A golf cart, also known as a buggy is a small vehicle driven around the golf course that is used to carry clubs, and other equipment. The vehicle usually holds two people as it’s main purpose is to reduce the amount of time and effort spent walking the course.
Many people wonder how are golf carts powered. Do they use gas or are they electric? Here is what you need to know:
Are Golf Carts Electric
Yes, most golf carts are electric and they will use either 36 or 48 volt batteries to operate. The main electrical components in a golf cart that allows it to work are the electric motor, solenoid, battery pack, speed controller, and throttle. All these parts work together to get you to your destination.
Now, the popularity of electric golf carts have surpassed gas powered carts throughout the years as they are more affordable, quiet, faster and requires less maintenance.
Nevertheless, a gas powered golf cart also has its advantages. For example, if you are looking to drive long distances on the golf course, then a gas cart could be a better option as it doesn’t rely on you having to charge it often.
How Long It Takes To Charge Electric Golf Cart
Unlike, gas powered golf carts, the electric ones will need to be charged quite often than you think. We are talking about every 4 hours of use.
If you don’t charge your vehicle fully, you could get stranded on the golf course or even in the woods. Fully recharging the batteries usually takes several hours, but the most it should take you is 6 hours for a 48 volt golf cart.
Because it takes so long to charge electric golf carts, it’s best to do it overnight and with a 48 volt fully automatic battery charger. You wouldn’t want to leave your cart plugged in for too long as it is not an ideal maintenance practice for the life span of the battery.
Overcharging your batteries can lead to them being damaged. Therefore, you would want to use this type of charger because it automatically turns itself off when the golf cart battery is fully charged. If you don’t have an automatic charger, then you should unplug when it’s fully charged.
Expect to get a total distance of anywhere between 12 to 35 miles on a 48 volt electric golf cart.
Understanding How The Electric Cart Works
We mentioned the different parts of the electric golf cart, but how do they actually work together to get you to your destination? I did a little research and here is what I found:
The battery pack gets the current to charge the batteries as the power bank delivers the energy needed for the vehicle. (Usually 36 or 48 voltage).
The energy provided by the power bank to the electrical system is delivered through various channels to control the electricity supply to the motor of the cart.
This device contain a coil cable and steel plunger that helps to regulate the amount of electric current flowing in.
Once the golf cart starts, power goes to the solenoid. The solenoid basically controls or regulates the use of electricity to drive the vehicle. Power regulation of the solenoid helps prevent the golf cart from going out of control.
The speed controller serves as a voltage regulator to add or reduce the voltage needed to power the golf cart. It acts like a throttle in a gas engine and prevents the cart from going out of control. The golf cart will move faster as the the motor turns rapidly with more current.
The next electrical component is the throttle which releases more current or reduces it as it communicates with the driver and the electrical system.
This inductive like sensor controls the solenoid and speed controller. It pushes the gas/acceleration lever to send electricity to the speed controller and solenoid and drives the motor.
The motor receives the current through the system to either move fast or slow down. When this happens, the electric motor turns the wheel so the cart can move. As more current is produced, the faster the wheel will turn.
All in all, a golf cart works similarly to any automobile, but the difference is that they are run by batteries that are charged each night.
Gas Vs Electric Golf Cart: Which Is Better?
There are several factors that determine which is the better vehicle to drive. For example, some drivers tend to prefer gas carts because they can carry heavier golf equipment and luggage, and are easy to refill.
Nevertheless, both types of carts have their pros and cons. But let us take a look at some of them:
Speed plays an important role on the course; so if it means getting from one place to the next in less time, then you ought to consider the cart that is faster.
The reality is that electric carts are faster than gas carts, despite what other contraries you may hear in the past. The standard speed of an electric golf cart is 12-14 miles per hour and is great for driving kids or older parents.
But unlike gas powered golf carts, electric carts come with many speed upgrades granting them a higher top speed than gas carts.
This top speed can go as far as 25 miles per hour, whereas the top speed of a gas powered golf cart is usually 18-20 miles per hour.
Some things you can do to make your electric golf cart go faster is to:
- Upgrade your cart’s motor,
- Use a higher powered battery. For example 48 volts or even 72 voltz.
- Carry less load in the car as more luggage increases the weight and slow down the vehicle.
- Add more Torque
- Improve the high speed controller
- Upgrade to better tires that will drive smooth
The second factor to consider when comparing electric to gas powered golf cart is their cost. Most electric golf carts are priced between $5,000 to $10,000 making them an affordable choice.
Of course you can get some for less than that and others for more. A stripped down model could cost you just $4,000 whereas a custom golf cart with add on features like radio, A.C unit, and DVD players will cost you $15,000.
Gas golf carts on the other hand actually amount to the same range from about $4,000 to upwards of $15,000. But the carts are typically priced on the higher end, which is around the $10,000 benchmark
It’s obvious that the electric carts are cheaper to purchase but only by a slight margin of difference. Not only are they more affordable to buy, but they are far cheaper to maintain. This brings us to the next point on our list.
Electric carts cost less and are cheaper to maintain. In addition, the amount of money it takes to fill a gas powered vehicle with gasoline is significantly more than just simply recharging the battery in an electric cart.
So how much are you looking at for maintenance? Well every year you will need several filters and oil changes in a gas powered golf cart. It could cost you $250 to have someone get the job done, or $100 if you decide to do it yourself.
It is recommended that gas carts be serviced twice a year by replacing the engine oil and engine filter. You can also do regular check ups monthly, if the cart is used often.
Electric carts on the other hand only takes $0.12 per hour to charge the vehicle and perhaps could get as high as $0.33
If you do the math, that amount to $0.48 to $1.98 for every time you charge an electric golf cart.
The most maintenance you might have to do in a single year on the electric cart is to clean the terminals with a bit of baking soda, and change a few cables. That should cost you less than $100.
There is no doubt that electric golf carts are easier to maintain. They are the better choice for environmental reasons as they are cleaner and don’t burn fuel.
Every golf cart though requires regular maintenance and check ups to keep them in good health and running smooth.
We learned that golf carts can either be electric or gas powered, with most golfer opting for electric vehicles due to their affordability.
Electric golf carts are friendlier to the environment as they produce no emissions, unlike the gas carts. You’d have to spend more money on fuel to power a gas cart which even produces air pollution.
It’s no wonder why electric carts have taken over. The poisonous carbon monoxide emissions from gas carts pose a serious health threat when they operate in enclosed spaces. Not to mention, gas carts are louder and requires more maintenance and cost.
Electric golf carts are often readily available, inexpensive, and doesn’t require as much regular maintenance and check ups.