EXPERIENCE EXTREMEASOUND WITHOF SOUNDEXTREME BY ECOXGEAR CART INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP IN THE GOLF LEGACY February 2024 Issue 45
GOLF CARTING MAGAZINE 1121 PARK WEST BLVD B214 MOUNT PLEASANT, SC 29466
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PAGE 22 FEATURES CONTENTS 22 ISSUE 45 FEBRUARY 2024
COVER STORY: SINISTER KARTS
32 EXTREME SOUND WITH SOUNDEXTREME BY ECOXGEAR 34 KNOW AS YOU GO NEW ADVANCES IN GOLF CART AND HANDHELD GPS TECH 42 SOLAR POWERED GOLF CARTS
14 EDITORS NOTE 18 INDUSTRY NEWS 30 BATTERY BUZZ 38 LET'S GET SOCIAL 48 ASK THE MECHANIC 50 READER'S RIDES 12 www.GolfCarting.com
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The Evolution of Golf Cart Designs: From Functional to Fashionable
s I am preparing to attend the PGA Merchandise Show in a couple of weeks, I always get excited to discover the latest design innovations of the electric cart. Picture this: a few decades ago, a golf cart was just a humble, four-wheeled contraption, much like your living room couch on wheels, minus the comfort and the TV remote. Fast forward to today, and voila! Golf carts have become the runway models of the greens and community pools, flaunting designs that could make even a luxury car turn its headlights in envy. The journey from functional to fashionable in the world of golf carts is nothing short of a Cinderella story. Once upon a time, the golf cart was a simple vehicle, designed to do one thing and one thing only: save your legs the trouble of walking. But oh, how times have changed! Let's start with the aesthetics. Early golf carts looked like they were designed by someone who thought a box on wheels was the height of sophistication. Nowadays, golf carts come in an array of styles, from sleek and modern to retro and quirky. Some even resemble miniature versions of classic cars, making you feel like a 1950s movie star as you cruise to the next hole.
And it's not just about looks. These carts have become the Swiss Army knives of electric transportation. Need a built-in cooler for those scorching summer days? Check. How about a state-of-the-art sound system to play your favorite tunes? You got it. There are even carts with heated seats for those chilly morning rounds. Because why should you freeze just to play the back nine or to visit your friend for a cornhole tourney? Personalization is also key in the evolution of golf cart design. Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. Now, you can customize your cart to reflect your personality. Want zebra stripes and neon lights? No problem. Prefer a sophisticated black-on-black with leather seats? You're all set. It's like playing a real-life version of "Pimp My Ride," but with less Xzibit and more argyle. But let's not forget the pièce de résistance of modern golf cart design: the tech. These aren't your grandpa's golf carts. We're talking GPS systems that can locate the nearest sand trap, USB ports to charge your smartphone, and even carts that drive themselves. Yes, self-driving golf carts, because why drive when you can sit back, relax, and wonder if you're living in the future? The evolution of golf cart designs from functional to fashionable is a testament to human ingenuity and our never-ending quest for comfort, style, and a great transportation experience. So, the next time you're on the course or driving through the community, take a moment to appreciate your stylish chariot. Just remember to keep your eyes on the road and not just your fabulous cart. We hope you enjoy this February 2024 edition of Golf Carting Magazine.
Trevor Rose Senior Editor Trevor@golfcarting.com
GOLF CARTING // Issue 45 // February 2024 Publisher: Senior Editor: Creative Director: Production Director: Staff Writer: Staff Writer: Staff Writer / Social Media:
GC Media Group, LLC Trevor Rose - firstname.lastname@example.org Troy Merrifield - email@example.com Christian Amico - firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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:
firstname.lastname@example.org 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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BINTELLI BEYOND - 2024 CALENDAR YEAR UPGRADES Bintelli, a 23-year-old company and leading innovator in the Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) industry, is thrilled to unveil significant enhancements to the Bintelli Beyond Dealer Program for the 2024 calendar year. These new standard features elevate the ownership experience blending technology, industry-leading equipment and peace of mind with a longer warranty. Key Features of 2024 Produced Bintelli Beyonds: • 9-inch High-Resolution Touchscreen: Enjoy a cutting-edge user interface for an enhanced driving experience. • Lithium Batteries: State-of-the-art lithium batteries for improved performance and efficiency. • Wireless Phone Charging Port: Convenient charging on the go, keeping drivers connected effortlessly. • Upgraded Sound System: Elevate the driving experience with an enhanced audio system. • Unique Keys: Each vehicle comes equipped with distinctive keys for added security. • Upgraded Warranty: The 4-year limited warranty has been upgraded to include 2-year bumper-to-bumper coverage. All backed by Bintelli's leading after-sale and support departments. The new Bintelli Beyond’s added features come at no additional cost, allowing dealerships to continue to offer the best value with industry-leading profits for vehicles sold at MSRP. Dealer Benefits at a Glance: • New features bring no increase in dealer costs • 2-year bumper-to-bumper warranty • The largest parts inventory in the country with 24/7 online
• • •
ordering Exclusive marketing and support resources Dedicated Account Manager Local Lead Generation
Limited Availability for Early Reservations: A limited number of the new 2024 Beyond models will be available for February and March shipments. Dealers are urged to secure their reservations within the next two weeks to be among the first to offer the next generation Beyond and capitalize on the unprecedented demand. Bintelli sincerely appreciates the ongoing support in 2023 and looks forward to a collaborative and prosperous 2024 alongside its valued dealers! About Bintelli As the only five-time Inc. 5000 company in the industry, Bintelli offers industry-leading quality craftsmanship, support and services, and fosters win-win partnerships with dealers. Bintelli has the largest stand-alone LSV assembly facility in the United States and produces environmentally friendly and top-of-the-line electric golf carts for a variety of uses that are distributed to dealerships and retail outlets across the country and internationally. www.Bintelli.com For Media Inquiries contact: Justin Jackrel, President Email: email@example.com Address: 6900 Weber Blvd Ladson, SC 29456
BINTELLI ROLLS OUT NEW STANDARD OPTIONS FOR BEYOND MODELS With a 23-year record of innovation in the electric vehicle industry, Bintelli Powersports® has announced exciting new advancements for their Beyond model carts created to drive consumer demand and dealer support. These product enhancements were developed to keep the Bintelli brand at the top of the EV industry and increase consumer confidence in their state-of-the-art vehicles. For the end user, Bintelli’s standard 2024 features for their Beyond vehicles include premium upgrades developed to keep the brand at the forefront of the industry. A new, 9-inch high resolution touchscreen display offers cutting edge technology and the ultimate user interface developed to enhance the driving experience. Beyond EVs now also feature a wireless phone charging port for effortless connectivity and continual charging. Beyond models now also feature an upgraded sound system for a premium quality audio experience. Bintelli’s upgraded lithium battery packs offer improved performance and the ultimate in power efficiency. Additionally, each Bintelli Beyond vehicle comes with its own unique key to reduce the risk of theft and additional security. For the hundreds of authorized Bintelli dealers around the country, this new program means added customer confidence and increased service for vehicle consumers. The company has offered all of these vehicle upgrades
at no additional cost, plus an enhanced 2-year bumper to bumper warranty on top of their 4-year limited vehicle warranty. Every Bintelli buyer can now enjoy a robust customer service experience through Bintelli’s industry leading after-sale support professionals. Bintelli also offers their dealers access to the largest parts inventory in the country with 24/7 online ordering, exclusive marketing support, dedicated account managers and local sales lead generation support. Jason Perske is Vice President of Bintelli Powersports, based in South Carolina. “We’re excited to unveil the newest standard features for the 2024 Beyond model year launch,” he said. “It’s a continued focus for our company to ensure our customers have the best experience possible, from new technology touchscreens to convenience perks like wireless phone charging, to greater peace of mind with a longer bumper to bumper warranty. The LSV and golf cart market is continually evolving, and we are bridging the gap between the automotive world and the carting industry one step at a time. Anytime we’re able to add value to a product and not increase the cost to our dealers and end users, it’s a huge win.” Editors Notes: For additional information on this article, contact Jason Peske at 843-531-6833 or Jason jason@bintelli. com
From a 6-Passenger Club Car Carryall to a Showstopper: The Saga of Sinister Karts' Extraordinary Creation
n the ever-evolving world of custom golf carts, one Texas-based company has pushed the boundaries of innovation and design, bringing forth an aweinspiring creation that stole the spotlight at the 2023 SEMA Show. Sinister Karts, located in League City, Texas, has become synonymous with pushing the limits of what's possible in the realm of golf cart customization. The story of their latest masterpiece begins with a humble 6-passenger club car carryall. The founder of Sinister Karts, Cody Cooley, embarked on a journey that required a radical
GOLF CARTING MAGAZINE 23
transformation. To lay the foundation for their vision, the aluminum body of the club car carryall was methodically cut away. Further modifications involved cutting the rear body and seat supports off a 4-seater DS frame to accommodate the desired DS body. The quest for perfection led to a few fabricators, but the breakthrough came with the discovery of Anthony at All Star Customs, renowned for crafting massive lift kits for Side-by-Sides (SXS’s). Anthony's expertise was put to the test as he fabricated a custom triangulated 4-link and front Independent Front Suspension (IFS), resulting in an astonishing 25" lift. To complement this elevated stance, custom brackets were fashioned to support Polaris RZR 1000xp hydraulic disc brakes on both the front and rear, featuring switchback 12” rotors and two NASCAR series AP Racing master cylinders. The performance enhancements continued with a 400W EZ Steer electric power steering system, 24” coilovers, and a rear sway bar, ensuring optimal control and handling. The cart's transformation caught the attention of Wet Sounds, a renowned name in the audio industry. Following a successful photoshoot collaboration on a previous build, they pitched the ambitious idea of creating a SEMA-worthy golf cart for 2023, and Wet Sounds eagerly jumped on board, 24 www.GolfCarting.com
sponsoring the entire audio system. The result? A mindblowing setup that includes 4 Rev10 HD tower speakers, 4 8” Zero Coaxials, 2 6” Zero Coaxials, and 2 Sinister Series Amps. With an audio system that could shake the ground, they knew that the aesthetics had to be equally bold. Enter Steven
Laprade, a maestro in the world of custom paint jobs. Armed with a vision and a few reference images, Laprade handpainted the entire body using tape, airbrush techniques, and unconventional materials like crates and golf cart parts. The final result, kept under wraps until delivery, left [Your Name] in awe and proved to be a stunning visual complement to the powerhouse audio setup. The attention to detail extended beyond the paint job. JTX Forged joined the project, led by Chris Clarke, who recommended 28x16 wheels with custom floating center caps, wrapped in 42/15.50/28 Fury MT tires. Powering this mobile masterpiece is a one-off custom 84V Lithium battery from Ice X Custom Lithium, featuring a plexi top with the Sinister Karts logo laser-etched and color-matched. The cart is equipped with a 600-amp 5kW Navitas AC motor and controller, along with 15/1 gears for a powerful and efficient ride. Contributions from Plash Lights, Golf Cart Mafia, Deko Mats, Ride Modz, Huskey Kustom Coatings, and Red Line Print added the finishing touches. LED lighting, speaker rings, custom badges, floor mats, seat covers, Chartreuse Sherbert powder coat, and vinyl decals—all meticulously curated to create a harmonious and visually stunning final product. The grand debut took place at the Wetsounds Booth during the 2023 SEMA Show, capturing the attention of
enthusiasts, industry professionals, and media alike. Sinister Karts once again showcased their prowess in custom golf cart design, solidifying their reputation as innovators in the field. Whether you aspire to be the trendsetter on the golf course or the fastest in the neighborhood, Sinister Karts has once again proven that they have you covered with their unparalleled expertise and commitment to pushing the boundaries of custom cart design. - GCMAG
BY TROJAN BATTERY COMPANY
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR FLOODED LEAD-ACID BATTERIES
Flooded lead-acid batteries have been the workhorse of energy storage for more than 150 years. They are a durable, affordable and recyclable option for powering golf, personal transportation (PTVs), and utility vehicles. Flooded lead-acid batteries can provide long life and high performance if users follow the appropriate safety, cleaning, watering and maintenance techniques. Consult your Users’ Guide and follow this checklist of maintenance tips to help you get the most out of your flooded lead-acid batteries. SAFETY PRECAUTIONS • Wear protective clothing, gloves and goggles when handling batteries. • If acid contacts your skin or eyes, flush with water immediately. • Keep flames, sparks and metal objects away from batteries. • Charge batteries in a well-ventilated area. • Do not lay objects on top of the battery to avoid short circuits. • Check that all cable connections to the terminal are appropriately tightened; connections that are too tight or loose could result in post-breakage, meltdown or fire. 30 www.GolfCarting.com
INSPECTING AND CLEANING FLOODED BATTERIES • Keep batteries clean and dry. • Use a solution of baking soda and water to clean acid residue or corrosion on the terminals. • Apply protective spray or petroleum jelly to terminals to reduce corrosion. • Check that all vent caps are tight. STORING • Never store discharged batteries. Fully charge batteries before storing. • Store batteries in a cool, dry place. • Recharge batteries before putting them back into service. WATERING • Add distilled water, not acid, to cells. NEVER ADD ACID. • NEVER overwater your batteries. • Before charging, add water only if the plates are exposed and add. • just enough water to cover the plates, then charge the batteries. • Once fully charged, add water to the proper level as indicated in your User’s Guide. • After watering, secure the vent caps back on the batteries.
WANT TO HEAR EXTREME? EXPERIENCE EXTREME SOUND WITH SOUNDEXTREME BY ECOXGEAR
ith a seeming endless assortment of golf car customization options on the market today, one of the most useful accessory solutions is a high-quality audio system. From head units and wired speakers, to portable speakers and roof systems, a soundbar offers not just audio but plenty of other very useful built-in features. VALUE Starting at just $499, it’s hard to beat the features packed into SoundExtreme by ECOXGEAR’s soundbars. With industryleading features such as high-quality audio, cascading and addressable LED lighting, hands-free calling, 360-degree sound options, and connection to a phone app, adding a soundbar to your cart is a quick and simple way to enhance your carting experience. HIGH QUALITY AUDIO SoundExtreme’s soundbars offer 500 watts of power to 8+
waterproof-dustproof marine grade speakers to give the ultimate audio experience. With built in EcoCast, users can connect to 100 SoundExtreme EcoCast enabled speakers at a time. The high-quality audio doesn’t end with music, users also have the option for hands-free calling with these soundbars. LEDS AND LEDCAST All SoundExtreme soundbars feature unique cascading and addressable party lights and an LED strip to provide additional safety and fun to a cart. Users also have the option to add additional LED light kits by SoundExtreme and sync lights to the music using proprietary LEDCAST technology through the phone app or a controller. These soundbars come preset with several lighting options such as Patriotic (red, white, and blue) or Holiday (red and green) or users can customize their light show using the SoundExtreme app. (CAN WE INCLUDE THE QR Codes for the APP here?)
EASE OF INSTALLATION Soundbars are a great choice for those looking for a quick and easy audio installation option. With simple wiring to a 12v battery or a reducer on a lithium pack, soundbars also have multiple mounting options including drill, clamp, or use of a SoundExtreme mounting bracket made for specific models. A soundbar’s positioning can be customized to a user’s preference or model with mounting points including top front roof, rear roof, or middle roof on a six-seater. SoundExtreme also offers a 33” double-sided bar with front and rear facing speakers for a 360’ sound immersion—which is perfect for a middle roof mount. Some people also choose to get creative with hidden mounts between and under seats, on grab bars, or anywhere audio might be desired.
Users also upgrade their systems and add more than one soundbar if they desire more volume and punch. Users can also connect additional products including a subwoofer, or additional LED light strips. These products all connect through SoundExtreme’s EcoCast and LEDCAST enabled products to create an entire ecosystem of audio and LED lighting on the cart. If a user still prefers a standard head unit and wired speakers, soundbars still remain a great add-on option to create an immersive experience, and all SoundExtreme products can be paired for an even more impressive system. Soundbars are one of the most cost-effective accessories, delivering plenty of ROI, a fun factor, and extra convenience and safety features that enhance the carting experience.
KNOW AS YOU GO
NEW ADVANCES IN GOLF CART AND HANDHELD GPS TECH
lot of golfers remember when the first “computerized” display screens showed up on golf carts, mounted on the roof’s interior between the driver and passenger. With early models, golfers were allowed to see a twodimensional graphic of each hole and the total course layout, order a hot dog and a beer for the turn, and see the tiny print along the bottom of the screen that indicated their pace of play. It’s safe to say that today’s technology has come a long
PHOTOS COURTESY OF EDWIN WATTS GOLF SHOP way from those early GPS systems. Now, it’s hard to imagine being able to play without the assistance and information offered through the latest GPS, (Global Positioning System), technology, with dozens of innovative new features and capabilities developed to enhance the enjoyment of the game. While the initial intent was to provide real-time data for the benefit of both the golfer and the club personnel back at the clubhouse, there are now many new advancements and conveniences on both cart and
handheld GPS systems. Some courses from the local municipal to private clubs and world class sites of international major tournaments even provide hand-held, 2-way GPS units that attach to hand-pulled carts and a walker’s golf bag. Leading GPS manufacturers have developed software and hardware that provide a full overview of the golf course in amazing, 3-D clarity on the screen, allowing golfers to select their club and shot strategy more easily. Another key benefit is how this affects the overall pace of play on the course, keeping players and club staff advised if a specific group is falling behind. This technology is critical to club management staying ahead of the curve on things like if a cart is being operated unsafely or going into a prohibited area, along with up to the minute details like battery health or other potential maintenance issues. Through the use of geofencing, a cart’s GPS device and reporting can determine exactly where every cart is on the course, which can greatly improve the overall flow of the groups currently playing. Some geofencing technology also relies on things like area Wi-Fi, cellular data and radio frequency identification, or RFID, to provide vital information about every cart in real time. Many current GPS systems allow the golfer to connect their smartphones to control their music playlist and other apps right from the GPS touchscreen. If you’ve ever played on a course where your cart automatically slows down to 2-mph within specific areas like near the clubhouse, cart storage or the club’s pool, that’s a good example of geofencing within a cart’s GPS system, allowing club management to pre-set those areas to their exact requirements. GLOBAL POSITIONING, GLOBAL INDUSTRY The emerging advancements in the golf GPS industry have resulted in an extremely competitive marketplace, and not just for 4-wheel passenger carts. Leading manufacturer’s have stepped up their game to provide handheld, course mapping technology for walking golfers that can also be mounted on a cart at a public golf course. Let’s look at some of the major players in this exciting new golf experience enhancement. SkyCaddie® SX550 GPS So much more than just a rangefinder, this handheld GPS features a large, 5.5inch LCD display screen for clear course mapping, images and more. The device comes preloaded with more than 35,000 verified, up-to-date course maps for unequaled accuracy. This unit is continually updated and comes with a high speed multi-core processor, is water resistant and is about the size of a typical cell phone. SkyGolf’s® SX550 retails for about $350.00.
Sky Caddie SX550
golfcarttech Bushnell® Ion Elite Golf GPS Watch If you don’t want to pull out a separate device for on-course GPS data, this model is a watch you strap on for confident course information and critical details. This innovative device features Bushnell’s patented distance accuracy including their new Slope Technology for hitting the precise shot required. The stylish watch offers a vivid color display screen, plus HoleView® and Shot Planning technology to provide every shot detail on every hole. It comes with 38,000 course maps and even a feature that allows golfers to see the slopes of a green. This watch retails for around $180.00.
for easy reading in the sun. This hi-tech GPS sells for around $450.00.
Golf Buddy® Voice 2 This compact GPS device allows the golfer to clip it to their belt or hat and comes preloaded with precise data on over 140,000 golf courses around the world and free downloadable updates via the USB connection. Not only does this device offer a sharp LCD display, but also provides voice data for every shot, is fully waterproof and will last for up to 14 hours on a single charge. You can get a Golf Buddy Voice 2 for around $100.00. Most personal GPS units require some type of subscription service for full functionality. To get the most from your game and reduce your score and playing time, investing in a cart-mounted or handheld GPS device can be a smart choice for your golf enjoyment.
Bushnell Ion Elite GPS Watch Garmin® Approach G80 GPS This compact handheld GPS device takes you from the range to the course, the first to feature an integrated launch monitor to allow golfers to track their swing speed, tempo, trajectory, and distance. The G80 boasts a bright LCD display screen, touch targeting that provides precise distances for a layup shot, green contour images and a large number display mode 36 www.GolfCarting.com
Golf Buddy Voice 2
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SOLAR POWERED GOLF CARTS
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT FOR ECO-FRIENDLY INNOVATIONS Enjoying a round of golf or getting around your community in a golf cart or other EV is about to become much easier on the ecology thanks to the innovative new technology in solar power. Most new carts on the market today are operated by highefficiency, lithium-ion batteries developed to provide more operating hours, greater power distribution and longer overall lifespan. The advent of charging your cart’s batteries using solar power is another step in reducing the world’s power consumption and cutting the costs of cart charging for owners. Traditional lead acid batteries are also chargeable via solar panels. Major players in the golf cart industry have been offering solar panel charging options for years. In 2015, Club Car® introduced their 100-watt solar technology for their 48v models like the Precedent golf cart, Villager LSVs, (low speed vehicles), and Carryall utility commercial and industrial carts. The best news involves the creation of independently produced solar panels that can be easily installed on most existing golf carts from the major manufacturers, converting your cart to this rapidly expanding power source. 42 www.GolfCarting.com
The benefits and advantages of solar powered carts are impressive. A cart’s batteries are constantly being charged by the sun, even on days when it is overcast or cloudy. This means more operating time and a nearly fully charged cart even after 36 holes or more of golf. THE FUTURE IS HERE There are several manufacturers of solar panels developed for installation on the roof of golf carts that have been around for a while, and a continuous stream of new companies getting into the game. Sustainability is the key for the world’s ecology and reduced carbon footprint, and using the power of the sun to charge individual and fleets of carts is a huge step toward a better future. The 2023 Ryder Cup held outside of Rome in late September used a golf cart fleet equipped with solar charging panels. Club Car shipped over 500 carts to the large complex where the matches were played, not only for the golf team officials but also for hospitality, VIP transportation, media broadcast staff plus turf and maintenance utility vehicles. There are several different types of solar panels for golf
carts, from those that actually serve as the new “roof” of your cart or those that attach on top of your existing roof, and they come in rigid and soft configurations, sometimes called “thin cell” panels. You’ll also need to use a charge controller that properly regulates the power from the solar panel to your battery packs, which come with the panels. They also come in many sizes to fit standard, 2-seater golf carts, 4 and 6-passenger carts and larger commercial personal transportation electric vehicles. Solar panels come in several different wattage capabilities, so it is important to select the correct power output to best pair with your cart’s battery voltage. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular models of golf cart solar panels. Solar Electric Vehicle Systems® is a Port St. Lucie, Florida, company that first introduced solar golf cart power back in 2009 and originally was known as Helios Chargers. The company’s proprietary technology and in-house design capabilities have led to their growth. They make solar charging panels for a wide variety of carts and EVs from a standard golf cart to multi-passenger people movers used at places like school campuses, sports and entertainment venues, medical campuses and more. They offer a 100-watt kit in a bolt-on or flexible product that can easily be mounted to a cart’s roof in 36, 48 and 72-volt versions and comes with all the necessary mounting hardware and a charger controller unit.
All of their products and accompanying components are engineered and manufactured in their Port St. Lucie and Gainesville, Florida, facilities, ensuring the ultimate in quality control and a premium fitted product. PowerFilm® Solar is located in Ames, Iowa, and makes a wide variety of flexible solar panels for the tops of golf carts. PowerFilm utilizes an advanced, paper-thin film amorphous silicon photovoltaic and a plastic polyimide substrate for their solar panels. These panels can reduce charging cycle time by 50-percent, save around 20-percent on your charging electrical costs and offset more than 250 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. There are no special tools needed to easily install the PowerFilm solar panel to your cart’s roof, and the unit weighs less than 10 pounds. Merlin® Solar in Elkhart, Indiana, is another manufacturer of golf cart solar panels. Their 120-watt Trailblazer panel model is available for use with lithium or lead acid batteries through the appropriate charger controller, universal mounting hardware for almost all cart manufacturers, and is very lightweight and waterproof. The panels measure 42-inches by 27.75-inches and weigh around 7 pounds. There is also a heavy-duty adhesive underlay for optimum durability. Harnessing the power of the sun will continue to be a key factor in the golf cart industry with advancing technology designed to save energy and contribute to a greener environment.
PowerDrive Golf Car Solar Panel installed on a consumer's Club Car Precedent
PowerDrive Golf Car Solar Panel installed on a Club Car Carryall GOLF CARTING MAGAZINE 43
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ASK THE MECHANIC Q: How long do Lithium golf cart batteries last? A: One of the main advantages that lithium batteries have over the traditional lead-acid ones is that they last at least twice as long. There are many factors that contribute to the lifespan of a lithium battery. On average, lithium batteries get between 2,000 to 5,000 cycles. In comparison, lead-acid batteries only get between 500 to 1,000; so, you can see there is a substantial difference. Another way to look at it is that you may get around 4-5 years out of a lead-acid battery, whereas you will get closer to 8-10 years out of lithium batteries. Q: What is the proper maintenance for lithium batteries and how long can I let them sit? A: New technology can be intimidating. If you’ve always owned lead-acid batteries, then you’ve had plenty of experience maintaining them. The good news is that you don’t have to learn anything new to care for lithium batteries because they don’t require any kind of maintenance. That means no adding water, checking acid levels or cleaning corrosion. The only thing you must do for lithium batteries is charge them. How long can you let them sit? Lead-acid batteries lose 33% of their charge every month which can cause them to 48 www.GolfCarting.com
be dead after just three months. Lithium batteries, on the other hand, lose only 2-3% of their charge in a month so you could leave it sitting in your garage for a year and you’d still have 75% battery when you came back. Q: Can I use my old lead-acid charger on lithium batteries? A: In an emergency, some lead-acid chargers can work for lithium batteries if they fall within the correct voltage parameters. This is not recommended for prolonged use. Some chargers can have their charging algorithms changes for proper lithium charges as these batteries do require a different profile. However most brand include a new charger with a lithium battery purchase. There are many problems that could potentially arise from using a lead-acid charger. While there are some workarounds, it’s best to use a LiFePO4 charger to ensure high performance and longevity. Q: What is the importance of “AH” when selecting a battery? A: AH stands for Amp Hours. Batteries with less amperage are usually depleted faster, leading to less lifespan. Therefore, it's ideal to buy a battery with a high AH rating with the longest range possible.
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