Editor’s note: Jim S. is a retired engineer who spends his winters playing golf near his home in Arizona. As a customer he provided this review of upgrading his golf cart to Dakota Lithium batteries to help other customers understand how to use their battery and why they should join the #LithiumRevolution
So, here is how the Dakota Lithium battery works in my golf cart.
The nominal rating of the Dakota Lithium golf cart battery is 48 volts and 96 Amp Hours. It weighs 100 pounds vs the 380 pounds for lead acid batteries, and because it is a LiFePO4 battery (LiFePO4 = Lithium Iron Phosphate) it has none of the fire/explosion/danger issues that we have heard about in cars, etc. The weight difference is noticeable. My cart moves about 4 mph faster, and is more maneuverable since I made the switch. Pulling less weight around also means less wear and tear on the motor and the cart.
With this battery I was able to ride to the golf course and back three times, and play three rounds of golf on one charge, a range of about 40 miles.
When fully charged the battery will show approximately 57 Volts. This drops to 54 volts in the first 50 yards, and this is the status fully charged.
The voltage diminishes slowly through 54, 53, and when it reaches 52 volts, there will be about 20% remaining. Head home and charge at 52 Volts. You will have about 8 or 10 miles left, max.
When you are measuring the voltage, the cart should be stopped for a minute or so to let the voltage stabilize. Look at the gauge after you have stopped to hit a shot, or at a stop light before you hit the accelerator.
If you continue to travel after 52 volts it drops QUICKLY until it quits completely at 44 volts. There is a safety feature built into the battery that will shut it down at about 44 volts, and it may not register anything.
In the unlikely event that the cart is run until shut down, switch it from run to tow and get it home. After half an hour or so, you can plug in the charger and it will take several hours to charge back to full capacity.
The life of the battery is measured in cycles. This means charge cycles. The website says it is about 2,000 cycles, and in technical discussions with the Dakota Lithium people this might be 3,000 to 5,000 cycles. The cycles are more “destructive” if the battery is run to shut down. A good place to charge for maximum cycles is about 20% or the 52 volts listed above.
So let’s think about 2,000 cycles. If you were to golf 100 rounds per year and run around an additional 50 round equivalent, this would be 150 rounds per year. Charging every second round equivalent gets you to about the 20% mark. So 2,000 cycles divided by 75 cycles per year works out to 20 plus years! Here’s hopin’!
Dakota Lithium has excellent customer service and a great engineering team. As a US company that started in Grand Forks, ND they build their batteries for rugged environments and long lifespan. They have an 11 year warranty. The combination of knowledgeable people I can talk to, and an 11 year warranty is what sold me on the upgrade. It was a great choice that I highly recommend their batteries.