Watching the evolution of the electric golf car has sure been interesting. Back in the old days the manufactures built golf cars for one purpose, golfing. Most of them were three wheelers, some had tiller bars instead of steering wheels and they were topless. In the late 60’s manufactures realized that three wheels weren’t safe and a top would be nice. However, there was still only one color: white, with white vinyl seats. Boring. So, we dealers took it upon ourselves to give the customer what they needed and wanted. Golf cars were being driven on the streets so they needed to be street legal. It was often dark and cool when the golfer finished the “19th hole”, so we installed a lighting system and a windshield. To give them a little pizazz, custom paint and upholstery.
We were making some progress on the look, but they were still slow. 12 mph slow. They had to be because they used resistor control systems. Which meant pedal to the metal, or you would damage the resistor. In the mid 1980’s, solid state control came along, allowing us to drive partial throttle without hurting anything. It was the biggest advancement since four wheels. It allowed us to install bigger motors for more speed. It must have gotten a little out of hand because in the 1990’s the federal government got involved to keep the cars safe. (Probably a good thing). The next big leap forward was in 2008 when AC motors came along to replace DC motors. Their superior efficiency meant we could lighten up the battery pack and still have good range. Along with AC power came full regenerative braking and an electric park brake. No more watching your golf car roll into the lake just because you forgot to lock the brake.
But there’s always been a “sore spot”. Corrosion and battery maintenance. Lead acid batteries must be filled and cleaned. A lot. Although we tried “Gel” and “AGM” sealed batteries, they had poor lifespans and were expensive. Flooded lead acid batteries remained the most affordable choice. We just had to stay on top of them. Another problem with lead acid is they self-discharge if left unattended. You go away for the off-season and when you return your batteries are totally discharged. Then about five years ago, along comes aftermarket lithium batteries. Maintenance free, no corrosion, and no self-discharge! All our problems were solved! But, hold the phone, there was still a problem. They were after market- not factory installed. Their safety and reliability were suspect. Their claim of long life, maybe 10 years, was only backed by a two or three-year warranty, by an unheard company that may not even be around when problems occur. What the industry needed was a heavy hitter to step up to the plate. Enter: Samsung. Results! Grand slam! Home Run!! Now our industry has reached a new pinnacle. Now we have a golf car that is about as maintenance free as a cell phone. Samsung has teamed up with EZGO, the worlds most popular golf car to create the new ELiTE. The worlds most advanced golf car. Available at A-1 Golf Carts in Sun Lakes, AZ maintenance free, safe, reliable, and backed by two companies that will be around for the foreseeable future.
The other good news is the option list is never-ending. If you can imagine it, we dealers can come up with it. Any color, custom LED lighting, convertible golf/seat, it goes on and on. So, pick your options and ask your dealer for factory installed lithium batteries. It’s the next big thing in the golf car world. Be safe & hit ‘em straight!