A golf cart is a very useful vehicle to have out on the golf course. It can certainly make the game more enjoyable and allow you to focus more on your golf game rather than the task of getting from one hole to the next. It does the heavy lifting while you relax and chase your ball around.
However, the golf course isn’t the only place they come in handy. If you are like me, you may find yourself driving a cart around your neighborhood. It can be fun for children, pets, or even us adults to drive around the streets of your neighborhood on a nice day. They also come in handy when doing yard work. With the right cart setup, it can help you to carry loads and make quicker work of gardening or property maintenance.
When purchasing a golf cart, you have to make a choice. On one hand, you have an electric cart and on the other, there is the gasoline cart. While both of them have their advantages and disadvantages, it may be a difficult decision deciding which one to purchase. Not everyone will agree with which one they want and that’s ok. After all, everyone is different and will have differing opinions when it comes to this choice.
I currently own an electric golf cart and find it to be more of a pleasure to deal with than a gasoline cart. Although I have owned gasoline carts in the past, the electric cart is more suited for the way that I use it and this may be different for you depending on how you intend to use it. Whether one is better or not is relative to what it will be used for and the preference of the person using it.
Let’s look at a few reasons why electric golf carts are generally considered better than gas carts.
1) No Gas Needed
The obvious answer to why you would want an electric golf cart is that you won’t have to deal with gasoline, oil, and other messy fluids that you might find with gasoline engines. A gasoline engine has a lot of different parts that need to be maintained if you expect it to last a long time. Although a gas engine can be more powerful, it comes at the cost of this maintenance as well as the inconvenience involved.
If you have a gasoline cart, you may have to store it in your garage along with gas containers, oil containers, and other fluids. These fluids can smell and you may often have to purchase gas to power the cart. It never fails that just when you want to use the cart, your gasoline can will be bone dry. You’ll have to head to the gas station and fill er’ up before you can take it out on a spin. It’s similar to mowing the yard. It Seems like every time I get on my gas-powered lawn more, I’m low on gas and have to take the time to fill up.
2) They Have No Smell
Driving a gas cart can often be a smelly undertaking. If you have ever been behind one, you know that some of the fumes can fill the air and smell depending on how old the cart is and the condition it is in. It may leak and smoke and put out unpleasant odors for all of those around you.
There are plenty of gas-powered carts zipping around my neighborhood and they can often be smelled as they pass by. I am a jogger and often run into these smelly buggies on my running routes. They pass me with their loud gasoline engines and little do they know, they are polluting the air with their odors. This odor gets pulled into my lungs as I gasp for air on my run. This can’t be good for others to breathe in. It certainly isn’t a pleasant smell and isn’t one you want to encounter when you are jogging.
In contrast, an electric cart passes me and I barely hear anything and smell nothing.
The only exception to this is during the charging process. When charging the batteries in an electric golf cart, you may notice a sulfur smell. It’s important to allow for sufficient ventilation whenever you charge the batteries. I keep my cart in a garage and each time I charge it, I raise the garage door and turn on a fan to allow for these odors to escape.
3) They Are Quiet
If you have ever ridden on an electric golf cart, it can be a nice change of pace to sit in the cart and not have to hear a motor running. You may hear the whining of the electric motor but it’s not even close to the noise that a gasoline engine would produce.
An electric golf cart has no engine with pistons, spark plugs, and exhaust. A combustion engine can produce sound but since this is absent from an electric cart, there is no noise to be made. Electric carts have electric current that runs through wires from the batteries which powers the electric motor to make the wheels turn.
The result of this is a quiet ride that you can hardly hear. Some of the newer golf carts on the market are so quiet, you don’t even hear the whining of the motor. Instead, all you hear are the tires rolling down the road. This makes for a pleasant trip whether you are on the golf course or riding the streets in your neighborhood.
A quiet golf cart is much appreciated on the golf course. We all know that one must be as quiet as possible on the course while others are trying to chase their ball down.
4) They Are Environmentally Friendly
The fumes that are sputtered about the air as a result of the combustion of a gasoline engine, are not good for the environment. An electric golf cart, on the other hand, does not put off anything into the environment. The only contribution to pollution is in the charging of the cart which is considerably less than what you will contribute by buying and burning gasoline and oil.
This alone makes it a good choice for anyone concerned with the environmental impact. Those who want to maintain the cleanest environment around them as well as put off the least amount of pollution as possible should always choose an electric cart. It’s a good option for those who care more about the world around them than the other benefits of having a gasoline golf cart.
5) They Require Less Maintenance
An electric golf cart requires almost no maintenance besides the checking and filling of the batteries. There aren’t many other maintenance procedures to perform. There is no changing oil, spark plugs, or other engine parts that may go bad. As mentioned earlier, you won’t have to buy gas regularly. You can sit back and enjoy the benefits of ownership of an electric cart knowing that you are saving money on the maintenance of the buggy.
Not only that but the convenience of not having to check and change oil, buy oil, dump oil and other inconveniences make an electric golf cart much more attractive to potential buyers. The primary maintenance done on an electric golf cart is plugging it into the wall.
I have owned my electric cart for about 5 years now and I’ve done almost no maintenance on it other than replacing a solenoid, which was an easy fix. Something like this could also need to be done on a gasoline cart as well. Other than that, as long as you take care of the batteries and keep them filled and cleaned, an electric golf cart will last you a long time, and only the batteries and a few small parts here and there will ever need to be replaced.
6) They Cost Less
In my search for purchasing the perfect golf cart, I found that electric carts are a little less expensive than their gasoline counterparts. This is good considering that they also have less maintenance which, over time, adds to the total price of the cart. Once you purchase an electric golf cart, it isn’t totally without additional costs. The typical batteries in a 48V golf cart have about a 7-year lifespan before they may need to be replaced. You may start to notice less power and less run time from your batteries after a certain number of years. This will let you know that it may be getting to be time to replace them.
I purchased my current cart around five years ago and it had new batteries at the time of purchase. I have definitely noticed a drop in performance but they are still sufficient for normal use and will make it through 18 holes with no problem.
Beyond this eventual cost, I have spent very little on the cart other than the purchase price. The cost to charge the cart regularly is minimal in my case since It only gets used a couple of times per week.
What Can Go Wrong With Electric Golf Carts?
Electric golf carts are a great alternative to gasoline carts but there are some drawbacks. When looking at all the reasons that an electric cart is better, it’s important to also point out some of the issues that you might encounter. While electric golf carts provide a solid option for carting you around on the golf course or other places, here are some of the things that could go wrong.
Keeping the batteries topped up is important but sometimes it may not be enough. Driving too far on an electric cart may put you in a predicament where may not have enough juice to make it back. This generally won’t happen once you understand your cart and what it is capable of but I have seen plenty of carts dead in the water because someone tried to get too much out of the batteries.
This could be compared to a gas cart when driven too far without paying attention to fuel levels. Either type of cart might leave you stranded if you don’t pay attention to these basic levels.
Not enough power or low on power
An electric golf cart may not have as much power on uphills when compared to a gasoline cart. However, an electric cart will generally have plenty of power needed for normal use as long as the batteries are properly charged and maintained. As the batteries of an electric cart age, you will notice less and less power when trying to pull hills. This will only decrease the energy left in the batteries and could drain your batteries even faster than they would normally be drained.
Need to replace batteries
You’ll inevitably have to replace the batteries in an electric cart. The amount of use and how well you maintain the cart will usually determine this timeframe. However, you can expect to do a complete battery change every 7 years.
One of the first items to go in an electric cart is the solenoid. This is an easy fix once you determine that it is in fact the problem. This is usually easy enough for a person to change but many would prefer to have a professional do it for them.
I had a solenoid that failed on me while I was driving around my neighborhood. I was about two miles from my house and had to walk back home so that I could get my truck and tow it back. Not a fun experience but problems like this come with the ownership of a motor vehicle of any type.
Bad speed controller
The speed controller is what controls the voltage being sent to the motor. This will control the speed of the cart as you press the peddle down. It’s another part that may go bad at some point.
The motor is what makes the wheels turn and the magic happen on an electric golf cart. A motor that has gone bad will be a pricey fix but it isn’t a common part that fails on most carts that are within a reasonable age.
Wires may come loose or corroded during the life of your cart, especially if it gets used a lot or kept outdoors. This is usually an easy fix but may be hard to track the problem down. Loose or corroded wires may often be found on battery terminals but this is easy to remedy by either tightening the wires or removing the corrosion.
There are a whole host of issues that may come up that aren’t common. With moving parts of a vehicle, anything could go wrong at any time. From flat tires to broken parts, ignition problems or burned out lights, many parts may need some TLC over the years.
It’s important to note that although there are many things that can go wrong with an electric cart, the same can be said for gas carts. Mechanical breakdowns are inevitable on anything of this nature that relies on parts doing the same thing over and over and over. You will probably experience mechanical issues at some point no matter what type of cart you have so this is to be expected.
Whether you are choosing an electric or a gas golf cart, having one can be rewarding and it is nice to have your own cart out on the course. Beyond that, it’s usable on your own property or in a neighborhood that you may live in. I live in a golf cart community where most people drive them around regularly. It’s a common purchase that people often make where I live.
I enjoy my electric cart because it’s quiet, environmentally friendly, and easy to maintain. Those have always been my biggest concerns when purchasing a cart. The power on an electric cart is sufficient, especially when the batteries are within their first few years. You can start to see a gradual decline in battery power after a few years but this is normal.
Perhaps one of the only downsides of an electric cart is that you have to change batteries ever so often. This isn’t a cheap process. Either way though, the electric golf cart shines in certain areas and makes a better choice for those who are interested in the low maintenance and environmentally friendliness that it can provide.