ATG (JanFeb10) - Gas or Electric?

Gas or Electric, which is best for me?
Aaron - St.Louis, MO.

If you are considering buying a golf car and require detailed information on whether it should be gasoline or electric powered, the following factors are points to consider in your decision making process:

Initial Cost: You can expect to pay more for a new gas car over a new electric car. The reason being gasoline powered cars have so many more moving parts than its electric counterpart. As gasoline powered cars age, you’re going to see the difference in price grow, because used gas cars become harder to find in really good condition (supply versus demand).

Performance: Gas and electric cars perform equally on flat or rolling terrain (stock cars). Gas cars have a slight edge climbing steep hills versus electric, except for the newer 48-volt electric cars which are equally peppy when combined with a performance motor upgrade. Electric cars do provide a smoother and quicker standing start. With the right motor and controller upgrade, 0 up to 30 MPH acceleration will be much quicker than a gas car.

Noise: Battery powered cars emit very little, if any noise when compared to gas powered cars. This is a great feature for hunters or folks that want to operate in stealth mode around camp grounds! New and late model gas powered cars, have become relatively quieter compared to older models due to improvements in air intake systems and the reduction of vibration in the transaxle, and clutches.

Maintenance Costs: Whether you have a gas or electric car, PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE is paramount to extending the life of your golf car. Electric cars require a minimal amount of maintenance due to the fact that they have so few moving parts. With a reasonable amount of care, a set of electric car batteries should last about five years with the ability to travel at least 30+ plus miles on a single charge, based on a flat surface (larger diameter wheels and hills will decrease the length of run time). Gas cars should be serviced at least annually to include changing the oil, oil filter (if your car has this feature), spark plug and air filter. Drive belt and starter generator belts may need to be replaced every two to three years. Also factored in would be a battery replacement, starter brushes and a drive clutch over the same 5 year period. Costs for a gas car over five years can cost more than an electric car. Electric cars include the cost of replacement for a set of six 6-volt batteries, distilled water and some baking soda for an occasional clean-up. (This does not include the labor costs for performing these services or the cost of gasoline, kilowatt-hours for charging or other items such as tires, cables, brakes or other items common to normal wear on both gas and electric cars.) While the overall costs are fairly close, you’re going to spend a lot more time “hands on” with your gas car (cleaning the carburetor, adjusting valves, etc.), as opposed to watering and cleaning your batteries with an electric car. One last note; the gas car costs makes the assumption that you have purchased a car with an engine which still has 5 good years left on it. Electric motors rarely ever require rebuilding, even after 10 years or more of service in most cars.

Operating Costs: The primary cost for gas powered cars is the retail price of gasoline and we all know what is happening to the price of gas. The primary cost for an electric car is the price of a kilowatt-hour of electricity; times the number of hours your car will charge. This average charge time is about 8 to 10 hours based on very heavy usage (80% discharge), but could be as low as 2 to 4 hours for lighter usage.

Pollution: In terms of environmental issues, electric cars are considered “zero emission vehicles”. Gas cars have undergone tremendous improvements in exhaust emission with the advent of the 4-cycle engine, but these engines do still contribute to our growing air quality problems. In fact, new gasoline powered golf cars have been illegal to sell in California for a number of years now.

Golf Car Body: The cowlings are of the same material composite for both gas and electric. All versions should be made from relatively resilient and unbreakable materials. Of course if you are one of those folks that could break a steel anvil with a rubber mallet, then unbreakable might not be the right word.

Golf Car Frame: Different brands use different structural frame material. Most use steel frames, however one manufacturer uses an aluminum frame. Some folks boast that aluminum does not rust, which is true. But aluminum will corrode or erode away in areas where high concentrations of acid are found, such as around the battery tray on both gas and electric cars. While aluminum is much lighter than steel, welding costs would be much higher should any repairs be required. Both materials work very well in these structural applications.

When making the purchase consider the following questions;

1)    Where and how will I be using the car?

2)    What accessories will I want to add?

3)    Will the car sit unused for long periods of time?

4)    What warranty options are there?

Of course, your own personal preference is the most important factor in choosing gas or electric.

TS (JanFeb10) - Braking System For Speed Modified Cars

By: Matt Vallez

This article was originally published for the March/April 2008 Golf Car News Magazine and has been updated and fact checked for this issue.

The need for speed has been a never ending request for as long as I have been involved with golf cars, but what about the need to stop? How about having control of the golf car? It would be nice to be able to go 30 miles per hour in a golf car, while having the confidence that you will be able to stop. This is not the feeling you get in most speed modified golf cars.

There are many different ways to hot rod a golf car. I have seen both gas and electric cars highly modified. One electric golf car was modified to the point where the vehicle did a 1/8 mile in 11 seconds, that’s quick for anything. The 72-volt electric golf car was so powerful it launched itself up on to two wheels down the track. It needed almost as much room to slow down because it only had the original mechanical braking system. This is the problem with most speed modified golf cars, they have a brake system designed to stop a vehicle that has a top speed of only 15 miles per hour.

Let’s talk about some more practical speed modified golf cars. The average slightly speed modified golf car is most likely electric, because they cost less and are easier to modify, especially for the average golf car mechanic. They hit top speeds of just under 25 miles per hour. Historically, there are two different varieties of electric golf cars and each has its own challenges in increasing the braking performance. The first is the good old-fashioned series electric car. These simple DC motors can be paired with any high amp series controller, no matter how mild or wild the combination is. You get no help in the slowing down department. The series cars free wheel once you remove your foot from the accelerator. The second variety is the separately excited DC systems; also know as regenerative braking systems. This is a bit ironic, as these systems (by whatever name you want to use) when modified to increase speed are altered in such a way that their ability to use the motor as a method of breaking is also modified. Once the parameters are changed so these systems will go faster the braking parameters are also changed and are not in favor of braking.

So what is the best way to get good braking performance? The new AC cars stop as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator, but no one has had the chance to see what happens when these cars are modified to go 25 miles per hour or faster. Regardless, changing to an AC system for the purpose of improving braking would an expensive proposition. So let’s just focus on the brakes as the best way to stop a golf car.

The top two OEM’s have known of this weakness for a long time. Both E-Z-GO and Club Car have had hydraulic brakes available or as standard equipment on many industrial golf type vehicles for years. The reason for the better braking systems on the industrial cars is that they were designed to handle heavy payloads, when compared to fleet golf cars. If we are taking a lesson from the big guys, hydraulic brakes are the best way to improve braking.

Well Steve Stimely of Jake’s has outdone himself again. He has designed a brake system that stops the car three times more effectively while not interfering with the mechanical brakes. That way the mechanical brake can still work as a parking or hill brake as per the original design. The front is where most of the braking power is needed to stop any vehicle, just check your front brakes on your car, they need attention twice as often as the rear ones do on most cars. So if you want a good solution for stopping try a set of the newly designed Jake’s hydraulic brakes available from Nivel or Jake’s. That is the latest word on how to stop your golf car.

CS (JanFeb10) - 2010 Custom & Exotic Car Competition Winner

gcn-cover-janfeb102010 BEST OF SHOW WINNER – CLASSY CARTS

The “Little Pete” was built using a 1980 E-Z-GO Marathon 2 cycle gas golf cart.  The frame was stretched and the engine moved back 24″, a tag-along axle was added behind the drive axle for the duel axle look.  A custom 6″ lift kit was added for the height.  The seat pedestal was lowered for the bucket seats, the hood and cab were all hand fabricated, the dash was built using real cherry wood and lots of LED lights were added per the customer request.  To complete the truck theme, the exhaust was connected to the stacks and since the engine was a 2 cycle, exhaust smoke could be seen coming out of the stacks.

Industry News - January/February 2010

are pleased to advise you that on November 25, Nivel Holdings, LLC completed an acquisition of Jake’s Carts, LLC, the leading designer and manufacturer of lift kits and related products. Effective December 1, Jake’s will operate as a subsidiary of Nivel Parts. It is our belief that this transaction will allow us to bring the strengths of these two outstanding companies together with the end result being expanded service to our customers. Here are some of the benefits that we expect to gain:

  • Continued commitment to provide our customers with the best products presently available.
  • Jake’s product development and manufacturing capability will allow us to expand our offering to meet the changing needs of the golf car market place.
  • An on going commitment to be the engineering leader with lift kits and related products.
  • Improved shipping response time as we take advantage of the Jacksonville, Tucson, Beaverton, along with Jake’s central Pennsylvania location for all of Jake’s products.
  • Expanded sales coverage, as product sales from both catalogs will be made available to each of the sales organizations.

Las Vegas has been selected as the site of the 2012 Golf Industry Show as announced October 21, 2009

The dates of the show will be Wednesday, February 29, and Thursday, March 1, 2009 while presenting partners the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Education Conference and the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) education Conference will be conducted February 27-28 and March 2. The Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), the National Golf Foundation (NGF) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) are all participating partners in the event.

In related news, the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) notified Golf Industry Show partners that it is leaving the partnership after the 2010 show in San Diego, which will be held February 10-11. The 2011 show will be conducted in Orlando, Florida.

The Golf Industry Show is an innovative trade show designed for the owners/operators of golf facilities and the professional members of the golf course and club management industries. The Golf Industry Show is continually ranked by Tradeshow Week magazine as among the top 100 trade shows nationally (out of more than 3,500 conducted every year).

Qualified buyers can receive Federal tax credits amounting to nearly half the cost of the energy-efficient LSV

Club Car announced that its first street-legal low-speed passenger vehicle will begin shipping the week of November 4, 2009, giving businesses and consumers time to take advantage of Federal tax credits that amount to nearly 50 percent of the suggested retail price for the new Villager 2+2.

The zero-emission LSV from Club Car carries up to four passengers and builds on the Villager’s history of providing dependable energy-efficient transportation for thousands of businesses and consumers worldwide.

LSVs are the fastest-growing segment in what is known as the small task-oriented vehicles (STOV) market, increasing by nearly 50 percent in the last year, according to International Market Solutions, a NY-based research firm.

According to a study conducted by Green Car Institute, a nonprofit California research corporation, consumers and businesses are using LSVs instead of cars or trucks with gasoline internal combustion engines for daily short-distance trips and for cargo transport. In the same survey, LSV owners said they purchased the nimble, street-legal vehicles because they offer an environmentally friendly mode of travel, save on gasoline and fit their lifestyle and business needs for economical transportation.

The Four-wheeled motor vehicles weigh less than 3,000 pounds and have a top speed between 20 and 25 mph. Currently LSVs are allowed in 47 states and the District of Columbia on many roads where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or lower.

In accordance with LSV requirements, Club Car’s Villager 2+2 features headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals and a horn. In addition, a wrap-around impact-resistant bumper system and an onboard charger are standard. Colors include white (standard), beige and black (optional), diamond white pearl, titanium silver, and desert sand (premium). Option packages are available.

“Even WHEN the purchase of an LSV does not replace a personal or commercial vehicle, it will replace many of the miles a vehicle with an internal combustion engine is used for, and that’s going to translate to fuel and energy savings as well as convenience,” said McElreath.

Club Car vehicles are sold through authorized dealers. To locate a dealer, go to and click on Dealer Locator.

Cruise Car Solar Electric hybrid vehicles will transport the New College Charter Class during their 45th Anniversary celebration (October 23-24, 2009) at the New College campus. The vehicles, which transport from four to fourteen passengers, are being provided also as the debut event of the New College - Cruise Car sustainable transportation partnership.

Vehicles will be delivered to the Sudakoff Center at 10 am on Friday, October 23, 2009 and will be driven by New College faculty and staff. The Education Channel of the Sarasota County School Board will be filming this kickoff event for their show, “Going Green” that highlights leading edge, local sustainable efforts.

Cruise Car, Inc., a Sarasota company, produces solar electric hybrid vehicles locally and sells them world wide to local governments, military bases, national parks, colleges, resorts and corporate campuses. Throughout the world, these vehicles are demonstrating the ecological and economical benefits of moving from the gasoline pump to the plug.

The New College - Cruise Car sustainable transportation partnership includes an evaluation of campus fleet vehicles and usage; identification of student transportation patterns and working with campus leaders to determine further opportunities where solar can be incorporated into the campus environment. According to New College Foundation president, Andrew Walker, this partnership is an effort to “lower transportation costs, lower our transportation carbon footprint and clearly declare New College and its students’ commitment to sustainability.”

“The New College partnership with Cruise Car - Eco Trans Alliance is establishing a prototypical methodology that will help other college campuses go solar”, according to Mary Anne Bowie, FAICP, Sustainability Leader for Eco Trans Alliance, who is leading the study. Jono Miller, New College faculty member, is coordinating the study for New College. The study is expected to take several months to complete.

Cruise Car Inc. sells efficient, affordable solar electric hybrid low speed vehicles that are street legal on 35 mph streets. Cruise Car Inc. provides alternative energy transportation solutions for military bases, resorts, residential communities, and college, corporate and health care campuses.

In addition to the unique solar powered electric vehicles that transport from two passengers to more than 24 passengers, Cruise Car Inc. with its partner company, Eco Trans Alliance, offers sustainable transportation systems that include zip charging systems for rapid battery recovery, GPS tracking systems for fleet management and real time transit info, and Eco Ports that are solar powered structures providing shaded parking and vehicle recharging. Cruise Car Inc. is a GSA multiple award schedule contract holder and sells and ships to U. S. government facilities throughout the world.

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It seems that golf carts have escaped. They have shed their surrounding, dropped the dowdy image and hit the streets to become the latest must-have accessory.

Across Europe, popularity is growing and can be measured by the number of celebrities queuing up to jump on the buggy-wagon. The most recent purchase was by pop star Cheryl Cole, who bought husband and Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole, a “Mini-Hummer” buggy as a gift, spending $8,000 customizing the cart with gold-plated hub caps, Swarovski crystals and a trunk for his golf clubs.

Dominik Jackson, owner of Mini-Hummer says demand for the vehicles has rocketed since 2006: “It started as a glorified golf buggy. But since adapting the look we’ve had demand from all over Europe and even from royal families in the Middle East.” The carts are already on the roads in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and the company is planning to launch a new fully enclosed Mini-Hummer in London next year.

While Europe is catching up with the trend, there has been a big market for “pimped” golf carts in the United States for some time. I’d say about 99% of our sales these days are for individual use,” says Randy Hopper, owner of Sick ‘N’ Twisted Designs, one of the largest bespoke golf cart manufacturers in California. “We build customized golf carts to the specific requirements of the customer – we pretty much do everything.”

And this really means everything. Modern carts are now built with leather seats, wooden dashboard, surround-sound systems, iPod players, lower lighting and air bags, in a variety of themes – street, lifted, off-road and even Limo carts.

Sick ‘N’ Twisted customer Dave Johnson is having his golf cart pimped and modified to match the color of his boat: “It’s going to be burgundy with 12-inch wheels, full sound system and air-bags that adjust the height of the cart.” Dave insists that in his neighborhood, golf carts are more of an everyday than a luxury item: “They’re practical, affordable and it’s nice to cruise around and see your neighbors.”

So is this a case of keeping up with the Joneses? “There’s no official competition on our street, but people take notice of things like that. It’s definitely seen as a status symbol.”

While the golf cart remains a staple on the fairways, the souped-up street version is no longer just par for the course.

A renowned resort in Malacca is taking the government’s call to migrate to green technology seriously.

A’Famosa Resort Hotel Sdn Bhd said all golf carts used on its 27-hole championship golf course will soon be powered by the Green Golf Car batteries developed by ETI Tech (M) Sdn Bhd.

The A’Famosa Resort in Alor Gajah, Malaccan has a full range of recreation facilities including an exclusive 326-room hotel, golf course, water theme park, equestrian, clubhouse, fishing pond, archery, cycling and jogging paths, animal world Safari, swimming pool and health center.

The resort’s director Datik Kevin Lau said it has tested ETI’s green battery over the last 8 months and was pleased with its performance and lower operating costs.

“This is the first green golf cart battery that is lead-free and environmental friendly, developed and manufactured by a Malaysian company. We are proud to announce that our golf course is the first in Malaysia to switch to green battery,” Lau said.

A’Famosa Resort has more than 100 golf carts and all of these golf carts will be converted to use WTI’s Green Battery starting in August.

Lau said as a family oriented resort, it is essential to ensure that the resort is free from pollution and contaminants such as lead and toxic fumes released by lead acid batteries.

ETI Tech, a MSC-status company, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TEI Tech Corp Bhd, which is an investment holding company listed on the ACE market of Bursa Malaysia. ETI is principally involved in the research and development of intelligent battery management systems for rechargeable energy storage solutions using polymer lithium-ion based energy cells.

ETI Tech chief technology officer Y.K. Khor said the company completed development of GGC battery early last year. He said not only were GGC batteries smaller and lighter, they also deliver longer range than the lead batteries previously used by the resort.

For golfers, no other golf GPS application offers as many features or as much mapping flexibility as Pocket Caddy. The applications “Flyover” feature presents a 2D and 3D flyover of the holes to give the golfer a realistic visual of the hole prior to teeing off. From anywhere on the course, Pocket Caddy gives live yardages to the front, middle and back of the green. Unlike most other golf GPS systems, Pocket Caddy defines the front as the nearest point to the live position, not nearest point to the tee. Additionally, the application provides yardages (or meters) to hazards which help with club selection.

Monitoring, recording and interpreting statistics is a critical component of golf and Pocket Caddy is an invaluable tool that will help golfers improve this aspect of their game. Pocket Caddy records critical information such as club used and lie of the ball during specific shots, fairways/greens hit, putts per hole and distance of each club. Once the golfer is finished with their round, they simply sync their Satsports GPS device to their computer and the Stats Viewer program catalogues the data. Stats Viewer also has an output to Google Earth so golfers can replay their round in 3D. This feature can be used to compare two rounds from the same or different players, instantly highlighting differences in play.

Pocket Caddy currently has over 700 golf courses available but with Pocket Caddy’s free online Pocket Caddy Membership, anyone can either download new golf courses or maps, or upload new golf courses to the database. With Pocket Caddy’s DIY Course Mapping software and Google Earth, members can easily map their local courses from the comfort of their home in about 20-40 minutes. Once a member has uploaded a new course, they will receive a credit that can be exchanged for a course that another member has mapped.

  • Combines true real time interactive navigation for skiing, snowboarding, golfing, running and cycling enthusiasts
  • PC software syncs GPS data with Google Earth to replay data in 3D
  • Optional SD card turns device into a street navigator with voice commands
  • High-quality components: 2.7″ touch screen, SiRF Star III antenna, Samsung 400Mhz processor & Micro SD card slot

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