Do you wish your golf cart could go a little faster? While most stock golf carts top out at around 15 mph, there are several modifications you can make to increase the speed and power. With a few upgrades, you can get your golf cart cruising at 20-25 mph.
In this article, you’ll learn 6 effective ways to make your golf cart faster, from upgrading the motor and battery to installing performance tires. We’ll also cover key concepts like torque, voltage, and amperage so you can better understand how your golf cart works. Follow these tips, and you’ll be zooming around the course in no time!
Table of Contents
Understanding Key Concepts for Making Your Golf Cart Faster
Before we get into specific upgrades, let’s go over some important concepts that determine golf cart speed and power:
Torque – This measures rotational force or twisting power. More torque allows the wheels to spin with greater force. Higher torque improves acceleration and hill climbing ability.
Voltage – Voltage from the battery pack determines the cart’s speed. More voltage delivers increased speed. Most stock carts run at 48 volts, while faster carts use 72 volts or more.
Amperage – This measures the electrical current flowing in the circuit. More amps allows more power to be delivered by the battery and motor.
RPM – The motor’s revolutions per minute determine wheel speed. More RPMs equal a faster cart. Upgrading the motor can increase max RPMs.
Now let’s look at 6 great ways to utilize these concepts to make your golf cart significantly faster.
1. Upgrade to a Higher Torque Motor
One of the best ways to add speed and acceleration is to upgrade your golf cart’s motor. Look for a high-torque series wound DC electric motor. These motors provide very good low-end torque while also allowing high RPMs and top speed.
For street-legal golf carts, a good upgrade option is an 8 hp or 13 hp motor. Off-road carts can use even more powerful motors up to 36 hp. A 13 hp motor can produce over twice the torque of a stock 5 hp golf cart motor. This added power really improves speed off the line and on hills.
When upgrading the motor, make sure to also upgrade the controller to match the new motor. We’ll cover controllers next.
2. Improve the Controller
The controller is the electronic circuit that regulates electrical power from the battery to the motor. A higher voltage motor needs a controller capable of handling the increased amperage.
Stock golf cart controllers often use mechanical relays or contactors. These only switch power on and off and limit performance. Upgrading to a solid state digital controller dramatically improves speed control and efficiency.
A programmable digital controller lets you fine tune throttle response and RPMs. Higher amp controllers combined with thicker gauge wiring helps unlock the full potential of upgraded motors.
Also upgrade the solenoid to match the new controller amperage. The solenoid switches power from the battery to the controller.
3. Install Bigger Tires
One of the simplest ways to increase golf cart speed is by installing larger diameter tires and wheels.
Larger tires provide more contact area and require less torque to turn at a given speed. The increased diameter directly boosts the speed of the perimeter of the tire with each revolution.
For example, upgrading from 18” to 22” wheels increases the tire’s circumference by about 20%. This allows around 20% faster speed at the same motor RPM.
Most golf carts can accommodate wheels up to 10” wide and 22” in diameter. Make sure to get low rolling resistance tires designed for high speeds.
4. Use a Higher Voltage Battery
As mentioned earlier, voltage has a direct impact on golf cart speed. Most stock carts run on 48 volt battery packs.
Switching to a 72 volt battery system provides a 50% voltage increase for a nice boost in speed. 96 volt and 144 volt systems are possible for even more speed, but may require other drivetrain upgrades.
When upgrading voltage:
Use 8 volt batteries wired in series
Upgrade the controller, motor, and charger to match higher voltage
Use thicker 12 gauge wiring for 72 volts, 10 gauge for 96+ volts
Lithium batteries are the best option for high voltage speed carts. Compared to lead acid, lithium provides more power in a lighter weight package. They also hold a charge longer. Just be sure your charger is compatible with the type of lithium battery chemistry you choose.
5. Reduce Weight
You might not think shaving a few pounds would matter much for speed, but a lighter golf cart requires less power to accelerate and climb hills.
Remove any heavy extras from your cart that you don’t really need. Common items like heavy stereo speakers can be swapped for lighter alternatives. Even choosing aluminum wheels over steel saves weight.
Also keep the rear storage area free of unnecessary cargo. Extra passenger weight affects performance as well. Overall, try to keep your cart as lightweight and decluttered as possible.
6. Tune Other Components
Here are a few other ways to eke out a little more speed:
Tire pressure – Make sure tires are inflated to the recommended PSI. Underinflated tires increase rolling resistance.
Bearings – Inspect wheel bearings and lubricate as needed. Reduce friction by ensuring bearings spin freely.
Belts – Replace worn drive belts with new cogged performance belts designed to grip better at high RPMs.
Brakes – Adjust brakes to avoid any drag while not engaged. Sticky brakes sap power.
With the right combination of these upgrades, you can increase your average golf cart speed by 5-15 mph. Just take it slowly and incrementally so you don’t push any components beyond their limits.
Key Takeaways for Making Your Golf Cart Faster:
Upgrade to a high torque DC motor with more horsepower
Install a programmable solid state controller
Use higher voltage lithium batteries
Switch to bigger diameter performance tires
Reduce weight by removing unnecessary items
Tune components like belts and bearings
With a few strategic upgrades, you’ll be zipping around the neighborhood or golf course in no time. Just be smart and safe if increasing speed significantly. Added power requires extra diligence and care when driving.
Now put the pedal down and feel that wind in your hair as you cruise in your souped up speed machine! Just don’t let your need for speed get out of hand. Most areas have limits on golf cart speeds, especially on public roads, so check your local laws.
With the right modifications, you can make your golf cart faster while also making it more fun to drive. Show off your modified high-performance cart to your jealous golf buddies!
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