If you’re the new owner of a 48 volt golf cart, you probably have a laundry list of questions, the most important being:
How long does it take to charge a 48 volt golf cart?
It typically takes 3-7 hours to charge a 48 volt golf cart, but the actual charging time depends on several factors.
If you want to understand why there isn’t a hard-and-fast answer to this question, keep reading.
By the time you’re done, you’ll be a golf cart battery expert. You’ll also be better prepared to maximize your battery life.
Why do golf cart charging times vary?
There are several factors that contribute to the charging time for your cart battery pack.
Here’s the quick scoop to get you up to speed:
Factor #1 – Battery Age and Quality
Fact: New golf cart batteries charge faster than older golf cart batteries.
If your batteries are just a year or two old and you’ve been maintaining them carefully, you can expect a quicker charge than a series of lead acid batteries that have been used for several years.
Fact: Quality matters. Not all batteries are built the same.
I can go to my local Harbor Freight and get 20 AA batteries for 1/2 the price of the well-known brands. That’s all good and fine, but I also know those cheaper batteries won’t last as long.
The same is true for golf cart batteries.
There are some deep cycle battery manufacturers with a proven track record (like Trojan Battery). Off brand batteries are a gamble. Read up on the best golf cart batteries before you make a major purchase.
Factor #2 – Battery Discharge Level
How low are the batteries you’re looking to charge? Do you have a dead battery or just a battery that’s been used for a few hours on the golf course?
Some websites refer to a metric called the “depth of discharge.” This term is just a fancy way of discussing how much battery charge still remains.
At the beginning of this write-up, I addressed the question: “How long does it take to charge a 48 volt golf cart?” My simple answer was 3-7 hours, but the more detailed answer would be:
3 to 7 hours, depending on the depth of discharge.
If your golf car has plenty of battery charge left, it might only need 3 hours on the battery charger. If it’s almost dead, it may need 7 hours or more.
Furthermore, if your electric golf cart is completely dead, you may be looking at 8-14 hours.
Important note: Try to avoid letting your battery go dead. A lead acid battery will lose some of its battery capacity whenever its run down to 0%. See also: How often should I charge my golf cart batteries?
Factor #3 – The Golf Cart Battery Charger
If you have an older electric golf cart and you’re still using the original charger, you may be missing out.
My 1987 Club Car used to take forever to charge, even when I replaced the batteries. As a complete golf cart newbie, I had no idea that my three decades old golf cart charger needed to be replaced.
I eventually figured it out.
There are newer high speed golf cart battery chargers on the market that can speed up the charging process. I’m not smart enough to understand all of the technology behind these units, but if you’re working with old technology, you should start looking for a newer 48 volt charger.
Important note: Make sure that the charger matches the battery voltage of your cart.
Replacement Charger Options
See our Craftsman Golf Cart Charger review.
Factor #4 – The Temperature
Electric golf carts can be used in every virtually temperature, but they don’t charge quite as efficiently in cold conditions.
If you’re trying to predict how long your batteries need on the charger, you should factor temperature into the equation.
What about a lithium golf cart battery?
If your 48v golf car is powered by lithium golf cart batteries (often just a single lithium battery), you can expect a much faster charge cycle.
One of the major advantages of a lithium ion battery is that it can be 80% charged in about an hour. A full charge usually takes about 3 hours.
This is a much faster charging time than the traditional lead acid flooded batteries.
Why doesn’t everyone switch to lithium golf cart batteries?
Lithium batteries cost more up front, so the steeper price tag is often a deterrent for shoppers on a budget.
If you’re considering a lithium ion golf cart, you should check out The Case for Lithium vs Lead Acid Batteries.
These are the batteries of the future, but they do have a few shortcomings of their own.