Have you ever been stranded on the side of the road?
If you’re an electric golf cart owner, running out of battery isn’t much fun either.
In fact, breaking down in the middle of your golf course may be more embarrassing than a roadside malfunction.
So how do you avoid this situation? You start with a working knowledge of just how far a charge cycle will take you.
With that in mind, let’s explore a pivotal question:
How long do electric golf carts last (on a charge)?
Electric carts that use a lead acid battery pack will last about 15-20 miles under normal operating conditions. Electric carts that use a lithium battery will last about 30 miles.
Those estimates are simple answers to a slightly more complicated question.
When someone asks me: How far will a golf cart go on a full charge, I always have a few follow-up questions before I give my actual answer.
I want to know:
- Are you working with new batteries or older batteries?
- Does your cart use lithium batteries or the traditional flooded battery setup?
- What is the voltage of your electric golf car?
- How and where do you drive your cart?
The list go on, but here’s my point: there are a variety of factors that determine just how long an electric golf cart will last before it needs to revisit the battery charger.
Hang with me as I highlight a few of those factors.
The Age and Condition of Your Golf Cart Batteries
I’m not breaking any new ground here, but the age of your golf cart battery matters.
A deep cycle battery is pretty powerful when it first comes off the shelf, but every day it will lose some of its holding capacity. The same is true of your car battery.
You can definitely extend your battery life if you stay on top of battery maintenance. I recommend checking the water levels on each battery cell, keeping your electric cart on the charger when its not in use, and making sure that your batteries don’t freeze.
Even if you’re on top of your game, you can expect performance to decline over time, which brings me back to the topic at hand.
When you’re trying to figure out how long an electric cart will last, be sure to factor the age of the batteries into the equation.
If your new golf cart went 25 miles on a single charge, you shouldn’t expect that same distance long term. Subtract a few miles of distance to play it safe.
The Type of Batteries Powering the Cart
Lithium golf cart batteries have significantly more range than the traditional battery packs that powered carts of the past. In fact, getting 30 miles out of a lithium battery is pretty easy.
If you want to know how long a golf cart will last as you cruise around town, knowing the type of battery that powers that cart is really important.
The easiest way to figure this out is to flip up the seat of the cart. If you see a series of 4-8 batteries, that cart is probably using a lead acid electric golf cart battery.
If you see one or two batteries, that cart is most likely powered by a lithium golf cart battery.
You may be wondering: if lithium batteries go further, why isn’t everyone using them? The simple answer is that a lithium ion battery costs more up front.
That added cost is a barrier for those who are shopping on a budget.
The Battery Voltage
As a general rule, golf carts are powered by 6v, 8v or 12v batteries. The smaller volt battery, the longer that cart should run.
For example: A 48V golf cart with 4 x 12v batteries will not be able to run as long as a 48V golf cart that has 6 x 8v batteries.
Knowing the voltage of your golf cart battery can help you calculate your cart’s run time.
How and Where You Drive Your Cart
Do you put the pedal to the floor or do you gradually accelerate?
Are you using your cart on a flat golf course or does your golf cart need to climb hills?
The way you drive and the terrain you drive on will have a significant influence on how long your cart will last.
Some Hacks for More Miles
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated
- Limit the amount of weight you’re carrying
- Use a reputable brand (Trojan golf cart batteries are pretty good)
- Always fully charge your cart before hitting the road
If your electric cart can’t last for more than 10 miles, something is up. Bring your ride to a golf cart dealer for service.
How long do gas golf carts last (on a tank)?
Tank sizes vary on gas golf carts, but generally speaking, a gas golf cart will last for 125-150 miles on a single tank.
The range of a gas cart is, in my opinion, its biggest selling point.
Gas powered golf carts are very practical for people who live in colder regions and for those who need to travel greater distances with their golf car.
One of the downsides to a gas golf cart is the noise level, but the Yamaha Golf Cart designers developed the Yamaha Quietech to address that problem. These special carts are the quietest of any gas option on the market.
If you’re on the fence for what type of cart to purchase, you should read my write-up on gas golf carts vs electric golf carts. I do a full deep dive on the pros/cons of each option.
How long does an electric golf cart last (service life)?
I wrote this article assuming you wanted to know about how long electric carts can go on a charge, but I realized later than some of you may be asking “how long do electric golf carts last”, as in, how many years before you’ll need to replace your actual golf cart.
If you take proper care of your electric golf cart, it can go the distance for a long time. I was still driving around my 1987 Club Cart DS in 2017, so that cart did it’s job for over 30 years!
You may have to replace some parts along the way, but you won’t have to worry about cleaning the carburetor or replacing a fuel line. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no reason why an electric golf cart would be less reliable than a gas cart in terms of service life.
The only difference…expect to replace those batteries every 5 to 7 years.