As electric golf carts are becoming more ubiquitous, we felt it’s about time we talked about golf cart batteries.
Batteries are the centrepieces of your electric golf cart, and your cart’s performance depends on its quality and effectiveness. Besides, batteries are a sizeable investment, which means taking good care of them is all the more critical.
In this article, we’ll talk about everything there is to know about golf cart batteries. You’ll find everything here from different battery types to finally detect the signs when to replace it. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Types of golf cart batteries
Electric golf carts typically use two types of batteries, namely, Lead-acid batteries and Lithium-ion batteries. Of these, Lead-acid batteries are more common than their Lithium-ion counterparts.
They are primarily cheaper, easy to manufacture, and the technology is tried and tested for more than a century. On the other hand, lithium batteries require advanced technology and are more expensive.
That being said, Lithium-ion batteries are on the rise and are proliferating at an unprecedented rate. As the technology required for mass production of lithium batteries gets cheaper in the coming years, lithium-ion batteries’ growth is also expected to rise.
Moreover, they are more environmentally friendly than lead-acid batteries, which further supports their cause.
However, as of now, an overwhelming majority of golf carts use lead-acid batteries, so we’ll primarily focus on them. Lead Acid Batteries are further classified into three sub-types.
1. Flooded Lead-Acid
These are non-sealed batteries and use lead plates and sulphuric acid. These batteries are usually cheaper but require regular maintenance.
2. Gel Lead Acid
These batteries are much safer, durable, and require minimal maintenance. They have a thickening agent that keeps the electrolytes still, thus enhancing durability.
3. AGM Lead Acid
Absorbent Glass Mat or AGM batteries use a fiberglass separator for electrolytes and are much more durable, efficient, and safer than others.
How long do golf cart batteries last and factors responsible for battery lifespan
There is no definite answer to this question. It can range from a few months to several years. How long your golf cart batteries will last depends on a host of different factors, some of which we have mentioned below.
Regular maintenance is critical for extending your battery’s life expectancy, especially for lead-acid batteries. In contrast, lithium batteries require no maintenance whatsoever.
Once you’ve bought it, you don’t need to worry about anything.
Whereas in the case of lead-acid batteries, you’ll have to perform periodic maintenance. This includes regularly changing the water, preventing corrosion, and many others. A well maintained lead-acid battery can last anywhere between 5 to 8 years, maybe even longer.
2. Fleet cart or personal cart
Whether a golf cart is for personal use or is part of a larger commercial fleet is a decisive factor in determining the golf cart battery’s durability.
Fleet golf carts are used more frequently than personal carts so they are generally less durable. While a personal golf cart is used sporadically by the user and thus its battery has higher longevity.
Fleet carts usually have a lifespan of up to 6 years if they are well maintained. On the other hand, some users have reported getting up to 10 years from their personal golf cart’s battery.
3. Battery brand
It is a well-established fact that a branded product generally lasts longer than a generic one. The same is true for golf cart batteries. Purchasing a battery from a renowned manufacturer assures you of its quality and reliability.
Prominent brands like Trojan, Universal Power Group, Expert Power, and Lifeline are some of the leading manufacturers of golf cart batteries.
However, branded batteries are more expensive than generic ones. Generic batteries are significantly cheaper but will die out very soon and will not come with any warranty.
Just like the motor uses the golf cart battery as the primary power source, so do the accessories. All golf carts have basic accessories like headlamps, but many people like to go install additional accessories on their carts, including, LED light kits, speakers, heaters, and several others.
The more accessories you’ll attach, the higher amount of battery power will get utilized, and hence the battery lifespan will shrink.
5. Type of battery
As we have mentioned before, lead-acid and lithium-ion are the two primary battery types. Of these lithium-ion are more durable than the former. A complete discharge followed by a full charge is called a “cycle”.
Typically, most lead-acid batteries last an average of 500 to 1000 cycles. AGM lead-acid batteries have the capacity to deliver more cycles than other lead-acid variants.
On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries have a much higher cycle life. On average, you can expect a lithium battery to deliver at least 2000 cycles and this number can go as high as 5000.
6. When to replace golf cart batteries
No one wants their golf cart to suddenly stop working in the middle of a game due to the fact that the battery has died. If you want to avoid these situations, we recommend that you replace your golf cart battery when the time is right.
But how does one figure out when to change a golf cart battery. Don’t worry we’ll help you out. Your battery will display subtle signs when it needs replacing and you need to keep a watchful eye for those. Here are a few signs that it’s time to replace your golf cart battery.
7. Physical changes to battery
If you start to notice physical changes in your battery, like bulging or leaking, then it’s a clear indication that the battery has run its course. Sometimes a battery might even show cracks and the electrolyte will ooze out.
In those situations, your first priority should be to handle it with care, and please wear gloves while you do so, as it can be corrosive.
Periodic cleaning is the best way to ensure that corrosion does not harm the battery and your golf cart. In any case, if you see acid leaking out of the battery, you should replace it immediately.
Also, when disposing of a lead-acid battery, you should be extremely careful as they are an environmental hazard.
8. Less power and torque
As your battery’s demise will get nearer, you’ll notice less torque and power in your electric golf cart. For example, your cart will find it harder to climb hills on a golf course.
You might also notice the lack of instant acceleration when you press the pedal, your golf cart will pick speed slower than usual. If you notice any of these, it means the time to replace your golf cart’s battery is approaching.
9. Accessories fail to operate
As mentioned earlier, your accessories like speakers and LED light kits will also use your golf cart’s battery for a power source. This puts an additional strain on the battery and can decrease its lifespan.
If your accessories stop working or display a decreased level of intensity, it means that your battery’s time with you might be coming to an end.
10. Longer charging
Batteries typically get fully charged in a few hours; lithium batteries charge faster than their lead-acid counterparts. If you notice that your battery is taking much longer to fully charge than usual, it is a good idea to look for a new battery.