All About Golf Cart Batteries
If your golf cart is electric, then you already know it has a beating heart inside known as your batteries! And because golf cart batteries can be expensive, they are the one item our customers with electric carts worry about replacing the most when it comes to maintenance. But today we are going to flip your perspective and teach you everything there is to know about golf cart batteries so that you can make educated purchasing decisions, and so that when it comes time to replace your batteries (or buy a new cart) you are informed and happy knowing you are getting the very best out there.
One question we continually get from our customers is: are electric carts more expensive to own/maintain than Gas carts? The short answer is: no. And when we break down the cost of batteries over their lifetime for an electric cart vs. filling up with gas and maintaining a gas-powered cart; the costs are surprisingly similar.
Electric golf carts have many other benefits as well: they are operated noiselessly (necessary for hunting and use at many country clubs), they provide instant torque, they don’t require gasoline, oil or fuel filters to be replaced, and they don’t smell (great for indoor facility use).
What is the average life of golf cart batteries?
When standard lead-acid golf cart batteries are properly maintained, with the use of a golf cart battery charger, your batteries should last you up to 6 years with regular use. A high-quality golf cart battery charger / maintainer (like JB BATTERY) will deliver the correct electrical flow when charging your cart’s batteries and will also feature an auto shut-off function (so that you don’t fry your cart’s batteries from over-charging).
Lithium-Ion Batteries should last you 20 to 30 years!
How much do golf cart batteries cost?
Golf cart batteries are one of the more expensive maintenance costs you will have throughout your golf cart’s life, but you are saving on gas, oil, filters and other maintenance costs you would otherwise have if your cart was gas.
It is very important that you do not try to skirt around replacing your golf cart batteries without trusted high-quality replacements. Purchasing off-brand batteries or used batteries will still cost you a pretty penny, and will likely leave you feeling very upset when they die after only a short while. Worse yet, some knock-off battery brands can pose a fire-risk for your golf cart.
You will indeed get what you pay for when it comes to golf cart batteries!
What types of golf cart batteries are out there?
There are a four types of golf cart batteries available on the market:
· Flooded Lead Acid (or ‘wet cell’ batteries) are the batteries that you fill with water
· AGM Lead Acid Batteries
· Gel Lead Acid Batteries
· Lithium-Ion Golf Cart Batteries
Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries
Most golf carts on the road today have traditional Flooded Lead-Acid batteries, traditional deep-cycle lead acid batteries still work well for most all golf cart applications you can imagine (including off-roading, and more), and are still offered as standard equipment by all the major golf cart makers. But that is rapidly changing as Lithium Batteries are increasingly offered on new carts by all major manufacturers.
AGM & Gel Lead-Acid Batteries
Very few glof carts use AGM or Gel batteries, but because they are lead-acid batteries as well, they work very similarly to Flooded Lead Acid batteries. They just tend to cost more without providing any additional power output or charge-time benefits.
Lithium Golf Cart Batteries
The most explosive growth in the golf cart battery world these past few years has been Lithium Golf Cart Batteries. This is evidenced by the fact that almost all new golf carts are offered with Lithium-ion Batteries. Lithium has quickly proven itself to be the best power solution for golf carts; and we anticipate all carts will use lithium battery power in the future.
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 12, 24, 36 and 48-volt configurations that can be wired in series to provide the required voltage.
Golf cart lithium batteries are different than those lithium batteries found in cell phones and other small devices. The type of deep-cycle Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFeO4) batteries used in golf carts are one of the most stable and safe forms of Lithium-Ion batteries, and are optimized to provide a steady current.
Lithium-ion batteries still cost slightly more than Lead-Acid batteries do up front, but they provide some major benefits:
Benefits of Lithium Golf Cart Batteries
· Last 3x – 5x as long as lead acid batteries (up to 5,000 charge cycles vs 1,000 with lead-acid)
· Require no maintenance (no watering or cleaning)
· Lithium-Ion batteries do not lose power as their voltage dips (lead acid batteries get ‘tired’ as they are used)
· Recharge speeds of are significantly faster than lead acid (80% charge can be achieved for lithium in as little as 1-hour; full charge in 2-3 hours)
· Lithium-ion batteries (72lbs avg.) weigh 1/4 the weight up Lead Acid batteries (325lbs avg.)
· 95% Less Harmful Waste than lead-acid batteries
If you’re interested in purchasing Lithium-Ion batteries for your cart, we carry Drop-in-Ready Lithium batteries for golf carts from JB BATTERY.
Can I just use regular car batteries to replace my golf cart batteries?
You absolutely cannot use car batteries in your golf cart. Regular car batteries are not used to power the entire car (the combustion motor does that job). A car’s accessories (lights, radio, etc.) are then powered by its alternator once the car is running, which converts the combustion motor’s mechanical energy into electrical energy. Car batteries are mainly used to simply get the car started and to power accessories from time to time (when the car is not running).
Because car batteries are designed to run at a much lower discharge rate than deep cycle batteries, you cannot use them as the primary power source for your golf cart.
Are my golf cart batteries 6-volt, 8-volt or 12-volts?
The quickest way to determine what type of batteries your cart has (and what voltage) is:
1.Lift up your golf cart’s front seat and locate your golf cart batteries
2.Inspect your batteries for the number of acid holes they have on each battery head cover. Each battery typically has 3, 4 or 6 holes on top
3.Take the number of acid holes on one of your batteries and multiply that number by 2 to determine what the voltage of one of your golf cart batteries is
When replacing batteries in your golf cart, be sure to us the proper 6-volt, 8-volt or 12-volt golf cart batteries after inspecting your setup.
Do I have a 36v, 48v or 72v golf cart?
Example: 36-Volt Golf Cart (w/ 6, 6V Batteries system):
· 3 acid holes x 2 volts per hole = 6-volts
· 6 volts x 6 total cart batteries = 36-volt cart
Example: 48-Volt Golf Cart (w/ 6, 8V Batteries system):
· 4 acid holes x 2 volts per hole = 8-volts
· 8 volts x 6 total cart batteries = 48-volt cart
Example: 72-Volt Golf Cart (w/ 6, 12V Batteries system):
· 6 acid holes x 2 volts per hole = 12-volts
· 12 volts x 6 total cart batteries = 72-volt cart
How do Golf Cart Batteries Work?
Regular Golf cart batteries (lead-acid) work in a series, meaning the electrical flow works its way from the first battery in your setup through to the last and then distributes power to the rest of your cart.
As mentioned in sections above, multiples of 6-Volt, 8-Volt, or 12-Volt are available
Lower-voltage batteries (6V) typically have a higher amp-hour capacity than a higher-voltage (8V, 12V) alternative. For example, see the 48-Volt golf cart example below:
· 8 x 6-Volt batteries = 48-Volts with more capacity and longer run-time, but less acceleration
· 6 x 8-volt batteries = 48-Volts with less capacity, less run time, but more acceleration
The reason that an 8-batteries 48V system will have a longer run time than a 6-batteries 48V system (even at the same overall voltage) is because using more batteries with lower-voltage overall will lead to less discharge across the series of batteries during use. While using less batteries with higher voltage will provide more power and discharge quicker.
Are there any Red Flag issues with golf cart batteries?
Keep your eyes peeled for battery corrosion. Golf cart batteries are filled with an acid-and-water solution. The acid inside your batteries can cause a white crusty film to form on the top of your batteries, and at your battery contacts. This corrosion should be cleaned off thoroughly or it may cause your batteries to short, leaving your golf cart without power.
Is it okay to jump start my golf cart using my car batteries?
Do NOT jump start your deep cycle lead-acid golf cart batteries using your car. There is a very good chance you will destroy them. This is a big fat NO-NO.
How can I make my golf cart batteries last longer?
Checkout our guide on How to Get The Most out of Your Golf Cart Batteries.
You will also want to make sure you are buying “fresh” golf cart batteries and also high quality golf cart batteries.
Contact JB BATTERY, we offer the customized battery service for your fleet, we supply the “fresh” and high quality LiFePO4 batteries for your golf carts.