Lithium vs Lead Acid Golf Cart Batteries
Since 2018, lithium batteries have grown more and more popular for golf cart owners. In fact, some golf carts now come already stocked with them. While you can still purchase one with lead acid batteries, they are slowly getting harder to find and no longer the standard. It’s likely that in the near future, golf carts won’t even be offered with lead acid batteries as a choice anymore.
Whether you’re using your cart for golf or just to get around your neighborhood, you may want to consider making the switch. There’s a very good reason that lithium batteries are taking the golf cart industry by storm. They have several benefits and advantages over lead acid batteries. We’ll briefly talk about what those benefits and advantages are today and get into more details in the coming weeks.
Lithium batteries are great because they give your vehicle more consistent power. LIthium batteries provide the same amount of instant power, no matter how much charge is left or what terrain you’re driving on.
If you have a golf cart with lead acid batteries, then you already know that your cart will slow down dramatically when you’re going up a hill. It also starts to slow down as the level of charge decreases. With a lithium battery, the power never fades. It has the same exact voltage outputs at every level of charge. This means that even if your lithium battery is down to 10% charge, you’ll still have the same amount of speed and power to get up the next hill as you would if the battery was at 100%!
Another huge advantage that lithium batteries have over lead acid is their charging time. In just one hour, lithium batteries can be charged to around 80% and reach 100% in less than four hours if you have the right charger. On the other hand, lead acid batteries take eight hours to fully charge, so double the time. Plus, lead acid batteries can be damaged if they’re charged to less than 100% often. Lithium batteries are not susceptible to this damage, which means you can get on the road after an hour of charge if you need to.
Also, lead acid batteries should never go below 50% charge, so you don’t get a whole lot of use out of them before you need to charge them up again. With lithium batteries, you can safely use the entire charge. This is such a huge convenience, considering you’ll get more time on the cart and spend less time charging.
Lead acid batteries require a lot of maintenance. You have to worry about adding water, cleaning corrosion, and checking acid levels. You have to worry about accidental spills that are hazardous. If you’re doing this maintenance yourself, you need to make sure you have the tools needed.
Lithium batteries require zero maintenance. Yes, you heard that correctly, ZERO maintenance! They obviously don’t have any liquid, so there’s nothing to check, clean, or fill. You don’t need any tools at all. Not only does this save you a whole lot of hassle, it also saves you time and money, as it won’t ever have to be in the shop or you won’t have to spend the time yourself taking care of it.
Whether you’re using your cart for golf or as a vehicle to get around, there may be times that your golf cart is sitting unused. Now, if you use it relatively often, this may not be an issue. But, if you were to leave your golf cart sitting for a month without use, a lead acid battery would lose about 33% of its charge, requiring maintenance time to recharge it. On the other hand, Lithium would only lose 2-3% charge. This means that with lead acid batteries, your golf cart would be dead in just over three months. If you had lithium batteries, your cart would still have 75% of its charge after an entire year of non-use.
One of the biggest benefits to lithium batteries is that they weigh a fraction of what lead acid batteries weigh. You also won’t need as many lithium batteries to power your golf cart as you do lead acid. Lead acid batteries weigh about 85 lbs each so a set of 6 would weigh about 510 lbs. On the other hand, lithium batteries weigh about 25 lbs each so a set of 4 is about 100 lbs. If you were to replace all your lead acid batteries with lithium in a standard golf cart, you’d reduce the weight by more than 400 pounds!
The reason this is so important is that it gives you a significant power-to-weight ratio advantage, which has multiple benefits. The first is that your golf cart can carry more weight. You’ll be able to add two additional, average sized people or their weight equivalent without worrying about reaching capacity! The second is that your cart will be able to reach higher speeds, which means you’ll be able to get where you need to go much faster. With lower weight, you may also get an increase in ride height, likely somewhere from half an inch to an inch, which makes getting over those neighborhood speed bumps a little easier. Lastly, customers report feeling more control and maneuverability with their cart after switching to lithium batteries.
Lithium batteries last a lot longer than lead acid batteries. They also have improved technology that makes them quite a bit safer than lead acid. We’ll go into more detail on these topics in future articles. We’ll also discuss the pricing for both and compare the cost over time.
For now, you should have a good idea about the main benefits of switching from lead acid batteries to lithium batteries.
If you’re worried about the switch being difficult, it’s not! It’s as easy as replacing your lead acid batteries. Maybe even easier! All you need to do is take out your lead acid batteries and put in your 12 volt lithium batteries. Reattach the cables and secure the holding brackets. As mentioned above, you’ll need less lithium batteries total. This may leave you with extra room under your seat. If that bothers you at all, you can buy some cheap battery blankets to fill the space. That’s it! You’ve now got a faster, lighter, and more reliable golf cart.