Lithium batteries are here to stay. They are key to the hybrid and electric car revolution. Their use in other electric-powered vehicles such as golf carts was just a matter of time.
In this guide, you will find all you need to know about lithium batteries applied to golf carts.
- Who Makes Golf Carts With Lithium Batteries?
- EZ-Go Elite Express S4
- Club Car Onward 4 Passengers
- Garia Golf Cart
- Are Lithium Batteries Good for Golf Carts?
- How Far Can a Lithium Golf Cart Go?
- How Long Does a Lithium Battery Last in a Golf Cart?
- Can You Put Lithium Batteries in an Old Golf Cart?
- What Size Lithium Battery Do I Need for a Golf Cart?
- What is the Cost of a Lithium Battery for a Golf Cart?
- Can You Convert a 48V Golf Cart to Lithium Battery?
- What Is the Best Lithium Golf Battery?
- Can You Leave Lithium Golf Batteries on Charge?
Who Makes Golf Carts With Lithium Batteries?
There are 3 well-known golf cars and small electric utility vehicles manufacturers that are making golf carts with lithium batteries. These are EZ-Go, Club Car, and Garia. As lithium battery packages are not cheap, most companies offer them as optional.
Below you will find three models fitted from factory lithium battery packs available in the US and many other countries.
EZ-Go Elite Express S4
This golf cart doesn’t have the classic look that you would expect to find in a typical golf cart. It looks sportier, and the big off-road wheels help to give it that appearance and you can order it in different colors.
The best feature of this model is that it’s powered by a pack of Samsung SDI batteries, which gives it remarkable performance and autonomy.
Its 72V batteries are maintenance-free, and they are covered by an 8-year warranty, which is more than the industry standard.
This cart comes with 4 seats that can be folded down to give it more storage capacity. The lithium batteries make the cart very practical, and they charge twice as fast as regular lead-acid batteries.
The cart comes with plenty of storage, a cooler space, a USB port, and as an optional, you can order a turn signal package for it to be used on the street.
Club Car Onward 4 Passengers
The “Onward” series, made by Club Car, offers a 58V lithium battery package as an optional.
These are high-performance batteries that give the car good acceleration, good climbing capacity, and excellent overall performance.
The batteries of the 8P lithium-ion version are maintenance-free and are covered by a 6-year warranty.
There are plenty of options to configure your golf cart, from the exterior color to the suspension type, the canopy, the diameter of the wheels (10” or 12”), and more.
You can even order it with a Bluetooth soundbar for an enhanced audio experience whilst driving on the golf course or downtown.
Although the 58V battery package is very efficient and has all the benefits that lithium batteries offer, it is advisable to use the cart in “Eco-Mode” to have a decent range.
Garia Golf Cart
Garia is a Danish company with a subsidiary in the US founded in 2005. They make small luxury vehicles.
Their model was simply called “Golf,” and the street-legal model “Garia Street Legal” is worth mentioning.
Both models can be ordered with a 120Ah or a 180Ah lithium battery pack.
The AC controller can handle 375 Amps, like the Onward 4. The power output is similar too; it has 4HP with a peak of 15HP when it’s not set on “Eco-Mode.”
The range of these vehicles can reach up to 40 miles, depending on the use, speed, weather, etc.
Both models offer lots of options; for example, you can choose between 2 and 4 seats, the size of the wheels (10” or 12”), and much more.
Regarding the wheels, an interesting feature is that the 10” wheel option gives a car a more traditional image for those who don’t like their golf cart to look like a mini off-road ATV.
Are Lithium Batteries Good for Golf Carts?
Yes, lithium batteries are the best type of batteries to power a golf cart because they last longer than conventional lead-acid batteries, charge faster, are lighter, and last up to five times longer than traditional batteries.
Lithium batteries don’t lose power while they lose charge, which will make your golfing day more enjoyable.
In fact, lithium batteries seem to be the future power source for almost every newly manufactured land vehicle.
They are long-lasting and are completely maintenance-free.
As they are almost 3 times lighter than conventional batteries, they make golf carts lighter, increasing their speed, performance, and autonomy.
How Far Can a Lithium Golf Cart Go?
A typical 48V lithium-powered golf cart can run between 25 and 40 miles with a full charge. The exact mileage depends on cart weight, battery capacity, terrain driven on, and the average speed.
To further expand on the above reasons and what affects the distance a golf cart can travel on a single charge:
- The weight of the golf cart, the passengers’ and cargo weight.
- The battery/s capacity. It is measured in Amperes and, to explain it simply, it’s similar to the gas capacity a fuel tank can load – the more fuel you store, the further you can go.
- The terrain’s type and condition. Running over muddy roads requires more power than running over a smooth surface like tarmac. The same goes for slopy terrains. It’s not the same running through a flat surface as having to climb small hills and slopes.
- Speed is another factor that determines how far a lithium golf cart can go. More speed requires more power. That’s why most electric golf carts have different driving modes that limit the speed the vehicle can reach to save battery life.
How Long Does a Lithium Battery Last in a Golf Cart?
A lithium battery in a golf cart can last up to 10 years. This is three to four times what a traditional lead-acid battery can last. Also, lead-acid batteries need regular maintenance to ensure they reach their expected lifespan, while lithium batteries don’t need any maintenance at all.
If you translate this number into charge cycles, the numbers are outstanding. Lithium batteries can endure between 2,000 and 5,000 full charging cycles versus the 500 to 1,000 full charging cycles conventional batteries can hold.
Another benefit of lithium batteries is that you can charge them at any time without risking damaging them.
You don’t have to wait until they are completely discharged or reach a certain charge level to recharge them. Awesome, right?
Can You Put Lithium Batteries in an Old Golf Cart?
Yes, you can place lithium batteries in a golf cart with some minor modifications. The battery replacement is best explained as two methods where the first is to simply replace your existing battery with a lithium-powered one and the second way is to utilize a 48v conversion kit.
The first way is easiest and you should try this step first if you are doing the procedure yourself and are a beginner to auto electronics.
You can just purchase a drop-in replacement battery for your old lead-acid batteries, and you are ready to go.
You will have some of the benefits that lithium batteries offer, but you will still have a 12V powered golf cart.
The other option is to install a 48V conversion kit.
They are more expensive and difficult to install, but it’s worth it in the long run since it brings a huge improvement to your golf cart’s performance.
These kits come with all the necessary items to make the conversion. Some even include a new motor.
They make your cart go faster, further, and will refresh it for a fraction of the cost of a brand new 48V lithium-powered cart price.
For example, EZGO offers a 160AH full conversion kit for around 3 thousand dollars.
What Size Lithium Battery Do I Need for a Golf Cart?
You will need at least a 56 AH (Amperes per hour) battery pack to complete a round of 18 holes in a golf cart. It’s the minimum amount that you should have. 100AH can be enough to power your cart for 36 holes, depending on the road conditions, the cart’s weight, and other factors stated.
You should keep in mind how far you live from the golf court if you park your golf cart at home; you won’t want to be left stranded on your way back.
You should also consider whether you are going alone, or whether you are going to drive your friends.
100AH is an ideal size, but the bigger size you buy, the better so that you can play without worrying about your cart’s battery charge level.
What is the Cost of a Lithium Battery for a Golf Cart?
Lithium batteries for a golf cart can go from $350 to $1000+ depending on several factors including battery volt rating, capacity, weight, brand, charging cycle limits, discharge rate, and size.
The breakdown of these reasons are explained as:
- Battery voltage rating (12V, 36V, 48V, etc.).
- Battery capacity (measured in Amperes).
- Battery weight.
- Brand of the battery – top brands include LiFePO4, Trojan, Samsung, Dakota, RoyPow, Allied, RELiON, Battle Born, Ampere Time, Kuboka, Enjoybot, and ExpertPower.
- A maximum number of charge cycles the battery can withstand.
- Battery’s discharge rate (the time that it can hold its charge while it’s not used).
- The size of the battery.
The cost of a lithium battery for your golf cart may seem a little steep.
However, bear in mind all the benefits that lithium batteries have over their classic lead-acid counterparts.
You will be saving money and headaches in the long run when you change over to lithium.
Can You Convert a 48V Golf Cart to Lithium Battery?
Yes here are plug-and-play kits consisting of lithium battery packages that can be fitted in carts using standard lead-acid battery packs of 6 8-Volt batteries or 4 12V batteries. The kit you should buy to upgrade your golf cart depends on the standard configuration of the cart’s batteries.
These kits usually don’t require extra modifications and are easy to install.
As mentioned above, there are more advanced kits that will even change your cart’s motor, giving you lots of extra power and autonomy.
Upgrading your cart to lithium batteries will save you a lot of weight, and you will enjoy all the benefits of using lithium batteries.
What Is the Best Lithium Golf Battery?
The best current lithium battery manufacturers for golf cars are RELiON, Samsung, Trojan, and Allied. It would be unfair to name just one brand since there are more than 20 lithium golf battery makers, all of them excellent and at the same level.
Moreover, most of these manufacturers provide well-known golf cart makers to build their lithium-powered products.
Take Samsung, for example, with its 72V SDI model, used to power EZ-Go vehicles.
These companies have an extensive range of models. Still, they all are prestigious and have been working on this technology for years.
There are many models and applications to choose only one winner for this category.
But if you buy a vehicle fitted with any of these batteries, or if you buy a top model of any of these brands, you can be sure that you have purchased one of the best products available in the market.
Can You Leave Lithium Golf Batteries on Charge?
No, it’s dangerous to leave lithium golf cart batteries on charge and can also shorten their life. It’s never safe to leave unsupervised electric products plugged in. Most chargers are designed to cut out once the batteries are fully charged to minimize the risk of overcharging and overheating.
However, it’s best to unplug the charger as soon as you notice that the batteries are charged.
Besides, like any other battery, lithium batteries’ life gets shortened when they are overcharged.
Sometimes, overcharging can lead to the battery’s complete failure.
Another important reason why you should never leave your lithium batteries on charge is that they contain very flammable components that could explode by heat exposure.
Also, you shouldn’t leave your lithium batteries on charge unattended because it’s not eco-friendly.
Lithium batteries can hold their charge extremely well when they are left unused.
If you are not going to use your golf cart for a while, just top the batteries’ charge, and store the vehicle. You will have it ready to go the next time you need to use it.
As you can see, lithium batteries are a great improvement and as we have covered there are good, reliable, golf carts with lithium batteries that will last for years with practically zero maintenance.
Many models come with factory lithium batteries, and there are many ways to make conventional golf cars lithium-powered.
There are many advantages to using lithium batteries in golf carts, such as weight reduction, constant power delivery, fast charging, long life, zero maintenance, and more.
If you own an electric golf cart powered by conventional lead-acid batteries, you should consider upgrading to lithium batteries.
If you are looking to buy a new golf cart, try to buy the latest and best technology: a lithium-powered golf cart. You won’t regret it.