recommendations for this build.

  2. Are 2 lithium bats suffice to replace my 6 8v bats and will I nd to replace my onboard Lester summit 2 charger? If so please provide details.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Kevin, thank you so much for your patience, I apologize for the delay in replying. For chargers, our team notes that voltage parameters need to be met. For a 48V battery bank, it would be 56.8-58.4V. As long as it’s within that range, it should be good to charge. You can also give our sales and tech team a call at 855-292-2831 to assist with system specs and get you the proper power you need.

  3. I too would like to know costs of converting a 6 battery 8 volt Club Car golf cart to a Lithium system. Mine is also ten years old Precedent.

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for reaching out! Our batteries work best in governed golf carts. You can give our sales and tech team a call at 855-292-2831 and they would be able to assist with looking into getting you drop-in replacements for your system.

  4. I understand there is no way to extinguish a lithium battery fire. Is this true and what is the likely danger of a lithium battery fire in a golf cart.

    1. Hi Dave, thank you for reaching out regarding your concerns. We always strive to emphasize how safe our batteries are. All Battle Born Batteries use the safest and most stable components, including a LiFePO4 cathode and a built-in Battery Management System (BMS). We strive to include all the best safety features into our battery, and this is what makes us a leader in the deep cycle replacement market. We are constantly developing new innovations to increase safety in our batteries. If you have any additional questions, I strongly encourage you to check out our technology webpage here: https://dragonflyenergy.com/the-technology/

  5. How safe from over heating or creating a fire are Lithium Batteries in a golf cart. What if the golf cart stay stationary for multiple months in extreme heat (Florida Summers).
    Thanks
    Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff! On the high end of the temperature range, the batteries will shut down once 135°F is reached. The storage temperature range is -10°F to 140°F (-23°C to 60°C). All Battle Born Batteries use the safest and most stable components, including a LiFePO4 cathode and a built-in Battery Management System (BMS). We strive to include all the best safety features into our battery, and this is what makes us a leader in the deep cycle replacement market.

      If you have any additional questions please give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2831.

  6. I have a YAMAHA UMAX electric AC golf car (2019 model) in which I have a 48 volt 150 AH Li Ion battery.

    A major issue is that, on a hill going dowhill, the cart automatically goes into a freewheel mode. The drag from the electric motor quits. On small hills I coast down at 28 MPH. On bigger hills I doubt there is a limit — I have not tried.

    After freewheeling, the car can be stopped with the brakes but the cart is dead.

    Disconnecting the battery from the controller, flipping the tow/run switch or letting the cart come to a stop then run backwards all seem to reset everything as though nothing had happened. The voltage remains at 52 volts. The battery is normally fully charged but the effect occurs even when it isn’t.

    Is this a BMS issue? What normally happens to a cart in motion (say 18- 19 MPH) if the battery is suddenly disconnected? Could the regen from a UMAX trip a BMS? Would the BMS/battery shutdown, if that is what it is, damage the Yamaha/Toyota controller or Voltage regulator?

    I have not talked to anyone who has had this issue with lead-acid batteries.

    Thanks for you perspective.

    Barrie

    1. Hi Barrie, thank you for reaching out. Please give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2832 and they would be able to get more information to help you troubleshoot.

  7. Just replaced my golf cart lead acid with 4 x 12 v Battleborn deep cycle lithium. The voltage meter on EZGO RVX cart pegged as fully charged so I did not put on 48v Delta Q 18a charger,

    Everything went well down our short hill and playing 9 holes on a flat course. However the return trip was a nightmare. As we started up our hill power was lost 4 times in half a mile. These were hard emergency stops, so abrupt the tires skidded and nearly puts one through the windshield. It takes a while for batteries to re- energize. Meanwhile your stranded unable to move cart in the middle of the road presenting a real hazard.

    I understand that individual battery charging is recommended. Can I charge individually with my 48 v charger. My charger has profiles for AGM and GEL. Which is best?

    I don’t want to do anything to VOID WARRANTY because I am seriously thinking I should return these batteries as Unsuitable.

    After talking to Tech Support encouraged that disconnecting batteries and charging INDIVIDUALLY each 12 v to 14.2 to 14.6 v, sustaining this range 30 minutes after charge. This preparation will allow proper 48v series connections.

    Will update as to success or failure.

    1. Hi Larry, thank you for reaching out and we sincerely apologize that this happened. Please give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2831 to troubleshoot and potentially begin a return process.

    1. Hi Sally, please give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2831 and they will be able to assist with a system assessment for your vehicle.

  8. I have a 2014 EZGO TXT 48 that i recently converted to a 5hp 3 phase motor and 600 amp controller. currently using 6 – 8 volt Interstate GC8-HCL-UT batteries. Run time has not seemed to be affected by this modification. These batteries are now five years old, so I’m thinking about replacements fairly soon and have been thinking about switching to lithium. What are your recommendations?

  9. There’s no doubt that lithium ion batteries offer superior benefits to their lead acid counterparts. Golf cart owners who make the switch won’t be disappointed. Thanks for this helpful write-up!

  10. My dad’s interested in buying a golf cart next month, but he wants to know more about its battery options first. It’s good to know about what kind of batteries are used to get a golf cart running, so I’m sure my dad would like to read this too. I appreciate your information on choosing a golf cart battery that’d last for a long time.

  11. Hi, I have a 2002 Ford think with a 6x12v Lead Acid setup. Stock batteries are 12v, 100AH, strung together in series for 72 nominal voltage.
    I’d like to go with your LiFePO4, but have a few questions:
    1) Given the usable charge you indicate the Lithium batteries have, do I need the full 72v 100AH capacity, or can I reduce it to 72v 50AH and pretty much keep the stock range, keep the costs lower, and lighten up the cart too.
    2) is your Battleborn BMS compatible with the Delta Q quiq charger: https://evdrives.com/delta-q-quiq-onboard-72v-battery-charger-912-7200/.
    thanks!

    1. Hi Van. Our batteries are not manufactured to be used in 72V systems. The maximum amount of our 12V batteries you can wire together in series is 4, which would create a 48V system.

  12. I like that you talked about how deep-cycle batteries will be able to provide steady current output for a long time and can be repeatedly discharged at the same time. I can imagine how choosing those types of golf cart batteries will be worth it for the second-hand cart we were able to buy. We are actually planning to use it for my grandparents so that they can go out and stroll around the neighborhood if they like.

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