Ok, so you've found a body style of an E-Z-GO, Club Car or Yamaha or maybe another brand golf cart you like. Now comes the question from the salesman, "Do you want an Electric or Gas?" Almost always I'm asked, What’s the difference? It really comes down to what or why is the reason you’re getting a cart, and how you’re going to use it. Will you be using it around or for a steep/hilly area, flat land, farm, house, camping etc…
Back in the day, it used to be a big difference. Your choices were a slow, quiet electric golf cart that wouldn't go but so far on a single charge versus a loud 2 cycle gas engine golf cart that smoked and smelled a half mile away. Of course, up until the Mid 90’s, almost all golf carts were clearly being made to play 18 to 36 holes of golf and that was it. Then, all of the electric carts would need to be put on charge for the next day. It’s still a lot of these carts out there, and a lot of times you can pick up a golf cart pretty cheap and depending on what you’re using it for, that may be the way to go.
Above; An older E-Z-GO Marathon golf cart. Has a steel body.
Here are the down sides to some of these older carts:
Electric: Most all of them up till mid 90’s were what we call “series” carts which, in short means, not many upgrades can be done. It pretty much is what it is, as far as speed, pulling, run time and most all are 36 volts. Now these are still pretty good carts as long as you don’t try to change them with lift kits, big tires, cargo boxes and back seat kits etc…
Gas: It’s pretty much what was said earlier as them being 2 cycle. Meaning, it has to mix gas with the oil which puts off a strong odor and most of them smoke and are loud. The good news is they are pretty strong engines as far as pulling power and a lot of them can handle an upgrade without hurting the performance of the golf cart a whole lot.
Now, anything over say a 1995 model cart in most all brands should be “Solid State” in the electric models, and come in either 36 or 48 volts. The good news is, with these systems, the sky and your bank account is the limit when it comes to upgrades for more pulling power, more speed, and any other golf cart parts and accessories you’d like to put on it to fix or dress it up. And in the gas carts, they are all now 4 cycle. And run straight gas like your car and are now so quiet with almost no smells at all. Upgrades are also more plentiful for these carts to achieve pulling power, as well as the vast array of other parts and accessories available to fix these up to compete with your neighbor’s “pimped out” ride.
Above; A newer E-Z-GO with a lift kit and added cargo box/rear seat for around the home.
Maintenance-Electric Carts; No matter new or old style, 36 or 48 volt, electric carts depend on good batteries and boy they are not cheap…Over the years, the cost of batteries seem to constantly rise, But for now, it is very important to know how old the batteries are when buying a cart. I’ve seen too many times a customer show up and says “I got a deal on this cart” only to find out they need a new set of batteries which start at approx. $700 and more for a set. So, if you decide on an electric golf cart be sure to know how old they are. (We’ll do a battery blog soon)
As for now, most batteries last between 4 and 5 years depending on use and maintenance. An electric cart is really low maintenance though, as you only need to keep an eye out on your water levels, keep battery cables tight and free of corrosion and sometimes change the cables out with new ones. And with most of todays chargers, they are completely automatic or “smart chargers” that turn on and cut off when needed.
Maintenance-Gas Carts; If you have the newer type gas cart, you wont have to spend that $700+ on new batteries. But, they do require almost the same maintenance as your car with oil, filter, spark plug(s), and belt(s) changes throughout the years to come. In most cases and depending on your use, you can get by with 1-2 services, or tune-ups as we call them here at eCart Parts, per year; meaning by changing the oil, air and fuel filters, spark plug etc.. Both starter and drive belts should last 3-5 years but, in any gas powered engine, you must keep a look out on your oil level each month and cracked, loose belts, filters.
We hope this helps in choosing either a Gas or Electric cart. For help on knowing how to determine what year model a cart is
To find out the difference between a 36 and 48 volt cart –
Click Here> https://www.ecartparts.com/36-or-48-volts