How Many Batteries are in a 48 Volt Golf Cart?
Electric golf carts are powered by onboard battery packs which must be replaced from time to time. Commonly, electric golf carts use 36 volts and 48 volts electric systems, although 72 volts electric golf carts are becoming more and more popular.
Electric golf cart battery packs are based on 6V, 8V, and 12V lead-acid batteries, although in recent times, 12V, 24V, 36V, and 48V golf cart lithium batteries are also being manufactured. So, how many batteries are in a 48-volt golf cart?
Golf Cart Battery Sizes
The most popular golf cart battery sizes are:
- 6 Volts: GC2 (10 3/8 x 7 3/16 x 10 5/8 inches, 264 x 183 x 270 mm) and GC2H (10 3/8 x 7 3/16 x 11 5/8 inches, 264 x 183 x 295 mm),
- 8 Volts: GC8 (10 3/8 x 7 3/16 x 10 7/8 inches, 264 x 183 x 277 mm) and GC8H (10 3/8 x 7 3/16 x 11 5/8 inches, 264 x 183 x 295 mm),
- 12 Volts: GC12 (12 7/8 x 7 3/16 x 10 7/8 inches, 327 x 183 x 277 mm).
So, in order to make a 48 volts battery pack, one needs:
- 8 (eight) GC2 or GC2H batteries: 8 x 6 volts = 48 volts
- 6 (six) GC8 or GC8H batteries: 6 x 8 volts = 48 volts
- 4 (four) GC12 batteries: 4 x 12 volts = 48 volts
Similarly, in order to make 36 volts battery pack, one needs:
- 6 (six) GC2 or GC2H batteries: 6 x 6 volts = 36 volts
- 3 (three) GC12 batteries: 3 x 12 volts = 36 volts
Note: using GC8 or GC8H batteries, one may create 32 volt or 40 volt battery packs, but NOT 36 volts battery pack. Should one decide to use GC8 or GC8H batteries in a 36-volt golf cart, 4 (four) GC8 or GC8H batteries equal to 32 volts, leading to an underpowered golf cart, and 5 (five) GC8 or GC8H batteries equal to 40 volts, which may damage or destroy the electric system of a 36-volt golf cart. For short, don't use GC8 or GC8H batteries in 36-volt golf carts.
Although 72 volt golf cart are not as common as 48 volt units, it is good to know that in order to make 72 volts battery pack, one needs:
- 12 (twelve) GC2 or GC2H batteries: 12 x 6 volts = 72 volts
- 9 (nine) GC8 or GC8H batteries: 9 x 8 volts = 72 volts
- 6 (six) GC12 batteries: 6 x 12 volts = 72 volts
Note: when connecting batteries in series, if possible, always use the same battery models of the same manufacturer, preferably from the same batch.
Counting the Batteries and Water Holes
The easiest way of figuring out the exact golf cart voltage is by looking at the - documentation. However, after some time, it may be hard to find such documents, and all the markings on the golf cart may be covered by rust and dirt.
So, in order to find out the exact electric golf cart voltage, open the battery compartment, check the batteries' specifications (volts, capacity, BCI Group) and count the batteries.
If such data is unreadable, count the batteries and, if they are present, water fill holes - each flooded/wet lead-acid battery features one water fill hole per one battery cell (~2 volts per cell).
So, flooded GC2/GC2H batteries feature 3 water fill holes for a total of 6 volts per battery, GC8/GC8H batteries feature 4 water fill holes for a total of 8 volts per battery and GC12 batteries feature 6 water fill holes for a total of 12 volts per battery.
Unlike wet lead-acid batteries, AGM and Gel-Cell lead-acid batteries don't require the user to fill the water during use, since they are maintenance-free batteries. Nonetheless, they (or at least AGM batteries) commonly feature fill holes on top of the batteries which can be counted as well in order to determine the battery voltage.
Lithium 48 Volts Golf Cart Battery Packs
Lithium batteries offer many advantages over lead-acid batteries, including weight savings, faster recharging, a larger number of supported charging/discharging cycles, excellent 100% DoD recovery, and similar.
On the other side, lithium golf cart batteries are more expensive, at least initially.
If your 48V golf cart is powered by Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery (or batteries), it has:
- 4 (four) 12 volts lithium batteries: 4 x 12 volts = 48 volts
- 2 (two) 24 volts lithium batteries: 2 x 24 volts = 48 volts
- 1 (one) 48 volts lithium batteries: 1 x 48 volts = 48 volts
In recent times, 48 volts lithium batteries are becoming more and more popular for 48 volts systems and 24 volts lithium batteries for 72 volts systems.
Long Story Short: If your golf cart has a 48-volt electric system and you have lead-acid batteries, then you have 8 (eight) 6-volt batteries, or 6 (six) 8-volt batteries, or 4 (four) 12-volt batteries.
If such golf cart is powered by lithium batteries, then you have 4 (four) 12-volt batteries, or 2 (two) 24-volt batteries, or 1 (one) 48-volt battery.