Golf Car Batteries: Lead Acid vs. Lithium

Last year (2017) E-Z-GO released their ELiTE range of golf cars, becoming the first major manufacturer to adopt lithium-ion battery technology in their golf cars.

This was thanks to a collaboration with Samsung SDI, hundreds of lithium cells are used in one battery pack, and these battery packs are controlled by a Battery Management System the monitors everything from battery health to their temperature and efficiency.

Golf clubs have been keen to make use of the new technology, with a growing number of Golf Car UK’s customers choosing the RXV ELiTE golf car over the normal lead acid vehicle, even though the ELiTE car is slightly more expensive. The price difference is still one of the hurdles when deciding on what golf car to purchase, but when you factor in some of the following features you can see how the RXV ELiTE becomes the most obvious option for any golf club.

Sustainability

Golf clubs all over the UK will have policies in place to help reduce their impact on the environment and all golfers will be conscious of how they are contributing to this.

Electric golf buggies and utility vehicles are an obvious solution as to how the golf industry can reduce the carbon emissions while on the course. Lead acid batteries can be recycled, but their life-span of ~4 years before they’ll need replacing.

The Lithium-Ion batteries in the ELiTE golf cars are warrantied for 5 years, and take less time to fully charge, so they’ll be better for the environment.

 


 

Charging

The current level of technology of electric vehicles means that they’ll need recharging regularly in order to get the best performance from them.

It takes approximately 8 hours for a set of four 12V batteries to recharge fully, and to optimise the battery life span they should be left to complete each charging cycle.

A lithium-ion battery on the ELiTE golf cars can recharge up to 80% of their capacity in just one hour, and complete a full charge in under 4 hours. Lithium-ion batteries can also be charged to less than 100 percent with no long term effects on the battery lifespan. As such ELiTE golf cars can “opportunity charge”, plugging in vehicles for quick charges that will rapidly restore useable levels of energy.

Maintenance

It’s important to take care of your golf cars batteries so that you get consistent performance & reliability across the life of the vehicle. Regular checks for wear and tear, especially to the steering, batteries and body, will ensure that your buggies are available more often. Lead acid batteries require weekly checks on the battery terminals, water levels and ensuring that they complete charging cycles in order to get the best performance from them. This can take a few minutes per buggy, but it’s time that builds up over the course of a year.

The lithium batteries on the ELiTE golf cars require virtually no maintenance at all. There’s no battery watering or terminal checks to perform, ultimately saving hours of time over the life of the buggies that you can use on the most important daily tasks.

 


 

Performance

The lead acid batteries on an RXV adds about 150Kg to the total weight of the vehicle, and lead acid batteries will start to lose voltage output and performance once ~70% of their capacity has been used. This impacts the carrying capacity of the vehicle and will become more noticeable as throughout the day.

By comparison, the lithium-ion batteries on the ELiTE RXV weigh just 23Kg, that’s a weight saving of 127Kg! This weight saving means that the EXV ELiTE has a greater capacity than it’s lead acid equivalent, while also benefitting from lithium-ion battery traits – like maintaining the same voltage output regarless of the batteries charge.

If you put the 2 vehicles side by side, you’d notice how much more consistently the ELiTE car performs long after the lead acid buggy starts to show signs of fatigue.

Security

There have been a recent number of battery thefts from golf clubs in the UK, the thieves target lead acid batteries in particular rather than the vehicles themselves. We’ve also seen where clubs have both types of batteries present the thieves leave the ELiTE buggies alone, as the lithium-ion batteries are not valuable to them.

 


 

Our Summary

The consumer might be faced with a slightly larger up-front cost when purchasing the ELiTE golf cars. But these are outweighed by the performance, longevity and reduced energy & maintenance costs that lithium-ion batteries offer.

In the coming years we’re predicting that we’ll see an ever growing percentage of the golf cars that we sell being the lithium-ion powered ELiTE series golf cars and the technology extending to utility & shuttle vehicles.

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