Designed to transport golfing equipment and drive around the golf course, golf carts are a welcome addition to a golfer’s equipment.
They come in multiple volt options, including 36, 48, and 72 V. This article focuses on 48-volt batteries specifically, and answers questions such as:
- How fast does a 48-volt golf cart go?
- What’s the difference between 36V, 48V, and 72V golf carts?
- How can you increase the speed of your cart?
Let’s dive right in!
How Fast Does a 48 Volt Golf Cart Go?
A standard 48-volt golf cart travels between 12 to 14 miles per hour. With additional modifications, street-legal golf carts can reach maximum speeds of 20 to 24 miles per hour.
Are 48 Volt Electric Golf Carts Faster than Gasoline Golf Carts?
Electric golf carts are generally faster than gasoline golf carts. Gasoline golf carts can reach maximum speeds of up to 18 to 20 miles per hour with upgrades and up to 10 miles per hour without. Electric golf carts also reach top speeds more seamlessly than gasoline golf carts.
36 Volt vs. 48 Volt Carts: Which Is Better?
Surprisingly, there’s not much difference between 36V and 48V golf carts.
As you might expect, 48V golf carts pick up speeds much faster than 36V golf carts. 48V golf carts also draw fewer amps compared to the lesser alternative, allowing them to deliver accelerated speeds for longer in a single charge.
36V golf carts have six six-volt batteries while 48V golf carts have 6 eight-volt batteries.
The batteries of 48V carts are more expensive to replace, but since they use 1/3 less amperage than 36V carts, they’re more efficient.
Additionally, 48V carts have the advantage of being easily upgraded and converted into offroad carts or hunting buggies, contributing to higher resale values.
Are 72 Volt Golf Carts Better than 48 Volt Golf Carts?
When it comes to performance, 72V golf carts are objectively better than 48V golf carts. After all, the higher the voltage, the better the cart’s power, speed, and acceleration.
That said, 48V golf carts carry just about the same acceleration capabilities as 72V golf carts, though with less runtime.
72V golf carts are also much more expensive to operate, maintain, and replace than 48V golf carts.
Likewise, the latter requires fewer batteries to run, reducing battery installation time overall.
Though 72V golf carts have better performance, 48V golf carts are much more desirable in terms of value. They comfortably fall in between 36V and 72V golf carts; powerful enough to run for extended periods without having to sacrifice cost and maintenance.
How Can You Increase the Speed of a 48V Golf Cart?
Standard 48V golf carts run between 12 to 14 miles per hour. However, you can double and sometimes even triple this speed by adding a few modifications, such as:
Equipping Larger Tires
The larger the wheel diameter, the faster the cart will go.
48V golf carts allow a maximum of 20-inch tires without the need for a block lift or lift kit.
Replacing 18-inch wheels with 20-inch wheels can add an additional 2 to 3 miles to a cart’s total speed.
Adding Extra Torque
Extra torque equals more speed. You can increase the cart’s torque by replacing the old motor with a new motor with a higher RPM or providing your current motor with a higher voltage.
Upgrading the Cart Motor
High-quality cart motors, like Series Wound DC Torque Motors, are equipped with comparably larger field coils than standard motors. This results in better magnetic field generation, higher torque, and higher speed.
Replacing the Electronic Speed Controller and Solenoid Contactor Relay
When upgrading your golf cart, don’t forget to replace the old electronic speed controller and Solenoid contactor relay. You can find these parts between the battery bank and the motor. Doing so allows the motor to function at its top performance. The speed controller and Solenoid contactor must match, and, if possible, exceed the motor’s amp level.
Replacing the Cart Battery
48V cart batteries last anywhere between five to ten years, depending on your usage and charging habits. Golf carts equipped with old batteries take almost double the time to charge. Some even stop charging entirely. They also perform poorly overall.
You’ll know it’s time to replace your golf cart batteries when your cart:
- Struggles to move up inclines
- The cart doesn’t promptly respond under your command
- Built-in cart accessories, such as radio, CD player, AC, etc., hesitate or fail to operate
- Batteries appear abnormally bulged
- Batteries are leaking into their housing
- Stops moving halfway through your day, despite having charged the cart throughout the night
Reducing Cart Load
It’s no secret that reducing a cart’s load can significantly increase its speed. Try not to carry excessive golfing equipment and avoid unnecessary clutter.
Cleaning the Underside of the Cart
The underside of the cart is often neglected during maintenance.
Mud build-up, caked-on particles, and wedged-in stones, peddles, or rocks can prevent the proper acceleration of the cart.
Clean the underside at least once every six months to keep the cart performing at its maximum potential.
How Long Do 48-Volt Golf Cart Batteries Last in a Single Charge?
On a single charge, a 48V lead-acid cart battery lasts between 8 to 10 miles per single charge.
Lithium batteries, though almost triple the price, last significantly longer: 20 to 25 miles per single charge at roughly 12 miles per hour. This equates to 3 or 4 rounds or 54 holes.
How Can You Make 48-Volt Cart Batteries Last Longer?
Well-maintained golf cart batteries can match and even outlive the lifespan of a golf cart.
Here are some tips on making the cart batteries last longer so you won’t have to worry about expensive replacements:
- When required, top off the battery cell reservoirs with distilled water instead of regular tap water.
- Use the original charger when charging the cart batteries. If the old charger ceased to function, replace it with a high-quality charger of the same brand.
- Use a trickle charger to keep the cart charged while it’s not in use. A trickle charger charges a fully charged battery equal to its self-discharge rate, so the cart battery will always be at full charge without the risk of overcharging or overheating.
- Make sure the battery doesn’t discharge more than 70% of its rated reserve capacity.
A 48V-volt golf cart can travel between 12 to 14 miles per hour, and reach speeds of up to 20 to 24 miles per hour with upgrades like bigger tires, higher-quality motors, and the addition of extra torques.