I am sure you have noticed that golf carts are everywhere these days. If not, then maybe you live in a neighborhood where there is no need for one. Either way, golf carts are fun to drive. They come in a couple of varieties: gas-powered and electric-powered.
Some people might not know that both types can be charged using a standard household outlet with an extension chord.
If you have one or more golf carts at home, then this article is definitely for you!
What is a golf cart
A golf cart is a type of battery-powered vehicle used on golf courses for transporting equipment and between holes, usually designed for one or two persons. Although many carts are adapted from cars, there are also purpose-built carts such as the popular EZGO.
Most carts employ an electric motor to propel the cart and a battery to store energy for propulsion. The most common type of battery used in golf carts is the lead-acid battery, which can be charged from an external source or by an engine-driven alternator.
How long does it take to charge a golf cart battery ?
It takes approximately 8-12 hours to fully charge an average golf cart battery. The charging will time is dependent upon the battery size and condition. Lithium ion golf cart batteries can be charged faster than conventional "wet" lead-acid wet cell batteries.
As newer, sealed, lithium ion (LiFePO4) golf cart batteries become more popular in the electric vehicle world it's important that you understand how to properly charge them.
The charging time of these new batteries is dependent on the size and age of the battery. They generally charge faster than your older lead acid or AGM golf cart batteries but will also have a shorter lifespan.
Factors that affect how long it takes to charge a golf cart battery
How old is your golf cart battery?
Like all batteries, the older they get, the longer it takes to charge them. If you have a newer lithium ion battery then you can expect these charging times:
Brand New LiFePO4 Golf Cart Battery (100% charged): 1-2.5 hours for 80% charge, 2.5-6 hours for 50% charge, 4-7 hours to fully charge
Brand New LiFePO4 Golf Cart Battery (50% charged): 3-8 hours to fully charge 80%, 8-12 hours to fully charge 50%.
Brand New LiFePO4 Golf Cart Battery (20%-30%) : 8-20 hours to charge 80%, 20-40 hours for 50%.
Brand New LiFePO4 Golf Cart Battery ( 0%-20%): 24-36+hours to charge 80%, 72+ hours to fully charge.
How much amp hour capacity does your golf cart battery have?
Lithium ion batteries are rated in Amp Hour (Ah) capacity. The higher the Amp Hour rating, the longer it will take to charge the battery.
If you have a high capacity LiFePO4 golf cart battery such as this 36V/25 amp hour model it takes more time to charge:
The larger the Amp Hour capacity of your battery, the longer it will take to charge from a standard 120volt household outlet.
Temperature is an important factor when you are charging lithium ion batteries. If you plan on storing your LiFePO4 batteries for long periods of time or if they have been sitting in storage, then you will need to warm them up before charging.
Golf carts generally contain large lead acid batteries that can sit for long periods of time without losing charge due to the electrolyte being in a gel form. However, lithium ion batteries have sealed cells and do not hold up well when sitting idle with little activity.
If you leave your golf cart batteries unused for any amount of time, then it is important to charge them at least once every 30-60 days.
If your LiFePO4 battery has been in storage for an extended period of time, then you'll want to charge it at least once every couple weeks. This will keep the batteries from losing their capacity and/or cycle life prematurely.
How can I charge my golf cart faster?
If you want to charge your lithium ion golf cart batteries faster, there are a few options. You can buy a 24 or 48 volt charger that connects directly to your battery. These chargers charge much faster than the 120volt standard household outlet and typically take 1-2 hours per amp hour of capacity.
To do this you will either need to run an extra heavy gauge cable from the battery to a separate charging receptacle or you can purchase an inverter that converts 12volt DC power up to 120volts AC.
If you use an inverter, then make sure it has the proper output for your charger. This is where most people have problems and fry their battery's controller chip due to over-voltage conditions.
Tips for maximizing your battery life
If you want to maximize your golf cart battery life, it's important that you charge them the right way.
Charge them every 1-3 months whether you use them or not.
Try to maximize your driving range per charge, when possible, by minimizing the weight in the cart and/or keeping it as aerodynamic as possible.
Use a smart charger instead of running your battery down all at once. A good quality golf cart battery charger will charge your battery at a slow constant rate. This will maximize your battery life by keeping the cells within their ideal voltage range which extends the lifetime of your golf cart batteries by as much as 400%.
If you keep your batteries properly maintained, a lithium golf cart battery can last up to 10 years. It's important to know how long it takes to charge a golf cart battery so that you get the best value for your money and maintain good battery health.
Keeping an eye on how long it takes to charge a golf cart is important because if you keep them plugged in too long you can damage your batteries. If you keep them in storage for extended periods of time, then it's important to warm up your batteries first before charging by using a warmer or running the cart around the block.
I hope this article was helpful and that it helps maintain good battery health. If you use these tips and follow the recommendations, you will be able to maximize the cycle life of your golf battery which means more time on the course and less money spent on replacements.