A LOOK INTO INDUSTRY GOLF CARTCARTS OF LEADERSHIP IN THE GOLF A LEGACYAUTONOMOUS December 2023 Issue 43
Redefining Electric Mobility with Industry Expertise and Innovative Models
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GOLF CARTS AT SEMA, CUSTOM CARTS AND MORE...
PAGE 20 FEATURES CONTENTS 20 ISSUE 43 DECEMBER 2023
COVER STORY: DENAGO EV
28 AUTONOMOUS GOLF CARTS 32 GOLF CARTS OF SEMA 40 THE STORY OF 'LIL CHINO 42 HONOR LSV
14 EDITORS NOTE 24 BATTERY BUZZ 36 LET'S GET SOCIAL 48 ASK THE MECHANIC 50 READER'S RIDES 12 www.GolfCarting.com
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The Electric Cart Revolution: From Greens to Gadgets
olfing enthusiasts and e-transport aficionados, have you ever taken a moment to think about how the once simple golf cart has transformed? It seems like just yesterday we were excited about a cup holder, and today, we're navigating touch-screen dashboards and state-ofthe-art, high-tech gadgets. Here's a quick peek into the electrifying world of modern electric carts. First up, can we talk about how these electric carts look like they've just stepped off a sci-fi movie set? Gone are the days of clunky designs. The modern electric cart is sleek, shiny, and oh-sostylish. Think aerodynamic shapes, LED lights, and customizable color options that would make any car enthusiast green with envy. Now, let’s dish about the gadgets. We've moved beyond basic headlights. Today's electric carts come equipped with USB charging ports (because who can golf without a charged phone?), Bluetooth speakers (for those spontaneous dance breaks), and even weatherproof storage compartments.
Some models even come with coolers to keep your beverages chilled. Remember the time when the dashboard was just a steering wheel and an ignition switch? Ah, the simplicity of yesteryears. The dashboards of today's electric carts resemble something closer to a BMW M8. Touch-screen controls, GPS navigation, and even back-up cameras are all the rage. Need Wi-Fi connectivity? Not a problem. You can always be just a touch away from streaming your favorite tunes or checking the latest sports scores. And for the environmentally conscious, there are dashboards that display energy consumption stats. Efficiency and entertainment, all in one! With all these advancements, it's only a matter of time before we see electric carts with autopilot features. Imagine, sitting back and relaxing while your cart chauffeurs you around the course or neighborhood. You know it’s coming. The electric cart world is buzzing, literally and figuratively. From design marvels to technological wonders, the humble golf cart has indeed come a long way. As we embrace these advancements, let's not forget the essence of carting – it’s about enjoying yourself with friends and family. Because no matter how fancy our carts get, it's the memories we make on the greens or in the neighborhood that truly matter. And to all the golf cart enthusiasts out there, keep an eye out. Who knows what the next big thing will be? Flying carts, perhaps? We hope you enjoy this December 2023 edition of golf carting magazine. Have a blessed holiday season!
Trevor Rose Senior Editor Trevor@golfcarting.com
GOLF CARTING // Issue 43 // December 2023 Publisher: Senior Editor: Creative Director: Production Director: Staff Writer: Staff Writer: Staff Writer / Social Media:
GC Media Group, LLC Trevor Rose - email@example.com Troy Merrifield - firstname.lastname@example.org Christian Amico - email@example.com Kelly Madden Josh Delsota Tony Benjamin
Golf Carting® is published monthly by GC Media Group, LLC. Reprinting in whole or by any means- electronic, graphic or mechanical, including photocopying or information storage and retrieval systems is forbidden without written permission from the publisher.
Advertising opportunities and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial contributions are welcomed, but editors recommend that contributors contact us first. Contribution must be accompanied by return postage, and we assume no responsibility for damage or loss of material. Manuscripts must be typewritten, and all photos have to have captions. Photo model releases of all people in photos must accompany manuscript. GOLF CARTING reserves the right to use material, and we reserve the right to edit material to meet publication requirements. E-mail contributions or inquiries to:
email@example.com WARNING: Certain action photographs depicted in this magazine are potentially dangerous. The drivers and vehicle occupants seen in our photos are experienced professionals. Do not attempt to duplicate any stunts. Wear a helmet and safety restraints while operating a Golf Cart, and never drive beyond your capabilities. Do not drink and drive while operating a Golf Cart. We also encourage you to “Tread Lightly” while respecting the outdoors and other outdoor enthusiasts. Use your head and enjoy the ride! ©2022 GC Media Group, LLC
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DENAGO EV Redefining Electric Mobility with Industry Expertise and Innovative Models
enago EV, a burgeoning electric golf cart and Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) brand headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, and supported by warehouses in Carrollton TX, Irving TX, and Chino, CA, is setting new benchmarks in the electric vehicle industry. With a team comprising several industry veterans from leading companies, Denago EV is combining experience with innovation to redefine electric mobility.
GOLF CARTING MAGAZINE 19
The strategic direction of Denago EV is further strengthened by the advisory role of the former VP of Textron Specialized Vehicles, ensuring the company stays on the right trajectory in critical areas. This experienced guidance, coupled with the team’s impressive track record of building multiple $100M revenue companies in diverse categories, positions Denago EV for groundbreaking success. In an exciting development, Denago EV is set to officially release two new models at PGA 2024. The "Nomad," a versatile 2+2 model, and the "Rover," a true four-seater with all forward-
facing seats, are both equipped with advanced LiFePO4 batteries, showcasing the company's commitment to cuttingedge technology and sustainability. Further underlining its growth and commitment to the market, Denago EV has allocated a substantial $10M marketing budget for 2024. This investment is aimed at enhancing the visibility and reach of their growing dealer network, signaling a significant push in the electric vehicle marketplace. In an industry-first move, Denago EV will offer a 9am - 9pm EST dealer service, ensuring that dealers have access to human
support whenever needed. This initiative is a testament to Denago EV's dedication to exceptional customer service and dealer support. As of the end of November, 17 Denago EV demo carts have been delivered to dealers across the nation. These demo carts are crucial for dealers to test and provide feedback, enabling Denago EV to refine and perfect their offerings based on realworld use and dealer insights. The inspiration behind the name "Denago" comes from the majestic Denali Mount, reflecting the company's high
aspirations and goals. This symbolism is representative of Denago EV's commitment to reaching new heights in the electric golf cart and LSV sector. Denago EV is not just introducing new models; it is revolutionizing the electric vehicle experience with a focus on sustainability, innovation, and unparalleled customer service. With its strategic vision, industry expertise, and groundbreaking new models, Denago EV is poised to become a leading name in the electric vehicle industry, offering an unmatched experience to customers and dealers alike. -GCM
BY TROJAN BATTERY COMPANY
CHARGING TIPS TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF FLOODED LEAD-ACID AND VALVE-REGULATED LEAD-ACID (VRLA) BATTERIES
Charging – one of the most critical aspects of flooded lead-acid and VRLA battery care – is often misunderstood. By following proper charging techniques, you can optimize the performance and longevity of flooded lead-acid and VRLA (AGM and gel) batteries. Be sure to fully charge these batteries after each use and periodically during storage to prevent damage. See your vehicle’s user’s guide and the instructions issued by your charger’s manufacturer. TIPS FOR PROPER CHARGING • • • •
Refer to your user’s guide for charging specifications for your battery. Verify that your charger voltage matches your battery pack voltage. Set the charger to the appropriate algorithm or profile for deep-cycle flooded, AGM, or gel batteries. Ensure tight connections between the charger and
• • • • •
battery. Charge only in a well-ventilated area. Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries Only. Before charging, make sure the electrolyte covers the surface of the plates. If not, add water just to cover the plate’s surfaces. Do not interrupt a charge cycle. Never charge a frozen battery and avoid charging in temperatures above 120° F (49° C). Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries Only. Periodically equalize flooded lead-acid batteries. Equalization is an intentional overcharge given to a string of batteries. By fully charging all batteries and thoroughly mixing electrolyte, equalization reduces sulfation and stratification to extend battery life. NEVER equalize VRLA batteries unless instructed to do so by the manufacturer.
Charging times depend on how deeply the batteries have been discharged. VRLA batteries charge faster than flooded, and gel charge in about the same time as flooded, or a bit faster.
AUTONOMOUS GOLF CARTS T
THE FUTURE IS NOW
he future of eco-friendly, electric vehicle transportation is here, and technology and environmental consciousness are coming together to change the face of EV transportation. In 2022, a group of students and faculty at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland unveiled a golf cart which can be operated either by written or spoken commands, a 28 www.GolfCarting.com
touch screen, or an Xbox® controller. The unique project was years in the making, and a truly collaborative effort by teams of the University’s best and brightest minds. The students first designed and created a simulated prototype to thoroughly test their technology before applying it to the actual cart, which is an older E-Z-GO® model. They added the necessary electrical circuits, made their own
mechanical parts needed for the self-driving cart and handled all of the vehicle’s mechanical and system modifications. The cart is equipped with rooftop solar panels for a renewable energy source for charging and power while in motion. But it’s the advanced autonomous algorithms that are attracting attention from around the world. The purpose of the ambitious project is multi-faceted – to not only use as a demonstration of the latest in autonomous vehicle transportation but to allow future students to use for research into advanced energy and control systems, power supply, cybersecurity and much more. Advisors and students at Florida Polytechnic University understand that the future of smart and environmentally friendly personal transportation is a critical area of development and can change the way people get around. Their golf cart project is key to progression and refinement of autonomous vehicles that will soon be a major factor in all of our lives. Future plans for the cart include the integration of cameras to allow the operator to adapt the cart’s steering, power and braking of the vehicle to suit different driving scenarios. Artificial Intelligence, (AI), is also playing a big part in the research and development of this autonomous cart, just as it is in so many aspects of life today. The teams at FPU know that their groundbreaking work will impact lives throughout the world for transporting people in environmentally friendly, low-speed vehicles in applications like school campuses, sporting venues, medical and military facilities, amusement parks, residential communities and more. The golf cart project was funded by the University’s Advanced Mobility Institute as part of a National Science Foundation award which will be used to develop a large scale simulation facility related to autonomous and connected vehicles. BIG NAMES INVESTING IN AUTONOMOUS EVS There are several large manufacturers leading the revolution in autonomous electric vehicles. Since “golf carts,” as they are most often called, are now used for much more than enjoying 18-holes at your local country club, companies like Honda® are now developing what they are calling a micromobility device designed to assist those who are no longer able to drive themselves safely. Much of the design and operation of these cutting edge EVs involve the highly advanced circuitry systems and data-driven algorithms that allow the carts to be autonomous. High resolution video and sensor technologies allow the EVs
golfcarttech to do things like detect upcoming turns, traffic signals and changes in the road surface, objects obstructing their path and much more. The video images are tagged with digitally annotated data that directs the EV to accommodate and adapt to a wide array of conditions and scenarios. The push to perfect and advance autonomous Low Speed Vehicles, (LSVs), and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, (NEVs), is gaining momentum not only in the US but around the globe. An Israeli company called Carteav is promising to propel what they are calling “Golf Cart 2.0” into the world of selfdriving EVs. The company’s CEO and Founder, Avinoam Barak, told us, “it is easier to adapt a golf cart or low-speed vehicle to the autonomous age than it is for a vehicle that travels 100 kph”. Their key objective is to utilize these engineering wonders as transportation for those who subscribe to an app on their phone that can summon an autonomous EV to get them from point A to point B. This has massive possibilities for places like school campuses, entertainment and amusement parks, resort properties, smaller towns which are already based around the carting life like The Villages in Central Florida and Peachtree City outside of Atlanta, and much more. Carteav uses a complex mapping system and intuitive autonomous software to teach the cart where and how to
drive without the risk of dealing with a confused or obnoxious Uber driver. The EVs even talk to the passengers, notifying them of things like upcoming routes and time of arrival to their destination. Carteav is currently running pilot programs that add a “safety driver” in the vehicles to ensure safety as the vehicles are in the testing phase in a retirement community in Israel with plans for future testing in Florida and Arizona. One of the company’s key partners is PilotCar EV, which was profiled by Golf Carting Magazine. The autonomous Carteav EV was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show, (CES), in January 2023 in Las Vegas. “Autonomous golf carts are the ideal solution for resorts, gated communities, and many other markets. It is safer, it saves money, and it provides better service," Barak said. ACCELERATING INTO THE FUTURE, WITHOUT A DRIVER Because LSVs are not regulated by the same laws and safety requirements that pertain to passenger cars, the companies involved in autonomous carts are confident that development and practical use will advance much faster. Carteav’s CEO was quoted as saying he intends to “fully disrupt the LSV sector.”
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'LIL CHINO I
n a nostalgic journey through family history, I reminisce about the extraordinary creation my father, Edward T. Connolly (fondly known as Chino), crafted many years ago—a horseless carriage for my mother, Anna Mae. The photograph captures my grandparents and uncle joyfully taking it for a ride, a testament to the craftsmanship and love embedded in that moment. Tragically, my father passed away
when I was merely 7 years old. Presently, my wife and I reside in the vibrant Fun-N-Sun RV Resort, a 55+ community nestled in San Benito, Texas. The hallmark of our community is the ubiquitous golf cart, the preferred mode of transport for all activities. It's not uncommon for residents to own two carts, a testament to the shared enthusiasm for these zippy vehicles. As for me, I've
spent the past decade indulging in the hobby of refurbishing and customizing golf carts. About four months ago, in June 2022, inspiration struck. In a heartfelt
tribute to my parents, I envisioned crafting a custom golf cart mirroring the charm of the horseless carriage my father had built for my mother. Once my wife and I have relished our moments
with 'Lil Chino, the cart will become a cherished heirloom, passed down through the generations. The foundation of this project lay in a standard 2002 48-Volt Club Car DS.
The project began with a 2002 48-Volt Club Car DS. The cart was stripped down to the aluminum
chassis. Four generations of Connolly men working on this project! Myself, my son Billy Jr.,
my grandson Michael, and my great grandson Landon.
Added heavy duty rear leaf springs, a 6-inch lift kit, all new electrical wiring, new batteries,
custom steering wheel, custom dash, 6- and 7-inch aluminum wheel extensions on the rear
and front and inserted an 8 inch extension to the front chassis.
Designed and built a cardboard pattern for the body. Replaced the cardboard pattern with 1⁄4-inch plywood. Next a coat of weatherproof
sealant and fiberglass was added over the plywood. The body is primed and ready for paint, clear coat, and pinstriping. After the paint, it was
time to install the lights, wheels, and custom upholstery.
An Amish craftsman custom-built these 34-inch, spoked wagon wheels.
Stripping it down to the aluminum chassis marked the beginning of a transformative journey. This project involved the collaborative efforts of dear friends, each contributing their unique talents and resources. Four generations of Connolly men, including myself, my son Billy Jr., my grandson Michael, and my great-grandson Landon, passionately worked on breathing life GOLF CARTING MAGAZINE 39
golfcartcommunity into this tribute. The customization process included adding heavy-duty rear leaf springs, a 6-inch lift kit, new electrical wiring, batteries, a custom steering wheel, a bespoke dashboard, and 6- and 7-inch aluminum wheel extensions on the rear and front. An 8-inch extension was seamlessly integrated into the front chassis for an authentic touch. The meticulous craftsmanship extended to the creation of a cardboard
pattern for the body, later replaced by 1⁄4-inch plywood. A weatherproof sealant and fiberglass coating were meticulously applied, laying the foundation for durability and resilience. To add a touch of authenticity, skilled Amish craftsmen were entrusted with the creation of 34-inch spoked wagon wheels. With the body primed and prepared, the final stages involved painting, clear coating, and pinstriping. Subsequently,
lights, wheels, and custom upholstery found their place on the cart, bringing it to life. And there it is—'Lil Chino! As I stand beside this labor of love, I can't help but feel the rich tapestry of family history woven into its every detail. A tribute to my parents, a testament to the craftsmanship of generations, and a rolling legacy ready to be enjoyed for years to come.
HONOR LSV AMERICAN PRIDE IN EVERY RIDE
hen entrepreneur Brian Plaisance puts his mind to starting a new business venture, there’s only one way to proceed – do it big and do it right, or don’t do it at all. HONOR LSV is located in Summerville, South Carolina, and is the third start-up for this innovator with an extensive manufacturing, metalwork, and machinist background.
Plaisance explains his motivation for starting his new cart design and manufacturing business. “I had purchased a cart from a well-known, major manufacturer, and unfortunately my son had an accident in it,” he says. “I needed to dismantle the cart to start the repairs, and I just couldn’t believe the inferior quality and workmanship I uncovered when I began taking it
apart.” He saw a real need and opportunity to completely design, fabricate and manufacture the ultimate, all-American made, low speed vehicle. Plaisance chose the name HONOR LSV because of his deep belief in this country’s talent and ambition to provide the finest quality cart available, and his personal and company’s support of all U.S. Military members past and present, first responders, law enforcement officers and more. “Our company is honored to support and participate in a lot of regional charity events like community parades, fundraisers and public events, particularly when they benefit the people who work to keep America strong and keep jobs here,” said Plaisance.
HONOR LSV was founded in 2022, and their impressive physical plant in South Carolina is a state-of-the-art, 130,000-square foot, climate controlled facility where the company employs around 60 people, depending on the season. Plaisance expects that in 2024 that number will expand to about 90 staff. They are situated on 22-acres, because he knew he would need potential expansion room for future growth. “I planned for future expansion of the business based on HONOR’S level of acceptance once introduced to the market,” he says. Plaisance and his team went big when adding every piece of necessary equipment needed to create each HONOR LSV. The facility boasts two thermoform machines for precision
GOLF CARTING MAGAZINE 43
molding of parts, two lasers, press brake, a manual welding shop, 5-axis CNC mill, tube bender and the largest powder coating facility in South Carolina. “We make every aluminum frame and subframe in our plant from the ground up with laser precision, install every single nut and bolt and make sure each cart meets our exacting standards,” Plaisance said. HONOR LSV carts are available at about forty nationwide dealers.
THE HONOR LSV MODELS The company currently offers two different LSV models so creating the perfect cart of your dreams is an easy process. The 2+2 G1 is HONOR’S 4-passenger cart and comes in 7 different body colors, seating in 6 unique color combinations, and an array of 8 eye-popping wheel and tire combinations. The 2+2 G1 is available with a 3 or 6-inch lift kit, allowing easy and smooth travel over trails and rougher terrain. Power is supplied by a 4 or 5kw drive motor, depending on a 4 or 6-passenger cart, and either a 105Ah or 160Ah lithium ion battery from Eco Battery. HONOR can also equip your LSV with accessories like a trailer hitch, audio sound bar and subwoofers, front and real safety light bars and more. Other standard features include 4 wheel disc brakes, premium custom seats with storage, LED street legal headlamps and turn signals, side mirrors with incorporated turn signals, independent and adjustable front suspension, a 10" touchscreen display with Bluetooth®, onboard smart charger, seatbelts, rear flip seat with cooler, foldable windshield, extended roof and USB charger. The company’s 4+2 G1 is HONOR’S 6-passenger configuration with a stretched frame, 4 forward-facing seats and 2 rear-facing seats, ideal for taking the family around the lake or transporting 6 passengers within your residential community and on short
commutes. “We have some really exciting news coming in the summer of 2024 with our newest models which we feel will make quite a statement and interest a lot of potential buyers,” Plaisance said. One of the most appealing reasons for purchasing an HONOR LSV is the price, which is comparable with a number of nationally known manufacturers offering far less in terms of quality, performance, and features. The 2+2 G1 begins at approximately $14,000.00 and the 4+2 starts at about $16,000.00, excluding any applicable shipping or dealer fees. Plaisance says, “There are several so-called high end brands
selling for thousand’s more than our LSVs that don’t offer the quality or features you’ll find on every HONOR cart.” After the experience Plaisance had trying to rebuild his former cart because of an accident, he knew he needed to build a lifestyle company, not just provide a premium quality, American made LSV at an affordable price point. “Our customers are looking for a reasonably priced alternative to carts manufactured or with major components that come from overseas,” he stated. “That’s our key to our success, and I could not be prouder of the team, processes and facilities we’ve assembled to bring HONOR LSVs to market.”
ASK THE MECHANIC Q: What are the most common causes of battery failure? A: The following is a list of the most common reasons for battery failure: • Loss of electrolyte due to heat or overcharging • Lead sulfation from extended storage • Undercharging • Excessive vibration • Freezing or high temperatures • Using tap water which causes calcium sulfation. Use distilled water only! • Positive grid corrosion or growth due to high temperature Q: Can my batteries freeze? A: Yes, batteries can freeze if they are left in a state of partial or complete discharge. As the state of charge in a battery decreases, the electrolyte becomes more like water and the freezing point increases. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92F. At a 40% state of charge, the electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16 degrees. It is recommended to move the cart to a cool (not cold) dry area or remove the batteries and place them in a warmer environment to which have the ability to still be trickle charged every so often. Placing the batteries on cold concrete will do more harm than good so find a mat or piece of wood to place them on while storing. Q: Can I increase the life of my batteries? A: Yes, proper care of your batteries can increase longevity. 48 www.GolfCarting.com
HERE ARE SOME TIPS: • Recharging slowly and keeping your battery well maintained are the best ways to extend the life of your battery. • Recharge a deep cycle battery as soon as possible after each use to prevent sulfation. • In warmer climates and during the summer, watering is required more often. Check the electrolyte levels and add distilled water, if required. Never add electrolyte to a battery that is not fully charged. Add distilled water and do not overfill. The plates must be always covered. • High ambient temperatures (above 80F) will shorten battery life because it increases positive grid corrosion and growth. • Deeper depth of discharge (DoD) will shorten the life of the batteries. For example, a battery with an average of 50% DoD will last twice as long or more as an 80% DoD; a 20% DoD battery will last five times longer than a 50% DoD. For example, golf cart batteries will average 225 cycles at 80% DoD and increase to 750 cycles at 50% DoD. Q: Do batteries self-discharge? A: Yes. All batteries, regardless of their chemistry, selfdischarge. The rate of self-discharge depends on the type of battery, the age of the battery, and the storage temperature the batteries are exposed to. As an estimate, AGM and flooded lead acid batteries self-discharge approximately 4% per week at 80 degrees temperature.
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