Mobility Scooter and Golf Cart Batteries

Posted on 13 Oct 2015 by

We often have this conversation with customers. A good golf buggy battery should take your trolley and golf bag for around 300 rounds of golf - a couple of million metres - before it is ready for retirement. That's about 50 cents per round in battery cost, plus around 5 cents of electricity for a recharge before each round. A lot cheaper than a caddy, and batteries don't snigger when you hook one into the water. Not bad value and, looked at in this way, hard to explain why anyone would try and get away with the wrong battery to save a few dollars. 

Mobility scooters - maybe 150 to 250 trips and recharges, so let's call that about 3000km on a pair of batteries costing around $400 in total, and well under 50c per recharge. That's around 17 cents per kilometre on that calculation, which really isn't bad value at all. 

So here are a few thoughts on how to get the best from this sort of battery:

  • If you are going to use lead acid batteries, then use absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries if you want them to deliver plenty of punch. Gel batteries cost a little more, are better at being left in a discharged state, but don't tend to deliver their power with quite so much gusto as an AGM. If we are powering a mobility scooter for a lightweight lady then we might use gel batteries for longevity, but if we are powering a heavy golf cart or a mobility scooter that is carrying a bit of weight then, without a doubt, we'll lean towards AGM
  • Use batteries that are fit for purpose. A battery specialist knows what an EV battery is (electric vehicle rated), and they'll know which batteries last well and which don't. If they are hoping to get a Christmas Card from you then they'll sell you something decent. If you can't find anyone that sings their praises, it's probably because they sell cheap batteries at a high price, and hope that their customers won't mind when they get stranded
  • Chargers - these batteries benefit from being left on charge all the time - when they are not being used. This is because the chemical reaction that makes a battery work is either working for, or against, the battery at all times. When on charge, the sulphur in the acid is being forced back into suspension, and when not on charge the sulphur is having a field day as it coats the lead plates with a hardening crust (sulphation)
  • Chargers again - so buy a decent charger, not something cheap from a supermarket. Buy one that senses the battery voltage and resistance and tailors the output accordingly. Also buy one from someone that has a retail presence and is selling approved and genuine product, not carefully made copies through a temporary website
  • It costs a matter of cents per day to keep a good charger plugged in to maintain your batteries in tip-top condition. Unplugging the charger to save electricity is false economy. All you'll be doing is giving more money to battery companies (and batteries that have been left flat for weeks are going to be useless, and this is not something that is covered by warranty, in the same way that if you buy a pet rabbit and forget to feed it for a few weeks, it'll die - through lack of care not "manufacturing defect"
  • Use the largest battery or batteries that can be fitted into the space. More size = less % discharge = longer life and better range
  • If you fancy using lithium batteries (lighter, more power for longer before they fade, MUCH more expensive) then go ahead. They certainly have their place in the battery food chain for people with deep-enough pockets but keep in mind a few things - quality counts, poor quality is downright dangerous, you'll probably need a special charger, and there is no way that these batteries should be sold by people who aren't battery specialists. If in doubt, give us a call to chat about what is good and what isn't. We've tested 16 lithium golf cart battery brands and, so far, there is only one that we are prepared to sell, with one other just about to arrive as I write this
  • Make sure that your leads, connectors, plugs etc are up to the job. Loose leads, frayed wires and wobbly fuses play a big part in poor performance

Above all, ask your supplier what they would use if they were you, and make sure they really know what they are talking about. We see some absolute shockers - people selling very bad batteries at inflated prices to customers that deserve a lot more respect. If your battery supplier doesn't have a good name on your golf course or amongst fellow mobility device users, there will be a reason. Find one that does!