Are Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Worth The Cost?
Posted by Performance Golf Carts on Jul 6th 2022
When it's time to replace the batteries in your golf cart, you might want to consider lithium-ion batteries. This article will highlight some of the benefits, safety, and maintenance required when using lithium batteries in your golf cart.
Benefits Of Lithium-Ion Golf Cart Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries offer many advantages over a standard flooded golf cart battery. The most noticeable is the weight differential. Depending on the manufacturer and configuration, a lithium-ion battery pack will weigh roughly 90-100 lbs. Standard lead-acid golf cart batteries weigh 65-70 lbs EACH, and you will typically need six of them for a whopping 390-420 lbs!
Golf cart owners can expect to replace their standard lead-acid golf cart batteries every 3-5 years (depending on maintenance and use). Lithium-ion batteries have a 7-10 year design life!
Better Overall Performance
The performance advantage that comes from lithium-ion batteries is due to two factors. First is the depth of discharge (DoD). Lead-acid batteries perform better and last longer when the batteries remain above 50% depth of discharge. For example, a 48 volt 165 amp hour battery pack has 82.5 amp hours of usable energy before performance and battery life is reduced. Lithium-ion batteries have an 80% depth of discharge. The same 48 volt, 165 amp hour battery pack in lithium-ion will give you 132 amp hours of useable energy. This leads us to the next performance advantage, cycle life. Cycle life refers to the number of times a battery can be discharged and recharged before it needs replacing. Lead-acid golf cart batteries typically have a cycle life of 500-1000 depending on charging habits, maintenance, and use. Lithium-ion golf cart batteries have a cycle life of 2000-5000 cycles and require ZERO maintenance!
Overall, lithium-ion batteries are extremely safe. Lithium-ion batteries use an internal Battery Management System (BMS). This system protects the battery pack by monitoring battery temperature, voltage, and many more parameters set by the battery manufacturer. There are still visual signs you should watch for, however. Battery packs that are bulging, getting extremely hot while charging, or venting anything from the battery case should be taken out of service and inspected immediately. A golf cart or battery professional with experience in lithium-ion batteries will be able to diagnose the battery issue.
Lithium-ion Battery Maintenance
Lithium-ion battery maintenance only requires keeping them clean, particularly around the battery terminal connections. Clean connections and a visual inspection are the only maintenance required. Compare that to a lead-acid battery that needs the water checked and topped off and the battery connections cleaned monthly. The advantage goes to lithium-ion batteries!
This comparison is not a comprehensive list of advantages and disadvantages of lithium-ion batteries vs. lead-acid batteries. We decided to address some of the most common pain points and complaints we regularly see from customers using lead-acid batteries. The price advantage will always be with the tried and true lead-acid battery. Still, for those wanting the best battery performance, battery life, and near-zero maintenance cost, the advantage is lithium-ion golf cart batteries!