Are you having a hard time trying to figure out whether to get an Electric Golf Cart that uses Lead-acid batteries or Lithium-based ones?
Choices are good.
However, there are several considerations you need to take into place for you to choose between the two. In this article, we are going to explore what makes either a lead or a lithium battery better than the other.
The Lithium-Ion Battery
Li-Ion battery technology dates to the 70s.
They are composed of four major elements;
- The part that determines the charge known as the cathode
- The part that enables current flow, also known as the anode
- Lithium ions stored in the anode
- Medium under which the ions flow is known as an electrolyte.
This battery technology has shown a high level of efficiency, which can be credited to the following features that it incorporates.
Features of Lithium-Ion Batteries
- The high energy density of up to 150 watt-hours (WH) per kilogram.
- A lower discharge rate of about 5 % charge loss per month
- Highly resilient in a way that they can lose 80% of their State of Charge (SOC) and still maintain potential cycles.
- Quite expensive compared to other types.
- The electrolyte in it is flammable.
These features create a basis under which the Lithium-based batteries are identified. When looking for a battery that’s best suited for an electric golf cart, some of the features enlisted here are what you should be looking for in a golf cart.
However, since you are here to choose between lithium-based and lead-based, lets first look at the features of the latter.
Features of Lead-Acid Batteries
- High discharge rates of 4% of total charge per week.
- Slow and inefficient charging.
- Limited usable capacity if 100% of their rated capacity is used.
- Low energy density of 80-90wh/kg
- Relatively inexpensive.
- High maintenance required. Lead-acid batteries need to be topped up with distilled water now and then.
Lead-Based Batteries vs Lithium Batteries – Which is Best?
Now that you have seen how the two battery types compare to one another, you might be wondering which one is the best fit for your golf cart. For you to decide that there are some considerations you need to keep in mind.
But before that,
To help you put the differences and similarities for the two battery types into context, here is a tabular summary of the points with help from this fact sheet.
Comparison of The Features For The Two Battery Types
|Lithium-Ion Batteries||Lead-Acid Batteries|
|Discharge Rates||Low (up to 5% of charge/mo)||High (up to 4% of charge/week)|
|Energy Density||High (150wh/kg)||Low (80-90wh/kg)|
The Best Battery Option For Your Electric Golf Cart
Just as with any other electric device, the power source matters a lot. With electric carts, it’s not a different case. Also, given the fact that the batteries will be used to power, among other elements, the motor aspect of the cart, the specifications of the battery need to be top-notch.
When you consider factors like the specifications of your golf cart, your ideal battery type should be able to power it efficiently. For instance, luxury golf carts have high-end components, which translates to the need for a reliable power source that is not necessarily high but rather efficient.
Looking at the features of lead-based and lithium-based batteries, it is safe to conclude that lithium-based ones are much more efficient. By efficient, we mean that they will not only power your electric cart but also power it for an extended time.
On the flip side, however, we see that the lead-based batteries are ranking below their counterparts in terms of efficiency. That aspect makes them not the ideal option for you.
If you were to choose between the two, we would suggest that you pick the lithium-based ones. We understand the fact that lithium-based technology is relatively new compared to lead-based tech might be a point of concern. Also, being that lithium-based batteries are quite expensive, the price point of lithium-based carts might be higher than that of lead-based. That being the case, though, we still recommend them for their reliability since we are all about quality and value for money. On a side note, lithium-based are eco-friendly, and when you think about it, that’s a positive contribution to the future of golf as a sport.