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AGM Vs. Lithium Golf Cart Batteries – Which is Better?

Are lithium batteries better than AGM batteries

Lithium golf cart batteries have taken the world by storm, but are they better than AGM types? Also, can you use the AGM types in a golf cart? This comparison of AGM vs. lithium golf cart batteries answers these questions. In addition to their differences, we will help you choose the best option based on their attributes.

What is the Difference Between AGM and Lithium Golf Cart Batteries?

Both battery types store electricity in chemical form. When connected to a load, they release this energy, converting it to a voltage and current. However, they have different chemistries and other variations.

An AGM battery uses absorbent-glass material (AGM) to control the electrolyte’s movement, preventing it from flooding the plates. They are an advanced version of the traditional flooded type with better characteristics, such as reduced gassing and longer lifespan.

The Li-ion battery is an entirely different technology. It uses a lithium salt as the electrolyte. The negative electrode is typically graphite, while the positive electrode can contain various lithium compounds, including lithium iron phosphate, lithium manganese dioxide, and lithium cobalt oxide.

Can You Use AGM Batteries in a Golf Cart?

The answer is yes, you can. The battery has traditionally powered small vehicles, including golf carts and trolleys. Being deep cycle batteries, you can use them to power your cart and cover decent distances on a single charge.

They also come sealed and will not spill. The sealed construction makes them maintenance-free and is one of their best attributes compared to the flooded types.

Lithium-ion batteries are a newer choice for powering the propulsion motors of golf carts. They also have many benefits. To help us understand the two power battery types and their best attributes, let’s compare them below.

AGM vs. lithium battery weight
AGM vs. lithium battery weight
Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abeZUOi_4xc

AGM Vs. Lithium Golf Cart Batteries

A comparison of AGM vs. lithium batteries for golf carts should help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each. Let’s start with their weight difference and how it affects the performance of your golf trolley or cart.

Weight Difference

An AGM battery weighs 4 to 5 times more than a Li-ion type. Therefore, using them in your cart can cause a significant load increase. That, in turn, could affect the cart’s handling and performance. Lithium types weigh less and won’t make your cart as heavy, which means better performance and more power for longer distances.

Cost Comparison

Price is a significant factor when choosing your golf trolley battery pack. It will generally cost you more to buy lithium batteries upfront, about four times higher. Despite that, you are likely to spend more charging and caring for an absorbent glass mat battery than using a Li-ion type.

Energy Density

A Li-ion battery has a higher energy density (150-250 Wh/kg) and can store more power in a small space. The energy density of AGM ranges from 25-30 Wh/kg. The lower energy density means you need a bulkier battery of this type to achieve a capacity similar to that of a more compact Li-ion battery.

Charging Speed

Li-ion batteries charge fast, taking 2-3 hours on average. In comparison, the AGM types take around 8 hours if charging to attain a full charge. If you use your cart more frequently, you want an energy storage device you can quickly juice up unless you’re comfortable charging it overnight.

Depth of Discharge

An AGM battery has a higher DoD than a lithium type. For example, you can only discharge it up to 80% of the total capacity. This value may drop considerably, reaching 50% and reducing the available power per charge.

Li-ion types allow a deeper discharge above 80%, with modern versions 100% without the risk of damage. If you’re using them, you do not need to worry about damaging your cart’s power source by riding it for too long. However, over-discharge of any battery is not advisable.

Cycle Life

Lithium golf cart batteries allow more charge cycles (up to 8000 and higher). Compare that to the 300-500 cycles of an AGM type, and you can easily see why one is a more durable option.

The charge cycles translate to less than five years for a lead acid-based battery and above five for a Li-ion type. In other words, you may need to change one twice before a Li-ion type requires replacing.

Maintenance Requirements

Some batteries require more care than others. Although the AGM types require less care than traditional lead acid batteries, you must check them periodically. Other practices include charging them regularly and using recommended charging equipment and current.

Li-ion batteries virtually require no maintenance. Many come with built-in BMS modules. The BMS automatically regulates their charge and discharge cycles, doing all the hard work for you to prevent early damage.

Installing a lithium battery pack on a golf cart
Installing a lithium battery pack on a golf cart
Resource: https://rogueengineer.com

Are Lithium Golf Cart Batteries Better?

Yes, Li-ion batteries are better than AGM batteries for powering a golf trolley. Despite costing more to buy upfront, they are the most popular option among golf trolley or cart owners. The following Li-ion battery benefits explain why that is so.

  • They charge quickly, allowing you to use your cart within no time
  • They weigh less and won’t affect your cart’s efficiency and performance
  • Their higher DoD means more power to propel your cart for longer distances
  • You don’t have to charge them to full (100%) capacity every time they need replenishing
  • You need fewer Li-ion batteries than when using the AGM types. That is because they store more power in a smaller space
  • They last longer, saving you replacement costs over the years

Conclusion

Your golf cart can use AGM or lithium batteries. Comparing the two, we see that lithium types perform better in many ways, from having a higher capacity to requiring less care and several other advantages. They cost more initially, but their long life and reduced maintenance needs offset this cost over time.

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