How To Upgrade Your Golf Cart To Lithium Batteries

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golf cart batteries

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Key Takeaway:

  • Upgrading a golf cart to lithium batteries enhances performance, extends range, and reduces maintenance. Key steps include selecting compatible packs and chargers, safely removing old batteries, installing and configuring the BMS, and proper charging practices. Monitoring SOC and understanding battery care are crucial for maximizing the benefits and lifespan of lithium batteries.

To upgrade your golf cart to lithium batteries, first select a compatible lithium battery pack and charger that matches your cart’s voltage requirements. Next, safely remove the old lead-acid batteries, clean the battery compartments, and install the new lithium packs with battery management system. Finally, fully charge the lithium batteries, program the BMS, and test drive your upgraded golf cart before regular use.

Replacing old lead-acid batteries with lithium-ion can dramatically improve your golf cart’s performance. This guide covers everything you need to know to upgrade your cart to lithium the right way.

Is it Time to Upgrade to Lithium Batteries?

There are a few signs that it may be time to upgrade your golf cart from lead-acid to lithium batteries:

  • Your existing batteries are damaged or failing – This includes bulging cases, corroded terminals, cracking, significant loss of capacity. Lithium batteries don’t have these deterioration issues.
  • Noticing decreased range per charge – If your golf cart can’t make it through a full round on a charge, lithium batteries provide 2-3X the range between charges.
  • Tired of lead-acid maintenance and babysitting – Lithium batteries don’t need regular water refills or cause corrosion. Set it and forget it.
  • Want improved speed, acceleration and performance – The lightweight lithium batteries coupled with high amperage output enable faster acceleration and higher top speeds.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues with your current lead-acid batteries, it may be time to upgrade your golf cart to lithium for an entirely new experience and performance.

Step-by-Step Lithium Battery Conversion Process

Converting your lead-acid golf cart to lithium batteries is a straightforward DIY project. Just follow these key steps:

  • Determine your voltage and capacity needs – Match the voltage of your existing system, typically 36V or 48V. Calculate required amp hour capacity based on average round length and speed.
  • Select compatible lithium batteries and charger – Choose lithium battery packs and a lithium-specific charger meeting your voltage, capacity, and performance requirements. Shop from reputable suppliers.
  • Safely remove and dispose of old batteries – Use proper lifting equipment to remove and transport the heavy lead-acid batteries for disposal or recycling.
  • Clean and inspect battery compartments – Clear out any corrosion and debris from existing battery trays or mounts. Assess if any modifications are needed.
  • Install new lithium packs – Secure the new lithium batteries in the mounting area with brackets or spacers as needed.
  • Connect monitoring system – Plug in the included battery management system (BMS) to continuously monitor cell conditions.
  • Program battery management system – Configure the protection thresholds and settings conservatively based on the new lithium batteries.
  • Fully charge batteries – Use the compatible lithium charger to charge the new packs to 100% before first use.
  • Test cart functionality – Take the upgraded golf cart for test drives at slow speeds to validate full functionality before normal operation.

With the right batteries and charger, the lithium conversion process is straightforward. Just take precautions, work safely, and configure the BMS properly.

Other Required Gear for a Lithium Upgrade

In addition to the lithium batteries and compatible charger, you may need some additional gear or accessories for a full lithium conversion:

  • Enclosure modifications – Lithium battery packs are physically smaller than lead-acid. You may need mounting plates or brackets to properly secure them.
  • Battery management system – A BMS is essential to continuously monitor cell voltages and temperatures of the lithium pack.
  • Wiring harnesses – Adapter cables may be required to connect the lithium batteries to the existing golf cart wiring.
  • Connectors – Upgraded solar or charging connectors rated for the higher lithium amperages.
  • Insulated tools – Use protective gloves and insulated wrenches to safely handle lithium battery packs during installation.
  • Safety equipment – Have a lithium-approved fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency with the high voltage batteries.
  • DC-DC converter – Allows leveraging your existing golf cart alternator to charge lithium packs on the go.
  • Bluetooth module – Can provide voltage and diagnostic data from the BMS to your phone for monitoring.

While not always essential, these extras help optimize the performance, monitoring, and safety of your lithium conversion.

What Size Lithium Battery Do You Need?

Follow these steps to calculate the ideal capacity for your lithium golf cart battery upgrade:

  • Match voltage – Choose a lithium battery pack voltage that matches your existing system – either 36V or 48V.
  • Determine round length – Estimate the average total hole length for your usual golf course route. For example, 18 holes x 150 yards per hole = 2700 total yards.
  • Estimate minutes per round – Factor your typical golf cart transit speed of 10-12 mph to determine the average time to complete the course. For a 2700 yard course at 10 mph, that’s approximately 60 minutes.
  • Calculate amp hour needs – Using the estimated minutes, determine the battery amp hour capacity required. 1 hour = 50 amps. So 60 minutes x 50 amps per hour = 3000 amp hours (3kWh) minimum capacity.
  • Add buffer – Give yourself a 20% capacity buffer for battery health. Using the example above, 1.2 x 3000Ah = 3600Ah (3.6kWh) recommended lithium battery capacity.

Selecting the properly sized lithium pack ensures you have ample power for your entire round as well as battery longevity. Oversize if you want to future proof capacity.

Monitoring Your Lithium Battery State of Charge

Keeping tabs on your new lithium battery pack’s state of charge (SOC) is important to understand available range and prevent full discharges. Options to monitor SOC include:

  • Battery management system display – The included BMS will have an onboard digital or LED display indicating current SOC as a percentage.
  • Bluetooth module and phone app – Pair an optional Bluetooth module to the BMS and use a smartphone app to view detailed voltage, current, and SOC data.
  • Aftermarket display or gauge – Standalone battery monitors can be purchased and installed to show lithium pack SOC.
  • Voltage charts – Use voltage measurements to estimate SOC. Typically 3.00V/cell is empty, 3.30V is 50% charged, and 3.45V/cell is 100% full.

Actively keeping an eye on your new lithium battery pack’s SOC will prevent unexpectedly running out of juice on the links and maximize battery health through proper care.

Charging Your Lithium Batteries

Properly charging your new lithium pack improves safety and longevity:

  • Use a compatible lithium charger – Be sure to use a charger designed for lithium iron phosphate or lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries. The charger should have a CC-CV profile.
  • Avoid full discharges – For longest battery life, avoid fully draining the pack. Recharge at 20% remaining when possible.
  • Charge to 100% after each day – Unlike lead-acid, lithium batteries don’t need to be kept at partial state of charge. Fully recharge after each day’s use.
  • Store around 50% charge – When storing the cart for prolonged periods, discharge or charge the pack to around 50% state of charge for optimal health.
  • Charge after each use – Get in the habit of plugging in the charger after every round to top off the charge.

Properly caring for your lithium batteries will ensure they continue delivering peak performance round after round. The batteries will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I swap out the old batteries in my golf cart for new lithium ones?

Yes, with proper electrical precautions, you can upgrade your golf cart from lead-acid to lithium-ion batteries for increased performance and lifespan.

Is making the switch from lead-acid to lithium batteries worth it for my golf cart?

Switching to lithium batteries is typically worth the upfront investment for most golf cart owners due to dramatic gains in range, battery life, and acceleration.

What’s the damage to my wallet for putting fresh lithium batteries in my ride?

The cost to upgrade a typical 48V golf cart to lithium batteries is $1200-$2000 depending on amp hour capacity, brand, and re-use of existing components.

Will juicing up my cart with lithium batteries give it more zip off the tee?

Lithium batteries can increase golf cart acceleration and top speed by 25-50% or more compared to the equivalent lead-acid battery configuration.

What are the drawbacks I should keep in mind with lithium batteries in my golf cart?

Potential drawbacks of lithium golf cart batteries include high initial cost, the need for a BMS, and proper winter storage care to maximize lifespan.

How many holes can I expect to go between charges after upgrading to lithium?

With lithium batteries, you can expect 40-70 miles of range on a full charge depending on your golf cart model and battery capacity.

Should I plug in my lithium golf cart batteries after each and every round?

It’s recommended to recharge lithium golf cart batteries fully after every day of use for optimal health and lifespan.

Could over juicing fry my new lithium golf cart batteries?

Overcharging lithium batteries without proper charge controllers can potentially damage cells and poses a fire risk due to overheating.


Switching your trusty golf cart over to lithium batteries may feel intimidating, but the benefits are massive and the process is very achievable. 

With extended runtimes, zippy acceleration, and seriously lowered maintenance, your golf game and companions will get a jolt of juice by upgrading to lithium power. 

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can convert your cart to lithium batteries in a weekend and be ruling the fairways in your souped up speedster in no time. 

Give it a go and we’re confident you’ll become a lithium evangelist for life and never look back! Happy trails and fewest putts to you!