Lithium Battery Powered Golf Cars on the Rise

Trojan Trillium lithium battery

A lithium battery from Trojan’s new Trillium product line.

Trillium Lithium Battery Line from Trojan

Trojan Battery, a major player in the golf car and small task-oriented vehicle market, recently introduced their new Trillium line of Trojan Intelligent Lithium batteries. The line is targeting the aftermarket segment and is designed to be a replacement for existing lead acid batteries. According to Trojan the switch can be made “without the need for expertise in Li-ion technology or system integration.” Likewise OEMs can use the new battery line “…without significant investments in custom pack design and development.”

Sign of More Market Penetration

Trojan’s new product line is another indication of the growing use of lithium batteries in the golf car market. For a number of years there has been a lithium battery aftermarket that has largely consisted of smaller companies packaging together the various components. They either sell directly to golf car owners and/or through dealers who can install the components. However, this has been a niche market. In 2015 LiV Golf Cars tried to sell a lithium powered fleet golf car but were undercut by the big players too many times and retreated from that market. There are also smaller volume OEMs like GEM and luxury golf car maker Garia that offer lithium powered vehicles.

E-Z-GO Entry a Gamechanger

The most significant move towards lithium batteries came in 2017 when E-Z-GO, one of the major golf car manufacturers, launched their ELiTE line of lithium powered fleet golf cars. They also offer the option on some of their personal transportation vehicles. Financial reports show that E-Z-GO sold over 20,000 ELiTE vehicles in 2017. Samsung SDI is the lithium battery supplier for E-Z-GO. Rival golf car manufacturer Club Car has been linked to battery manufacturer LG Chem but has not yet introduced any lithium powered vehicles.

What Lies Ahead

The entry of a brand name such as Trojan should boost the aftermarket segment. Customers will likely have more trust in a Trojan backed product. In addition, if it is as easy to use as advertised, then this niche market should expand. The E-Z-GO product appears to have launched fairly successfully. Continued success will likely force Club Car and Yamaha to introduce their own lithium powered vehicles. Perhaps as soon as the upcoming PGA Show early in 2019. Once that happens, the move towards lithium batteries could accelerate quickly.

Marc Cesare, SVR

Club Car Accessory Packages for Carryall Models

Club Car is targeting the commercial market with the Carryall 700 and other vehicles.

Club Car is targeting the commercial market with the Carryall 700 and other Carryall models.

Club Car continues their targeting of commercial markets with the launching of commercial accessory packages for their Carryall utility vehicles. They are offering model specific packages for the Carryall 300, 500, 550 and 700. The packages are available for gas or electric models. The package for Carryall 300 utility vehicles includes:

  • A cargo box
  • Tailgate tethers
  • Heavy-duty trailer hitch
  • Tail lights, brake lights, turn signal and horn

The package for the Carryall 500 utility vehicle includes:

  • A cargo box
  • Tailgate tethers
  • Improved ride quality
  • Tail lights, brake lights, turn signal and horn

The package for the Carryall 550 utility vehicle includes:

  • A cargo box
  • Tailgate tethers
  • Heavy-duty trailer hitch
  • Tail lights, brake lights, turn signal and horn
  • Heavy-duty brush guard
  • Improved ride quality

The package for the Carryall 700 utility vehicle includes:

  • A flat bed
  • Heavy-duty brush guards
  • Tail lights, brake lights and horn

According to Club Car the packages are less expensive compared to purchasing each accessory separately. The accesory packages for each model are “…based on a detailed analysis of buying patterns of commercial companies, so it includes the accessories most commonly ordered for that vehicle by customers…”. Learn more:

Comment:  Club Car has been rolling out a number of products and services over the past year or so specifically targeting commercial segments. They have launched the new Carryall vehicles, new accessories, fleet management and maintenance services and now these accessory packages. With the decline and now stagnation in the golf car fleet market, the golf car manufacturers are looking to commercial and other non-fleet markets to boost sales of vehicles as well as parts, accessories and related services. Club Car is marketing to specific verticals, which they have defined as Resorts, Education, Non-Industrial Rentals, Industrial Rentals and Government.

2016 PGA Show: Parts Leader Nivel Emphasizes Branding

Product display for Jake's lift kits.

Product display for Jake’s lift kits.

Display for one of Nivel's wheels from their GTW brand.

Display for one of Nivel’s wheels from their GTW brand.

In-store product display for Nivel's recent brand acquisition, Madjax.

In-store product display for Nivel’s recent brand acquisition, Madjax.

At the recent PGA Show, leading golf car parts supplier Nivel revealed plans to emphasize and leverage branded product lines. After a string of acquisitions over the last several years, Nivel’s  management believes they had built a stable of well-known branded products, but had not fully realized the value of those brands. To that end the company is making an effort under their “House of Brands” initiative to build brand awareness and take advantage of the brand equity in some key product lines now under the Nivel umbrella. Key brands on display at the PGA Show include:

  • Jake’s – lift kits
  • Madjax – seating and lighting
  • Red Dot Enclosures – vehicle enclosures
  • Blue Dot – windshields and tops
  • GTW – wheels, lift kits and flipseats
  • Genesis 250/350 – seating
  • Reliance Power Parts
  • MJFX Innovative – lift kits and bumpers

Part of their strategy involves placing dedicated store displays for specific brands in dealerships. Nivel is the largest supplier of aftermarket parts and accessories for golf cars in North America.

2016 PGA Show: Golf Car Enclosures

One of the booths I stopped at was Superior Enclosures. Relatively new to the market, the company has lined up their manufacturing and are ready to roll out their product in 2016.

The enclosure is attached to the roof using an aluminum strip.

The enclosure is attached to the roof using an aluminum strip.

The top fastener of the enclosure

The top fastener of the enclosure

The bottom fastener of the enclosure.

The bottom fastener of the enclosure.

The product is designed to be easier to use compared to enclosures that require rolling up and/or zipping up the sides. The Superior Enclosures work by sliding a curtain back and forth. In the closed position the enclosure is held closed by a strong magnetic strip that runs vertically along the front edge of the enclosure curtain. In the open position the enclosure curtain is held in position by button type fastener at the top and a tie-down type fastener on the bottom. Conveniently, the enclosure can be opened, closed and fastened while the person is seated in the golf car rather than stepping out of the vehicle and getting wet in the process. Another advantage is that the vertical curtain design allows water to drain down onto the ground rather than being rolled up into the enclosure. The fabric is also mold resistant. I tried out the enclosure and found the door curtains slid into place easily, the magnet held it in place strongly and you could open and fasten the curtains while staying seated.

The Encompass Golf Cart Enclosure takes a different approach, using a semi-rigid door made of fabric laid over an aluminum frame. The doors open and close like a typical door but also have a clear vinyl window that can be zippered open or closed. The clear rear panel can be rolled up. The doors can easily be removed in under a minute.

Encompass Golf Cart Enclosure

Encompass Golf Cart Enclosure

Also on display is the company's golf car cooler product.

Also on display is the company’s golf car cooler product.

Club Car Launches UTV Support Program for Equipment Rental Market

Club Car is targeting the commercial market with the Carryall 700 and other vehicles.

Club Car is targeting the commercial market with the Carryall 700 and other vehicles as well as customer oriented service programs.

Club Car has formed a UTV Technical Support Team program that is dedicated exclusively to rental customers. The team provides a number of services including:

  • Serving as a liaison between customers and engineering, product development, aftermarket and other divisions of the company.
  • Providing regional and on-site classroom and hands-on training for mechanics, who work with actual Club Car vehicles on their sites.
  • Troubleshooting issues for customers remotely and on site.
  • Speeding parts delivery.
  • Serving as a single point of contact for Club Car.

In addition, Club Car is positioning dedicated technicians to serve rental customers in specific markets. Learn more:

Comment:  Club Car is continuing their concerted effort to target commercial vehicle markets for sales growth. They have rolled out new vehicles as well as new services such as this support program to improve their market share. Earlier this year they launched a fleet management program.

Winterizing Your UTV for Work or Play

A Polaris Ranger with Glacier Pro plow system.

A Polaris Ranger with Glacier Pro plow system.

With the winter months approaching some UTV owners may have thoughts of winterizing their vehicle for either winter work, such as plowing or traversing farm or ranch land, or for recreational use such as trail riding or traveling to and around winter camps. To discuss some of the options and accessories you might consider, as well as winter maintenance and other tips, I spoke with Rolly who works in the Mies Outland service department.  Mies Outland is a Polaris dealer located in Watkins, MN, so the personnel there have some experience with cold and snowy winters. I also priced out some of the typical winter options and accessories for models from Polaris and a few other brands. Full article


Hyndsight Rear View Vision System For Kubota UTVs

The Kubota RTV-X900

The Journey rear view vision system from Hyndsight Vision Systems will soon be available for Kubota utility vehicles like the Kubota RTV-X900.

Hyndsight Vision Systems has announced they have established an exclusive partnership with Weidmann Brothers, a national aftermarket wholesaler of quality products to agricultural, turf, industrial and rural lifestyle dealers, to sell the company’s rear view vision system to Kubota dealerships. Weidmann’s Orange Aftermarket division supports over 1,900 Kubota dealers with aftermarket accessories for tractors, RTVs and mowers.

The Journey vision system is a portable, wireless rear view vision system that can be mounted without any wiring required on any utility vehicle, allowing full rear view coverage on a sunlight readable monitor. Designed for a harsh environment, the rugged, weather resistant system and provides a “real-to-life” visual field through a real-time video stream between camera and monitor. The Jouney system debuted at Kubota’s recent national dealer meeting. Learn more:

Comment:  As the UTV market has developed, the vehicles have been adopting some of the same advanced technology that is present in automobiles. In similar fashion, this technology is typically first found on more expensive vehicles as standard equipment or as an optional accessory. This product could be useful in other STOV market segments as well such as on LSVs and golf car type vehicles used on college campuses, where vehicle safety is a significant concern in high pedestrian traffic environments. Similarly, in gated communities or where public road use by LSVs and golf cars is high there could be some demand for the product.

114-Mile Range for Lithium Powered Golf Car


Lithium Boost system installed in EZGO by Advantage Golf Cars

Lithium Boost system installed in EZGO by Advantage Golf Cars

Lithium Boost Technologies, working with Advantage Golf Cars of the The Villages in Florida, announced that they were able to get 114 miles from a single charge in an E-Z-GO RXV golf car using the LithiumBoost Ultra battery system. The Lithium Boost Technologies integrated battery system includes 200ah lithium-ion cells, 20a chargers, smart BMS (Battery Management System), and all the required wiring, gauge and accessories. Management states that the core value is in the patented BMS and individual-cell chargers system that was designed to optimize and control charging/discharging in order to yield maximum stored energy and assure long life cycle of the lithium cells. The full press release follows below the comment section.

Comment:  That is an impressive range for a single charge. The issue with lithium battery systems is the cost relative to lead acid battery systems. At this point, the technology appeals mostly to the higher end of the market as a replacement or option for a standard lead acid system. The golf car market is very price sensitive so the price of a Lithium based system will need to decrease significantly for widespread use to occur. Besides the advantages of more range and less weight, there is also need for a battery pack that is less maintenance intensive then lead acid batteries. If you talk to dealers or battery companies, they frequently point to poorly maintained batteries as an issue. It can impact the sales of electric powered golf cars or LSVs because a poorly maintained battery pack can result in a premature and expensive replacement of batteries. This can reflect poorly on the vehicle manufacturer, battery manufacturer and dealer, even though the fault often resides with the owner not properly maintaining the batteries. In turn, this can lead consumers to a switch to a gas powered vehicle. 

Advantage Golf Cars Achieved 114-Mile Range Deploying Lithium-ion Battery System from Lithium Boost Technologies 

Smart Battery Management System (BMS) and innovative chargers allow enhancing the performance of lithium-powered golf carts

San Diego, CA, and The Villages, FL, September 29, 2015 – Lithium Boost Technologies Inc., the leading provider of innovative Lithium-ion battery systems to power low speed electric vehicles (LSEV) today announced a record of 114 miles per charge achieved by its customer Advantage Golf Cars (The Villages, Florida).

LithiumBoost Ultra battery system with 200ah lithium cells and 20a chargers, was installed by Advantage Golf Cars in an E-Z-GO RXV golf cart, replacing existing lead-acid batteries. After performing comprehensive tests and working closely with the Lithium Boost engineering team to enhance the battery system features, Advantage Golf Cars mechanics drove 114 miles per charge at an average speed of 17 miles per hour. This record was accomplished in one day, utilizing multiple drivers taking turns in driving each one hour shift.

“At Advantage Golf Cars in Florida, we aim at best serving our customers and providing them with advanced solutions to satisfy their needs” Said Jason Martin, General Manager North at Advantage Golf Cars. “We searched for a lithium-ion battery solution that could relieve our customers from the lead-acid maintenance and leakage hassle while allowing them to gain longer drive range and significantly reduce their cart weight. Our goal was to achieve 100 miles per charge and we are glad that choosing Lithium Boost’s solution allowed us to exceed our expectations.”

The Lithium Boost Technologies integrated battery system includes lithium-ion cells, chargers, smart BMS (Battery Management System), and all the required wiring, gauge and accessories for powering low speed electric vehicles. Its core value is in the patented BMS and individual-cell chargers system that was designed to optimize and control charging/discharging in order to yield maximum stored energy and assure long life cycle of the lithium cells.

“We are delighted to have Advantage Golf Cars install our lithium battery system and run comprehensive field tests that led us to enhance our system performance and features based on their feedback and requirements, said John Wade, Chief Engineer at Lithium Boost Technologies. “At Lithium Boost we’re confident that the time has come for lithium-ion batteries to replace the existing lead-acid technology for low speed electric vehicles. However, we’re aware that changes take time and require innovation-seeking pioneers such as the team at Advantage Golf Cars,” added Sam Lev, Lithium Boost Technologies CEO. “We look forward to the day when customers can purchase golf cars with ‘lithium inside’ rather than have to go through the costly hassle of replacing the old lead-acid batteries in order to benefit from the advantages of the more advanced lithium-ion technology.”

About Lithium Boost Technologies

Based in San Diego, California, Lithium Boost Technologies Inc. provides innovative integrated Lithium-ion battery systems deploying high-quality LiFePO4 cells to power low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) and emerging applications.

Based on its proprietary technology, Lithium Boost has built a complete performance-optimized lithium-ion system with smart BMS (Battery Management System) and chargers that allow to best harness the power of lithium-ion technology.

Privately held, the company was founded in 2011 to lead the development of green energy system that can replace existing lead acid batteries in golf carts, Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV), off-road, hunting, and similar low speed vehicles, while eliminating the maintenance hassle, and providing higher performance and longer life cycle at competitive cost.

About Advantage Golf Cars

Advantage Golf Cars is dedicated to serving the needs of their customers. The company has been in business since 1991 and has ten locations throughout Florida. Advantage Golf Cars offers the largest selection of New and Pre-Owned E-Z-GO, Cushman, Bad Boy, Club Car and XRT vehicles. Advantage Golf Cars has been a Factory Authorized Dealer for over 20 years, and in that time they have earned multiple Dealer of the Year awards.

Advantage Golf Cars also rents and leases golf cars. Advantage Golf Cars has contracts in place for golf car maintenance repair, lease, or rentals with special event coordinators, production companies, convention centers, clubs, marinas and professional sport entities like the Miami Heat and the Miami Marlins.

Advantage Golf Cars has fully stocked parts departments in most locations, as well as providing mobile service within a targeted two-business day turnaround, including battery and tire service if needed. Advantage Golf Cars service centers provide full repair and rebuild capabilities.

PR Contact:
Tsipi Landen
Lithium Boost Technologies,
San Diego CA, 92130

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Arctic Cat Launches New SPEED SxS Accessory Line Developed with Robby Gordon and Todd Romano

Arctic Cat recently announced their new SPEED brand of accessories for side-by-sides. The accessory line is the result of an exclusive product development agreement the company has with Robby Gordon and Tony Romano, who have recently formed SPEED RMG. Under the agreement, Gordon and Romano are providing research and development consulting on new technologies, and assisting with the development of new Wildcat racing and high-performance accessories being launched under the SPEED brand. Among the full line of SPEED accessories initially launched are: high-back racing and suspension seats; multi-point harnesses designed for performance and rider comfort; stylish, lightweight aluminum racing wheels; durable radial tires; rigid, contoured steering wheels; high-strength suspension and shocks; and SPEED garments. Learn more:

Comment:  Accessories have become an important profit center for side-by-side manufacturers and dealers. The margins can be high and, especially in the high-end recreational segment, customers are willing to spend thousands of dollars on accessories when purchasing a new vehicle.

Club Car Offering Solar Panels

New solar panel offering from Club Car.

New solar panel offering from Club Car.

Club Car is now offering rooftop solar panels for their 48-volt Precedent golf cars, Carryall utility vehicles and Villager LSVs. Customers will now be able to capture store and use solar power with the 100-watt Solar Drive Charging Panel Assembly. Club Car reports that “As a yearly average, the system generates 29 percent of the total energy required to drive eight miles per day in West Palm Beach, Fla.” Customer results may vary depending on how they use their vehicle and where they live. The panels measure 40 inches by 26 inches by 0.2 inches thick and weigh less than 6 pounds. The panels are impact resistant,  have Teflon-like coating to protect the cells and come complete with a controller, connector to the vehicle’s power supply, all necessary hardware and installation instructions. They can be user- or dealer-installed in about 20 minutes. Learn more:

Comment:  Club Car now joins GEM and Evergreen Electric Vehicles in offering a solar option for their vehicles. Evergreen and GEM also offers a SolarDrive product. GEM offers  220 watt and 410 watt systems for $2,500 and $4,000 respectively. Pricing was not provided for the Club Car product.