How Does a Golf Cart Work?

by Josienita Borlongan
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Yamaha, taliesin, cruise car inc.

Power Sources

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Golf carts can run on gas, electricity or solar energy. Gas-powered golf carts use a similar kind of gasoline that people use on cars, while electric-powered golf carts make use of electricity to power battery cells. Golf carts use a 110-volt battery to power their batteries. An electric-powered golf cart needs at least 8 to 12 hours to charge a drained battery cell in full. Most recently, golf cart makers are building more environmentally friendly carts that recharge their own batteries using solar panels mounted on their rooftops. Golfers can just park the cart in the sun to recharge the battery, making it more convenient. A person can easily charge the battery while enjoying a round of golf during a sunny day.


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Before you can start a golf cart, it is necessary to lock the brake into place by pressing on it firmly. Then, turn the ignition by using a key to start the engine. Some models may have a button to press in addition to using the ignition key, while some do not. Since most golf carts run on electricity, you may not hear a sound of the motor running; however, once the ignition is on the "on" position, it is safe to assume that it is on. Golf carts only have two gears, the F (forward) and R (reverse) gears. Adjust to the desired gear by moving the lever into the correct position, and then gently step on the gas pedal for the golf cart to start moving. There will be a sudden initial jolt upon starting, so make sure to hold on firmly on the steering wheel at all times. When making turns, do them slowly as the cart is prone to toppling when doing sharp quick turns. To stop the golf cart, press on the brake firmly until you hear a clicking sound that indicates that the brake is in a locked position.


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Golf carts do not run as fast as the regular cars do. Some of them only have a maximum forward speed of 15 mph and backward speed of 10 mph. Some street legal carts may run as fast as 25 mph. The regenerative braking system feeds energy back into the batteries and helps to moderate the speed of the cart on downhill inclines. Some models have a maximum horsepower of 11.4hp. Most golf carts have low emission single cylinder engines with splash-style positive oil lubrication and have a 1-quart oil capacity.

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