One of the conundrums of some RV travelers is how to get around after you have dropped anchor at your favorite RV destination. Those who are not equipped with some other form of transport will need to navigate their rig through downtown traffic to get a loaf of bread or some other necessary sundry, like wine.
Some have solved the problem with a tow vehicle or those with a trailer have their truck and once uncoupled are good to go.
One popular alternative is the golf cart/car especially if you are situated in a state that allows this vehicle on public roads. Some are electric while others are gas.
Golf carts/cars are popular in the large RV parks of the south where it can be a substantial walk to the amenities, although most of us could use the calorie burning exercise.
These are especially handy if you are a golfer. You can take your machine from home base to the course and even stop on the way to pick up any necessity you may be running low on.
For about $1500 your golf cart can be upgraded to increase the speed to be used in traffic.
Electric Golf Carts
An electric golf cart that typically travels 13 – 15 mph can be modified to reach 23 – 25 mph, a gas cart would be less. This is achieved by several ways, upgrading the controller, the rear end can be changed to a different gear ratio, or the engine can be changed.
For my money it would make more sense to buy one that is factory built with street use capabilities. Depending on your requirements, electric golf cars come with 36, 48 and 72 volt battery systems. The total voltage system must always be a multiple of 12, not sure why this, probably some obscure law of physics. Don’t we have enough laws already?
The voltage size is determined by how far and how long your routine trips will be. For example if it is your routine to travel 60 miles per trip you will need 48 volts, however it is not that simple. The configuration of your batteries also will determine the range, for instance 8 – 6 volt batteries will give you a range of 60 miles, while a battery bank of 6 – 8 volts will yield 40 miles, ….go figure? Again not sure why this is but some physicist can probably explain it, if you can understand.
It’s critical not to draw off more than 1/3 of your voltage, continuous depletion of more than this will cause a shortened life span of the batteries. If a battery is regularly drawn down more than 1/3 the amount of sulfate deposits increase, and the more sulfate deposits the less charge a battery is able to hold. This fact is true of most rechargeable batteries. For example, a 48 volt battery bank when new and fully charged will read 60 volts and a 1/3 depletion will read about 48 volts. Electric engines are designed to run on the designated voltage.
The US DOT has made it legal for slower vehicles to travel on most public roads with the designation LSV (low speed vehicle), of course individual states can create their own laws governing this type of vehicle, and these vehicles are still required to have a VIN # and be approved for street use.
The best batteries for this application are the AGM batteries,(amalgamated glass mat), no maintenance. The lead plates are covered with a mat that contains the acid solution with no exposure to the air, very little sulfates deposits are created.
These type of batteries will last the longest, about twice as long as lead acid batteries, 6 – 7 years with proper care. AGM batteries cost about 1/3 more.
Don’t think of using deep cycle marine batteries, they are designed to produce about 8 amps for a small trolling motor, where as a golf cart requires about 20 amps. RV batteries would be a better choice.
The environment & batteries.
The temperature and humidity play an important role in your battery’s life. Heat and low humidity are the worst and will deplete batteries more quickly than cool humid temperatures. Monitoring your batteries closely and recharging more frequently is necessary. Check the fluid levels of lead acid batteries more often.
It is important to note that a gel battery (no maintenance battery) should not be charged with a regular battery charger, it may cause the battery to swell and push out the gel which cannot be replaced.
Chargers are available with different battery type selectors, click here to check out battery chargers at Amazon.com or Amazon.ca
Lead acid batteries should be monitored when charging to prevent over charging. This can cause the acid to overflow and the battery to overheat. The resulting acid fumes may explode. Do not add water before charging a lead acid battery, it will surely overflow, wait until the charging cycle has been completed.
Gem & HDK Golf electric vehicles.
Made for use on the golf course as well as the pavement. The Gem has been upgraded from just a golf cart with all the street legal requirements, as well as, four wheel brakes, heavier suspension and frame.
A high and low speed switch makes changing from golf course mode to street mode simple.
These electric vehicles come in 2 passenger as well as 4 passenger models.
This article was developed with the help of Thomas Horner of the Horner Group 12301 W. Bell Rd. Surprise, Az. 623 977-004 golf cart and car sales and service.
If you’re not into buying a golf car/cart renting may be your solution. the following are a couple of rental outfits in the Phoenix area.
-Robert Mcleod – 602 769-2202 Glendale
-Larry Harding – 623 583-8904 Surprise
I am not sure why more states or provinces don’t allow these alternate forms of transportation especially in the cities and towns where pollution and congestion is becoming a huge issue?
I hope this article helps in some way if you are interested in golf carts or cars.
I have created a comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV travels click here to check out my list.
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