Are Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Better Than Lead-Acid?

Posted February 29, 2024

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.

Top 5 Reasons Golfers are Opting for Lithium Batteries

The advantages lithium golf cart batteries have over lead-acid are numerous. Below is our breakdown of the top 5 advantages that lithium batteries have over lead-acid golf cart batteries:

  1. Longer Battery Lifespan
  2. Lightweight Design
  3. Fast Charging
  4. Consistent Performance
  5. Environmental Friendliness
Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Offer Longer Range

Lithium Batteries Offer a Longer Battery Lifespan

How long do golf cart batteries last?Lithium batteries boast a considerably longer lifespan compared to traditional lead-acid batteries commonly used in golf carts. Lithium batteries can cycle up to 10x longer than lead-acid batteries. While lead-acid batteries may last around 300 to 500 charge cycles, lithium batteries can endure upwards of 2000 charge cycles. Specific types of lithium batteries consistently reach over 3,500 cycles.

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. The extended lifespan of a lithium battery translates to years of reliable service on the golf course without the hassle of frequent battery replacements, providing golfers with peace of mind and cost savings in the long run.

Lithium Batteries Have a Lightweight Design

Equipping a lithium battery into a golf cart enables the cart to significantly increase its weight-to-performance ratio making makes it easier to drive uphill or on challenging terrain. Golfers are constantly seeking ways to optimize their performance on the course, and the weight of their equipment plays a crucial role. Lithium batteries are significantly lighter than lead-acid batteries, offering a more balanced and maneuverable golf cart. 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. This reduction in weight not only enhances the cart's agility but also contributes to preserving the turf by exerting less pressure on the delicate grass, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable golfing experience for players and groundskeepers alike.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.

Lightweight Batteries Equal 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.

Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Charge Fast

Lithium Batteries Offer Much Faster Battery Charging

Time is of the essence, especially during a round of golf. 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. Lithium batteries feature rapid charging capabilities, allowing golfers to recharge their carts quickly and get back on the course without unnecessary delays. 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. With some lithium batteries reaching full charge in as little as one to two hours, golfers can maximize their time on the greens, completing more rounds or practicing their swings instead of waiting for batteries to replenish their power. After the charge has dissipated, it takes an average lead-acid battery roughly eight hours to recharge back to full.

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.

Consistent Performance

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. Unlike lead-acid batteries, which experience voltage drops as they discharge, lithium batteries deliver a stable voltage output until they are nearly depleted. This consistent power output ensures that golf carts operate smoothly and reliably, even during extended rounds or hilly terrain, allowing golfers to focus solely on their game without disruptions caused by fluctuating battery performance. 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.

In addition, lithium golf cart batteries have a 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.

Environmental Friendliness

As sustainability becomes increasingly important across all industries, golfers are also seeking eco-friendly solutions for their equipment. Lithium batteries, particularly lithium iron phosphate batteries, are more environmentally friendly and put less strain on the environment than lead-acid batteries due to their non-toxic chemistry and higher energy efficiency. They take significantly less time to fully charge, resulting in using less energy. Additionally, lithium batteries are recyclable, further reducing their environmental impact and supporting the shift towards greener practices in golf course management.

Are Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Compatible?

RELiON InSight Series 48V Lithium Golf Cart Battery

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.

The adoption of lithium batteries in golf carts represents a significant advancement in golfing technology, offering golfers numerous benefits ranging from enhanced performance and convenience to environmental sustainability. With their longer lifespan, lightweight design, fast charging capabilities, consistent performance, and eco-friendly attributes, lithium batteries have become the preferred choice for powering golf carts on courses worldwide. 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. If you have questions about which battery to choose to power your golf cart, get in touch with an expert at RELiON.