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Is it the beginning of the end for lead-acid golf carts?

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 00:00 -- Anonymous
lithium-ion golf cart

Two UK-based golf equipment manufacturers have said that UK sales of lithium battery-powered golf carts have outsold those powered by lead-acid for the first time.

Shortly afterwards, Korean battery giant LG Chem signed a deal to supply Yamaha with the first lithium-ion batteries for the Japanese company’s golf carts.

The announcements fly in the face of a report delivered at a Batteries Council International convention in May, when Hollingsworth & Vose’s Mitchell Bregman said that globally, golf carts was still an area in which lead-acid battery sales had increased (up 6.1%, or 263,000 units), along with power sports (up 8%, or 344,000 units).

Last week, PowaKaddy and Motocaddy announced that more than 50% of their carts sold in the UK now contained lithium batteries, despite lead-acid being more than £100 cheaper.

Powadaddy co-owner David Catford said he believed the UK would go 100% lithium by 2017, in contrast with the rest of Europe, which had reached that quota six or seven years ago.

“The UK has been quite slow on the up-take because lead-acid batteries have become very established,” he said.

“But lead-acid batteries have been the Achilles heel for our industry in terms of their performance. We’ve been campaigning for a long time about the benefits of lithium and I think the message is getting through.”

Catford said the percentage of lithium-powered cart sales had increased from 10% in 2012 to 17% a year later, to just under 30% in 2014.

“Now we’re looking at about 60/40 in favour of lithium,” he said.

“It is just price-led,” said Motocaddy MD Tony Webb. “We believe the slow shift to lithium is just due to a lack of awareness rather than any resistance to change.”