Gas vs Electric Golf Carts

One of the first decisions you have to make before you buy a golf cart is whether you want a gasoline powered golf cart or an electric powered golf cart. Both types of golf carts have advantages and disadvantages. 

We will compare gasonline golf carts and electric golf carts based on five factors: purchase cost, maintenance and operational cost, speed, range and comfort.

Purchase cost

To be able to compare the purchase cost of electric golf carts and gasoline golf carts we studied 12.000 golf cart prices from 127 dealers.

The majority of golf cart brands and manufacturers sell only electric golf carts.

But the top 3 major golf cart manufacturers Yamaha, EZGO and Club Car sell both gasoline and electric golf carts.

Usually the electric golf cart version and the gasoline version have similar prices. 

The only exception is when an electric golf cart has lithium ion batteries instead of  lead acid batteries. The difference between lithium ion and lead with the EZGO Express S4 is 500 US dollars on the manufacturer suggested retail price. 

But overall the cheapest golf carts are electric golf carts with lead acid batteries. The golf carts from LVtong can be 2000 US dollars cheaper than those of Yamaha, EZGO or Club Car.

Are electric golf carts cheaper than gasoline golf carts?

Electric golf carts with lead acid batteries bought from Chinese manufactures are the cheapest golf carts on the market.

However electric golf carts with lithium batteries are more expensive than gasoline golf carts.

Maintenance and operational cost

The maintenance cost of gas golf carts is built up mainly from changing moving parts from time to time during the life time of the cart. Parts that have to be replaced are mainly drive belts, spark plugs and filters. 

And for the operational cost of a gas golf cart, you obviously have to pay for gas. This is almost always higher than the same consumption in electricity. 

The electric golf cart motor has less moving parts than a gas golf cart engine, so replacing motor parts of an electric one with regular maintenance almost never happens. 

On the other hand, you do need to replace the lead acid or AGM batteries every 3 to 5 years. The exact number depends on how well you maintain the batteries and on how much you use your golf cart. 

If you compare the lifetime cost of an electric golf cart and a gasoline golf cart, the electric golf cart usually wins. Especially in regions where electricity prices are low and gas prices are higher. 

And when you have a chinese electric golf cart, the difference can be bigger, because the prices of spare parts are significant lower than those of Yamaha, EZGO and Club Car. 

Are the maintenance and operational cost lower of electric golf carts lower than of gasoline golf carts?

Electric golf carts are usually cheaper than gasoline golf carts when you compare them on maintenance and operational costs.

Speed

How fast are gasoline golf carts?

Most electric golf carts are faster than gasoline golf carts. Although, new gasoline and electric golf cart versions of Yamaha all have the same top speed. The top speed of both versions of Yamaha golf carts is 19 mph (31 kph).

How fast are electric golf carts?

The fastest electric golf cart that Club Car has on offer is the Villager 2+2 LSV that goes 23 mph. The fastest gasoline Club Car only goes 19 mph. And the fastest electric EZGO is the 2Five that goes 25 mph. And the fastest EZGO gasoline golf cart also only goes 19 mph.

The fastest three electric golf carts, besides the 2Five, are the STAR Sirius 2+2 and the ECO Cross 2+2, that both have a top speed of 25 mph. 

Also note that lithium powered golf carts have the best hill climbing ability. Speed obvisiously declines, but nothing else is close perfomance wise. 

Are electric golf carts faster than gasoline golf carts?

Electric golf carts are the fastest on the market. The have a top speed of 25 mph and gasoline golf carts usually have a top speed of 19 mph.

Range

If range is a huge priority for you, you should almost always choose a gasoline golf cart. Yamaha golf carts have for example a range of 261 miles. With this range you could easily tour a daylong to explore a resort or island. And if there are gas stations in the area range should be absolutely no issue, just like regular gasoline cars.   

The range of most electric golf carts with lead acid batteries and AGM batteries is between 30 and 45 miles. This range is excellent for short trips to do for example groceries, visit a restaurant or visit a beach nearby. But keep in mind that maximize range of electric golf carts you have to choose the 48v version and the 36v version. 

But the rise of lithium golf cart batteries has made the range gap between gasoline golf carts and electric golf carts much smaller. STAR EV for example sells a lithium battery of 210 Ah, that is enough to have a range of 80-90 miles. 

But always try to figure out your average trip mileage it is usually lower than you think.

Does a gasoline golf cart has more range than an electric golf cart?

Gasoline golf carts have a bigger range by a factor of 6 or 7 times. If range is the most important factor for you, choose gas golf carts. 

But if you choose an electric golf cart and you want the maximum range, always go for lithium batteries. 

Comfort

If you prefer driving in silence than you should choose electric golf carts. Especially if your gasoline golf cart is getting older and if you don’t maintain it well, the noise can get worse over time. With an electric golf cart you will never find yourself screaming to your passengers. 

But if you had to choose the gasoline golf cart that makes the least noise, the Yamaha is the best option over the gasoline golf carts from EZGO and Club Car.

Besides noise, gasoline golf carts have also the disadvantage of fumes, that smell and are bad for the environment. And like noise, it could get worse over time if the golf cart gets older. 

Or when you are refuelling you golf cart with a jerry can and you spill it on the golf cart. In comparison to refuelling your gasoline golf cart, connecting an electric golf cart to a charging cable is a cleaner and easier task. Just like connecting your smartphone to an outlet, especially now that almost all new electric golf carts have an onboard charger. Carrying heavy and vulnerable chargers is something from the past.

The only disadvantage of charging you electric golf cart is that it takes 8 to 12 hours to charge almost empty batteries and refuelling you golf cart could take you 5 minutes if you have a jerry can filled out with gasoline. 

Is an electric golf cart more comfortable than a gasoline golf cart?

Overall the electric golf cart wins on the point of comforts, because it has almost no noise and no fumes.

Conclusion: Are electric golf carts better than gasoline golf carts?

Based on speed, comfort, maintenance and operational electric golf carts are better than gasoline golf carts.

When should you choose a gasoline golf cart?

If range is the most important priority for you, you should choose a gasoline golf cart over an electric golf cart. The range of electric golf carts has increased the past 20 years, especially with lithium, but still it cannot compete byfare with the range of gasoline golf carts.  

When should you choose an electric golf cart?

If you deem speed important, a low noise level, no fumes and lower purchase, maintenance and operational cost, you should choose an electric golf cart.  

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