The Best Golf Cart Batteries: Lithium vs. Lead-Acid

Posted November 12, 2019

The golf cart market is evolving as more and more people are taking advantage of their versatile performance. For decades, deep-cycle flooded lead-acid batteries have been the most cost-effective means to power electric golf cars. With the rise of lithium batteries in many high-power applications, many are now looking into the advantages of LiFePO4 batteries in their golf cart.

While any golf cart will help you get around the course or neighborhood, you need to make sure it has enough power for the job. This is where lithium golf cart batteries come into play. They're challenging the lead-acid battery market due to the many benefits that make them easier to maintain and more cost-effective in the long run.

Advantages Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Have Over Lead-Acid

Below is our breakdown of the advantages of lithium golf cart batteries over lead-acid counterparts:

  • Lighter Weight
  • More Carrying Capacity
  • Maintenance Free
  • Fast Battery Charging Speed
  • Eco-Friendly Technology
  • Longer Battery Cycle Life
Long Lasting Lithium Powered Golf Cart

Lighter Weight

Equipping a lithium battery into a golf cart enables the cart to significantly increase its weight-to-performance ratio. Lithium golf cart batteries are half the weight of a traditional lead-acid battery, which shaves off two-thirds of the battery weight a golf cart would normally operate with. The lighter weight means the golf cart can reach higher speeds with less effort and carry more weight without feeling sluggish to the occupants.

Reducing your golf cart’s weight makes it easier for your customers to drive uphill or on challenging terrain. The golf cart won’t tear up the grass, and less stress is put on the brakes. Not only will your customers be able to brake at shorter distances, but they also won’t have to replace their brakes and other mechanical parts as often.

More Carrying Capacity

Due to their lighter weight, lithium-ion golf cart batteries increase your product’s speed and carrying capacity. The weight-to-performance ratio difference lets the lithium-powered cart carry an additional two average-sized adults and their equipment before reaching carrying capacity. Because lithium batteries maintain the same voltage outputs regardless of the battery’s charge, the cart continues to perform after its lead-acid counterpart has fallen behind the pack. In comparison, lead-acid and Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries lose voltage output and performance after 75% percent of the rated battery capacity is used, which negatively affects carrying capacity and compounds the issue as the day wears on.

Maintenance Free

One of the major benefits of lithium batteries is that they require no golf cart battery maintenance whatsoever, whereas lead-acid batteries regularly need to be checked and maintained. This ultimately results in saved man-hours and the extra costs of maintenance tools and products. The lack of lead-acid means that chemical spills are avoided and the chance of downtime on your golf car is drastically reduced.

Fast Battery Charging Speed

Regardless if you’re using a lead-acid battery or a lithium battery, any electric car or golf cart faces the same flaw: they have to be charged. Charging takes time, and unless you happen to have a second cart at your disposal, that time can put you out of the game for a while. A good golf cart needs to maintain consistent power and speed on any course terrain. Lithium batteries can manage this without a problem, but a lead-acid battery will slow the cart down as its voltage dips. Plus after the charge has dissipated, it takes an average lead-acid battery roughly eight hours to recharge back to full. Whereas, lithium batteries can be recharged up to 80 percent capacity in about an hour, and reach full charge in less than three hours.

Plus, partially-charged lead-acid batteries sustain sulfation damage, which results in significantly reduced life. On the other hand, lithium batteries have no adverse reaction to being less than fully charged, so it's okay to give the golf cart a pit-stop charge during lunch.

Eco-Friendly Technology

Lithium batteries put less strain on the environment. They take significantly less time to fully charge, resulting in using less energy. They do not contain hazardous material, whereas lead-acid batteries, as the name suggests, contain lead which is harmful to the environment.

Longer Battery Cycle Life

How long do golf cart batteries last? Lithium batteries last significantly longer than lead-acid batteries because lithium chemistry increases the number of charge cycles. Lithium batteries can cycle 10x longer than lead-acid batteries. Although lithium batteries have a high upfront cost, compared to frequent lead-acid battery replacements, a lithium battery pays for itself over its lifetime. Not only does the investment in a lithium battery pay for itself over time, but big savings can be made in the way of reduced energy bills, maintenance costs, and possible repairs that would otherwise need to be made to heavy lead-acid golf cars. They also just perform better overall!

Low Voltage Protection

With built-in low voltage protection, your battery’s PCB board protects your lithium-ion battery from cell damage, even if you forget to charge the battery and it runs completely down.

Are Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Compatible?

Golf carts designed for lead-acid batteries can see a significant performance boost with a lithium battery conversion. However, this second wind can come at an installation cost. Many lead-acid equipped golf carts need a retrofit kit to operate with a lithium battery, and if the cart manufacturer doesn’t have a kit, then the cart will need modifications to operate with a lithium battery.

With RELiON's InSight 48V Golf Cart Battery, this isn't a concern as they're designed specifically to fit your golf cart. InSight batteries require no tray modifications, no retrofit kits, and no complicated connections, making installing lithium batteries easier than ever before!

If you're interested in switching your golf cart to a lithium battery, consider buying our InSight 48V lithium battery. It's the only lithium golf cart battery designed specifically to meet the power and energy needs of all types of golf carts. It's a drop-in-ready replacement that is quality from the inside out. Designed to fit and engineered to perform, the InSight battery is the best lithium option for golf carts today.

You will enjoy the benefits of a more powerful battery solution both on and off the golf course. Whether you're using a golf cart for campus security at a school, as a first-aid vehicle at a large outdoor event, or for transportation in small Florida towns, RELiON's LiFEPO4 technology delivers the best performance.

To learn more about how to calculate your energy needs and find the optimal battery for your application and usage, visit our Lithium Battery Selector Tool.