As a modern-day golfer, learning about the battery for your golf cart is as essential the sport. Electric golf cart batteries ensure your movement on the golf course and the street. In choosing batteries for your cart, it’s necessary to compare Lead-acid batteries and lithium batteries to select the right one.
Indeed, choosing Lead-acid batteries vs. lithium batteries can be confusing unless you understand the key differences. For performance, maintenance, and cost, lithium batteries stand out.
What is the best battery for a golf cart? Lead-acid vs Lithium
Lead-acid batteries are first-generation rechargeable power units with history well over 150 years. While lead-acid batteries are still very much around and doing great, more serious competition emerged from the latest battery technologies, including lithium batteries.
However, this article will shed light on the best batteries to choose for your cart as an existing golf owner or a prospective owner.
The lead-acid batteries are the patriarch of all batteries. It was invented in 1859 by Gaston Plante. These batteries supply high surge currents and are very affordable, making them suitable for automobile starter motors. Despite the emergence of other batteries, Lead Acid batteries are still the most used rechargeable batteries today.
Lithium batteries were created in the late 70s but commercialized 1991 by Sony. At first, lithium batteries target small scale applications like laptops or cell phones. Today, they are used for larger-scale applications like electric cars. Lithium batteries have high energy density and have specific cathode formulations for various applications.
Comparing Lead-acid Batteries and Lithium Batteries
When it comes to cost, the patriarch battery takes the Lead as it is more affordable compared to the lithium battery. Although lithium has high-performance benefits, it comes at a high price, which is usually 2-5 times higher than lead battery.
Lithium batteries are more complex; they need more mechanical and electronic protections than Lead. Also, expensive raw materials such as cobalt are used in the production of lithium batteries, making it costlier than Lead. However, when you compare longevity and performance, the lithium battery is more cost-effective.
Lithium batteries have higher performance compared to lead batteries (3 times higher than one of the lead batteries). The longevity of a lithium battery is higher than the lead battery. Lead-acid batteries rarely perform well after 500 cycles, while lithium is excellent after 1000 cycles.
Not to confuse you, a cycle life indicates the battery’s lifetime of complete charge or discharge times before it loses its performance. When it comes to charging, Lithium batteries are also faster and more effective than lead batteries. Lithium batteries can charge in an hour, while lead-acid batteries can take up to 10 hours to charge fully.
Lithium batteries are less affected by external conditions compared to lead batteries. Hot conditions degrade lead batteries quicker than lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are also maintenance-free, while lead batteries need frequent replacement of the acid and maintenance.
The only time lead batteries have equal, if not higher, performance over lithium batteries are in very cold temperatures.
When it comes to design, the lithium batteries are better compared to the lead batteries. The lithium batteries weigh 1/3rd of the lead-acid batteries, which means it consumes less space. As a result, lithium batteries fit in compact environments compared to the cumbersome, old fashioned lead batteries.
Lead batteries use a tremendous amount of energy and produce considerable pollution. Also, lead-based cells can be detrimental to animal and human health. Although we cannot say that lithium batteries are entirely free from environmental issues, but their higher performances make them better than lead batteries.
When changing batteries for your golf cart, what should you choose?
If you want to change your batteries for your old golf cart, you can choose Lead-based batteries if you are constraint with finance. The reason for this is that your old golf cart might not be energy-demanding compared to Street legal electric golf carts with high energy need to power various luxury accessories like a refrigerator, sound system, and so on.
For golfers buying a brand new electric golf cart, it is better to choose lithium batteries to supply all your energy needs and more durable.
Conclusion-Lead-acid vs Lithium
In comparing Lead-acid and lithium batteries, the essential factors are Costs, Performance, Longevity, and the environment. While Lead-based cells are excellent for initial low-cost investment, lithium batteries require a substantial initial investment. However, lithium batteries can support you long enough to justify the initial high-cost investment.