Lithium is the next generation of golf cart battery technology. According to Battery University, "lithium is the lightest of all metals, has the greatest electrochemical potential, and provides the largest specific energy per weight." Due to these inherent properties within lithium, it's no wonder this material is what you find in most top-of-the-line golf cart batteries. With lithium golf cart batteries, almost all of the typical drawbacks of lead-acid batteries are eliminated. Let's look at the specific benefits of lithium golf cart batteries below.
Before we get into the benefits, we need to address the safety of lithium batteries. Most of us probably remember the news from a few years ago about lithium batteries in laptops and phones combusting into flames. Not something you want happening to your golf cart! As scary as that sounds, there is no longer any reason to be afraid. That's because lithium technology has changed—lithium batteries were previously formulated with Lithium-Cobalt-Oxide (LiCo02). LiCo02 was an early lithium technology, and this formulation was prone to overheating if the battery was overcharged. However, newer lithium batteries are now developed with Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). The chemical make-up of these batteries makes them virtually non-combustible and extremely safe, so there is no need to worry about over-charging. With your fears put at rest, let's continue to see what makes installing lithium batteries in your cart worth your while!
Sustained Power Output
One of the most frustrating parts of lead-acid batteries is the change in power output that occurs when your batteries lose their charge- commonly referred to as "voltage sag." If you have driven with lead-acid batteries for some time, you know what we are talking about... Your cart is much different when your batteries are fully charged than when they are at 20% capacity. When your batteries are low on charge, your cart runs a bit slower, hills are tougher to climb, and overall your cart feels sluggish. All of that gets eliminated with lithium. Lithium batteries provide consistent output throughout the whole range of charge capacity. Lithium batteries offer consistent performance, whether fully charged or at 10%. Like your smartphone, you don't have to worry about your cart not driving well until your batteries are completely drained. Maintaining your top speed and tackling those hills has never been easier!
Extended Cycle Life
Due to the difference in chemical reactions that occur with lithium batteries compared to lead-acid, lithium batteries will also have a longer service duration. If you compare lithium to lead-acid, lithium can average about 2000-5000 charge cycles, whereas lead-acid batteries max out at around 1000 charge cycles. That means, at the minimum, you get double the lifespan out of lithium batteries.
Another great selling point of lithium golf cart batteries is their extremely low maintenance. Unlike lead-acid batteries that require regular maintenance such as cleaning, checking water levels, etc., all lithium batteries need you to do is hook up and get moving! Lithium uses a different chemical reaction than lead-acid batteries and, as a result, does not present the same maintenance challenges. Once installed, all you have to worry about is keeping them charged and performing your regular cart safety and maintenance checks.
Increased Charging Speed/Charging Flexibility
In addition to increased power output and low maintenance, lithium batteries charge significantly faster than lead-acid batteries. Most lithium batteries with an updated charger can reach 80% charge capacity in as little as one hour, with a full charge coming in about 2-3 hours. What does this mean for you? You can get your golf cart back up and running during lunch! Imagine using your golf cart all morning and then being able to use it again all night with just a quick charge in the middle of the day! With lead-acid batteries, that was outside the realm of possibility, but with lithium batteries, this can be your daily routine. The other main advantage of charging lithium batteries is that they don't have a charging "memory." If lead-acid batteries are not regularly charged to total capacity, they can permanently lose power and significantly increase plate corrosion. What does this mean for you? If you aren't careful with charging your lead-acid batteries, you can quickly see diminished power output and corrosion damage, leading you to need to replace your batteries at a much faster rate. However, these are not things you have to worry about with lithium batteries! Lithium batteries don't "remember" charges and won't receive any damage with various charge rates or capacities.
With all the benefits we have already discussed, the cherry on top of lithium batteries is their reduced weight. Due to lithium batteries not carrying water and other extra components, they weigh about 1/4 of what lead-acid batteries typically weigh. This weight reduction can impact your cart's top speed, battery life, overall weight capacity, and more. In addition, it makes changing your batteries or moving them in your battery compartment much easier. In fact, our UNO battery powers your cart with a single battery that weighs only 45 pounds, which can reduce your cart's weight by almost 300 pounds.
The Bottom Line
Lithium is the way to go if you want to power your golf cart with the best battery technology. The increased power output, longer cycle life, ease of maintenance, quick charging, and lower weight all add up to a more enjoyable golf cart experience. Also, if you were concerned about cost, Powertech has determined that with all the added benefits of lithium, the cost per usable kWh of lithium is about 2.8 times cheaper than standard lead-acid batteries. This decreased cost keeps you and your wallet happy!
Additional Battery Resources
- For information about purchasing new batteries, check out our golf cart battery buying guide.
- For other common questions about batteries, check out our golf cart battery frequently asked questions.
- Lastly, to see an in-depth comparison of various golf cart lithium batteries out on the market today, check out our golf cart lithium battery comparison article.