In the past, electric golf carts primarily used lead-acid batteries. These batteries are the first type of rechargeable battery ever created. Lead-acid batteries have powered many different vehicles and items over the years. However, since 2018, lithium batteries have become more and more popular for golf carts.
Lithium batteries are a newer technology with a lot of benefits and features for golf cart owners. It doesn’t matter if you use your golf cart at the course or to get around your neighborhood, lithium batteries are still a better option. Whether you’ve done some research or this is your first time reading about lithium batteries, this article will cover everything you need to know to decide if you should make the switch.
Lithium Batteries’ Improved Technology
Lithium batteries have many different advantages over lead-acid batteries. They have improved technology, which increases the safety and reliability of your golf cart.
Lithium batteries come with a built-in battery management system (BMS). This system makes sure that the battery is not overcharged or over-discharged. If you overcharge a lithium battery, it can overheat, leading to a fire or explosion. Over-discharging a battery will ruin it, making it unable to recharge. With the BMS, you don’t have to worry about either of those happening.
The BMS also continually monitors the battery, making sure that it is always in optimal working range. It does this by comparing the overall condition, energy reserves, and temperature against the battery’s age. If the energy storage starts to get hot, there are multiple safety circuits that prevent it from overheating.
Lithium batteries also have a cell supervision circuit (CSC) that monitors each individual cell. This helps to ensure optimal battery performance. The CSC and the BMS work together to improve the safety and reliability of your golf cart. They also reduce maintenance time since you won’t have to worry about battery malfunction.
Benefits of Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries provide many benefits to golf cart owners. These range from weight, capacity, speed, performance to power, charging times, no maintenance, and cost savings over time. We’ll discuss each briefly, but you can learn more details about most of them here.
Lithium batteries are about a third of the weight of lead-acid. Plus, you don’t need as many batteries to power your cart. This means you’ll reduce the weight of your standard golf cart by 300 pounds! You may be wondering why this is important. Well, not only can you carry an additional two passengers, you’ll also be able to reach higher speeds without the performance suffering.
With lead-acid batteries, the lower the charge, the less power your cart has. So, as your battery gets lower, your golf cart starts to slow down. It also has more difficulty getting up hills and you’ve probably noticed a serious decline in speed when you’re on an incline.
You won’t have this problem at all with lithium batteries. They maintain the same voltage and power, no matter their charge. They provide instant power and can handle hills and inclines without losing speed.
Another huge advantage lithium batteries have over lead-acid is their charging capabilities. You can use the full charge on a lithium battery, whereas it’s safer to charge your lead-acid once it gets down to around 50%.
Lead-acid batteries take around 8 hours to fully recharge, even though you haven’t used the full charge! On the other hand, lithium batteries only take around 3-4 hours to fully charge. Plus, you can charge it to 80% in an hour and it’s safe to use without worrying about the damage that lead-acid batteries are susceptible to if not charged to 100%.
Lithium batteries don’t require any regular maintenance. As mentioned above, the improved technology and the systems these batteries have monitor the battery to keep it performing optimally.
While lead-acid batteries obviously contain acid, lithium does not. That means that all the regular maintenance you may be used to doing for your golf cart is now unnecessary. Without acid, you don’t have to worry about hazardous spills. You also don’t need to regularly check acid levels, add water, or clean corrosion.
Another huge benefit to lithium batteries is that they last longer than lead-acid. On average, lithium batteries will last about twice as long as lead-acid, giving you about ten years of power. This is due to many factors, which you can read about in more detail here.
The abbreviated version is that, to begin with, lithium batteries have more cycles than lead-acid. They also don’t lose as much charge when left unused. Lead-acid batteries lose about 33% of their battery in a month if they’re not used. Lithium batteries only lose 2-3%. You could leave your golf cart in the garage for a year and still have 75% of your battery left!
It’s true that lithium batteries cost more than lead-acid upfront. However, you will save money over time if you make the switch. In an upcoming article, we’ll get into the nitty gritty on golf cart battery pricing. For now, you can already probably see how lithium batteries savings can add up.
They need to be replaced less often, don’t require maintenance, take less time to charge - saving money on your energy bill, etc.
Lithium Batteries for Your Golf Cart
Hopefully this article has given you a good idea of what lithium golf cart batteries are and why you should consider making the switch. The numerous benefits you’ll get, from safety and reliability to speed and power, should demonstrate why the higher upfront cost is worth it.
If you do decide to convert to lithium batteries, you can easily replace the batteries yourself, saving on installation costs. The lighter weight also makes it possible to get them installed without hurting your back! Most lithium batteries come drop-in ready. So all you have to do is remove the lead-acid and replace them with lithium, reattach the cables, and secure the holding brackets. It’s that easy to switch to better performing, more reliable, more cost-effective, and safer batteries.