We were discussing golf carts after walking a particularly hilly course recently and the first topic of conversation was – Electric Golf Carts v Gas Golf Carts, What’s the Difference?
The difference is the method of propulsion with the electric cart using batteries to power it and the gas cart using an engine and fuel.
Are you looking to get the smoothest experience out of your golfing session? If yes, then a golf cart is something you should consider adding to your shopping list.
The challenge, however, comes when choosing between electric and gas golf carts. Not everyone understands the difference between the two. Some view them as one and the same, while others just don’t care.
But why should you care? Don’t they all just get the job done?
Well, either will get you across the course with ease. That’s basically where the similarities end, though. They both differ greatly in how they function, how much they cost, how durable they are and more.
Have you ever bought a grill, a weed eater, a lawnmower or a blower? Your supplier will always ask whether you want the gas or electric type. It’s the same with buying golf carts. As of recently, this choice also extends to buying everyday cars for that matter.
You should carefully weigh in the pros and cons of each type. But if you’ve never bought a golf cart before, you may be wondering where to start. You may not know what to look for or how to judge the difference in features.
Does that sound like you? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll thoroughly compare both to aid your decision-making process.
Energy and Operation
The first thing that makes the two types different is how they work. Similar to how regular everyday cars work, gas carts get their energy through the combustion of gas. Air enters the engine and combines with fuel to produce power.
Modern models have four-stroke engines which are lighter and more powerful. Some older models use two-stroke engines, but the difference in performance is not that significant.
The carts are fueled with regular gas just like normal cars. Petrol is the most common fuel type for newer models.
Things are a bit different on the side of electric golf carts. Instead of running on gas, they depend on battery cells. Most of the carts are 36-volt or 48-volt. You will have to recharge the batteries on a regular basis to keep them going. Manufacturers often install solar panels on some of the newer models to take advantage of green energy and minimize the need to be “plugged in”.
Golf Cart Prices
Price is a factor that makes them appear different on another level. But it’s not very easy to give an exact price range estimate. If you have any mechanical background, you should know which ones are more costly. Let’s consider used carts for instance. A used gas golf cart is typically more expensive than a used electric cart. In fact, its price can often match that of a new electric cart.
The fact that used gas carts are not very easy to find makes them even more valuable. It’s like buying vintage cars; they may seem old but retain value that cannot be questioned. Electric carts are much cheaper. When you buy them used, consider the condition of the battery. Like most types of electric batteries, electric golf cart batteries deteriorate over time and lose their ability to hold a charge.
The type of cart you choose and whether it’s used or not aren’t the only factors that affect the price. Where you buy is also an important factor, different outlets may sometimes vary considerably in terms of price depending on your location.
The condition of the cart will also affect the price. If the battery is weak, as mentioned above, you should obviously expect to get your cart for a cheaper price.
So, what about new carts? Just as mentioned before with used vehicles, gas golf carts sell higher than their electric counterparts. They’re not very easy to come by either.
Have you ever thought of how readily available electric grills for instance? It’s classic supply and demand. And in this case, the need for gas carts seems to be higher than the electric vehicles. You can notice this almost immediately after you get into any golf carts shop.
Reliability and Durability
Ok, let’s say you’ve found one cart that you like. The next thing you should consider is how long you expect the cart to be of service. If your budget is very tight, you should find something that is more durable.
Strength and durability depend on the make and model. Most first time buyers will often assume that gas carts are more powerful. This is true if you consider the older versions of electric carts with 36-volt power engines. They were much less powerful compared to any gas engine.
But then with better models like the Yamaha and EZGO AC Electric carts running on 48v engines, you have more energy. You will go over hills with ease as well. They’re even better than some gas carts.
So which one is more durable, gas or electric? You have the answer; it is the model that says it all. Whether buying it online or directly from a shop, look for a supplier that advises you on each type.
If we’re speaking in general terms, gas golf carts are more durable. This is because sometimes batteries in electric carts die way too fast. It may be a good idea to get a used cart from a reliable source rather than messing up and buying a bad new one.
Golf courses are beautiful places with an abundance of flaura and fauna and wildlife. This is why any pollution may make your experience less appealing. Gas-powered golf carts run on fuel. Now, everyone knows traditional fuels emit carbon monoxide. For this reason, you can’t really consider gas golf carts environmentally friendly. It brings up the same smell you find in crowded towns with dense traffic and busy streets.
The smell is even worse if you’re working in confined spaces. For instance, trying to repair your gas engine inside a garage can be a nightmare, especially with some older models that were less efficient at managing and controlling emissions. Newer models have improved to route exhaust and minimize the gas smell.
This is where electric golf carts stand out. They don’t produce fumes or emissions. The rechargeable batteries they use don’t need any combustion. If you’re big on emissions and environmental conservation and are therefore prioritizing the carbon footprint-free option, electric carts are undoubtedly a no-brainer. They have a clear edge over gas carts regarding eco-friendliness.
Some people are allergic to fumes and emissions. Gas carts, sturdy as they may be are not the best choice in this regard. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why electric carts have become more popular.
Putting pollution aside, electric carts are generally much cleaner. Because they don’t require too much oil to run. As gas carts get older and develop engine issues, the negative environmental impact can multiply. As electric carts age, however, the battery may eventually fail, but the cart will remain eco-friendly nevertheless. It’s therefore the right choice for environmentally sensitive individuals.
If you were born in the city and decided, at some point, to take a vacation in a rural area, you’d feel like you’ve gone deaf. Everything is so quiet, you’re so used to your ears being always overloaded with noise. At that moment, only the singing of the birds and the whistling of the wind amongst the trees makes you feel at home. Well, this one of the reasons that make golfing so enjoyable.
Golf courses are built in quiet places to increase the level of concentration. This is why the noise your golf cart emits should matter. Noisy golf carts can literally ruin your whole golfing experience at times.
So what’s the difference between golf and electric carts in terms of noise? Well, the main factor here is the way each one picks up speed. During acceleration, electric carts pick speed faster and more quietly. Apart from being emissions-free, they are much quieter. The engines are less noisy than an empty electric blender. If you are a golfer who doesn’t like announcing your presence, this is what you should pick.
It’s no big secret how noisy our everyday gas-powered cars are. With gas golf carts, the situation is pretty similar. The cart’s engine needs turbo to gain power, and that causes things to get pretty noisy as the cart accelerates.
Older models are even worse, especially the two-stroke engine. Technology has improved this factor in newer models. Each new model that comes up features better noise reduction traits.
In reality, though, there’s no amount of fixing in the world that can eliminate noise in a combustion engine. It’s only natural that they must rumble. Even high-tech gas vehicles can do so much about the noise. This makes electric powered carts a much better choice if noise is a big concern for you. It’s better to buy a used electric cart than a new combustion engine with noise pollution issues.
Maintenance and Repairs
Every machine that runs on power needs maintenance. For you to get the most out of the engine, you have to keep in mind how well you need to maintain your machine. Find out the kind of spare parts needed and their availability. Consider as well, if there are things you can do by yourself and how often you should carry them out.
The duration of the upkeep depends on the status of the cart. Factors like the model, brand, size, and power source affect the frequency of check-ups. On one side, gas-powered carts have needs like oil change and spare parts. Simple things like a spark plug to more complicated ones like a starter belt may need replacement from time to time.
If you aren’t able to do it yourself, you will incur labor and material costs. You also need to ensure they have a steady stream of fuel at all times. Prepare to part with some cash every time you visit the pump.
On the other hand, an electric-powered golf cart requires constant charging. The moment you step out and use the cart, you will have to recharge it. Even if you aren’t using it regularly, you will need to recharge the battery every few weeks.
You don’t want to go more than a month without a full recharge. This helps you keep the battery healthy. The good news is, they all come with a charger and you’d rarely need to buy one as a separate accessory. The battery does wear off with time, though, and you’ll eventually need to replace it.
While how long a battery lasts heavily depends on how you use and maintain your cart, most electric cart batteries live for 4 to 5 years before they need a replacement. That is an excellent time to keep it in check, making sure you recharge at the right time and in the right manner.
Again, you must be sure to check the water on the batteries. Make it a habit to ensure proper water levels at least once a month. This will increase the life on the battery pack significantly.
Both gas-powered and electric-powered golf carts have almost the same level of maintenance requirements. The only difference is in the types of spares that are required.
Other Factors to Consider
For gas-powered engines, they have fuel gauges, like cars to indicate how much gas is left. Most electric carts lack pre-installed battery gauges. But you can buy one and install it to your cart. A good number of electric golf carts can also be driven on roads and boulevards. They are legal as long as you don’t exceed the speed limit of 35-miles per hour (may vary based on your location and local laws).
So, which one wins?
Understanding the difference between gas and electric golf carts is barely enough to get you there. You’ll need to closely compare the features and the functions of each type before making the purchasing decision.
For instance, how many passengers can each carry? What is the storage size for your golfing equipment? Does it have the right aesthetic to fit your personal needs?
To make things a little easier for you, we’ve compiled a quick list that summarizes the most important factors we think you should consider.
What is your budget? Gas powered golf carts have become more and more scarce. This makes them more expensive. You may have to pay 10 to 15 percent more, even on a used one.
On even ground, electric carts are the best. But when it comes to climbing hills, you may need a better performing electric cart or a gas powered one. Electric golf carts are smoother and accelerate faster but cannot go as far as gasoline ones would. You maximize the overall performance by choosing to go with either the Series or Regen electric golf cart motors.
Cost of Operation
For gas-powered engines, you are at the mercy of gas prices. Electricity is much less costly.
Regular maintenance is mandatory. Electric carts have few moving parts, therefore, require less maintenance compared to gasoline golf carts. You must check the oil, filters, spark plugs, starter battery, clutches, and starter brushes always.
As discussed above, electric golf carts are much quieter compared to rumbling engines in gas-powered engines.
There are zero emissions from gas-powered golf carts. The four-stroke engine gasoline-powered golf carts have improved slightly regarding emissions, but they are still a problem.
Gas golf carts pros
- Faster speeds
- Can pull heavier loads
- Easy to refill
- Can be driven on the road and are much faster
- More powerful to climb up hills
Electric golf carts pros
- They produce zero emissions – environmental friendliness
- They produce less noise
- Cost much less
- Require much less maintenance
Gas golf carts cons
- They need fuel, which produces more pollution
- CO emissions are a health threat in enclosed places like garages
- They are very noisy
- Require too much maintenance
Electric golf carts cons
- They are challenging to estimate battery life and hard to recharge
- You cannot recharge onsite if it runs out of power while running on the golf course
- Batteries cannot be removed for charging
By now, and taking into account all of these considerations, you may already have a choice in mind. Almost 80% of golfers will pick electric powered golf carts over gas-powered ones because of the benefits mentioned above. Gas-powered golf carts, on the other hand, are stronger, steadier operators.
So what’s our recommendation? Well, unless you anticipate climbing crazy hills, carrying crazy loads or using your golf cart as a replacement for your everyday car, go with an electric golf cart. They’ve advanced enough over the years to make their cons at lot less irritating and at the same time bridge the gap between their pros and the gas carts’ pros.