How fast can a golf cart go? What does the law say about driving one on the road?
We receive many questions like this from golf enthusiasts!
In this article, we’ll explore:
- All the factors that go into the speed of a golf cart, including its age, battery life, and how much weight it is carrying
- How to make yours go faster without breaking the law in the process
- A list of popular golf carts and their features when it comes to speed.
Let’s get into it!
The Speed of Golf Carts
Golf carts with special modifications can reach up to 30 MPH (48.3 KMH). In fact, some states allow golf carts to be driven on certain roads with low-speed limits as they can travel at a decent speed.
With so many different brands, modifications, batteries (see best place to buy golf cart batteries), designs, and golf cart weights, it can be difficult to estimate their maximum speed. Sometimes it is better to look at examples of different brands to see just how fast certain golf carts can go.
Factors That Determine the Speed of Golf Carts
One factor that affects the speed of the golf cart is whether it is electrically powered or gas-powered.
We will discuss a common misconception on this point soon; however, it is important to note that electric cart motors tend to slow down as the charge runs low, whereas this is not as true of a motor running low on gas.
Tire size is another contributing factor. This comes down to a simple geometric fact: the outside of a small rotating circle moves less than the edge of a large rotating circle.
Larger tires spinning at the same speed will cover more ground than smaller tires.
A third factor is the pre-programmed speed limit of the cart. Some manufacturers program a speed limit into the engine’s controller to prevent it from going faster than intended.
When the speed limit is reached, the power output of the motor is decreased.
There are modifications available for some carts that can change or sidestep this programmed speed limit altogether.
In electric carts specifically, the battery voltage can contribute to overall speed, with higher voltages being associated with higher speeds.
The battery voltage of the cart depends not only on the voltage of each battery but how many batteries there are.
For example, a cart with six 8-volt batteries will have a battery voltage of 48, just like a cart with four 12-volt batteries.
Finally, the weight carried by the motor will of course affect the speed. It isn’t only about carrying lighter loads on the cart, but also the weight of the cart’s body and parts!
Difference Between Gas-Powered and Electric Golf Carts in Terms of Speed
It is often said that gas-powered golf carts are faster than electric golf carts, but as the global push toward electric vehicles has fueled technological advancement, this has become less true. It now isn’t uncommon for electric golf carts to outrun gas-powered carts.
When it comes to uphill driving, gas-powered carts still tend to outshine electric carts as gas-powered motors have more power.
However, electric carts are making good progress on this front too, as higher voltage motors are gradually becoming the norm – giving the cart increased torque.
Here Are 15 Real-world Golf Cart Models and Their Top Speeds
|Brand||Top Speed (mph)||Electric/Gas||Battery Voltage||Terrain||Price (USD)|
|Club Car Onward 2||19 MPH||Electric||48||Off road only, mainly flat||$10,505|
|Club Car Onward Lifted 6 Passenger||18 MPH||Electric||48||Off road only, mainly flat||$15,553|
|EZGO Liberty||19.5 MPH||Electric||56.7||Street legal, mainly flat||$15,899|
|EZGO Valor||19 MPH||Electric or Gas||48||Off road only, all terrain||$8649|
|Star Sirius 2||19 MPH||Electric||48||Street legal, mainly flat||$11,418|
|Star Sirius 2 (LSV)||25 MPH||Electric||48||Street legal, mainly flat||$11,418|
|Yamaha Drive 2 PTV||19 MPH||Electric||48||Off road only, mainly flat||$13,395|
|Yamaha Umax One||19.5 MPH||Gas||N/A||Off road only, all terrain||$10,677|
|Garia Via 2-Seater||25 MPH||Electric||48||Street legal, mainly flat||$20,695.64|
|EZGO Express S4||19 MPH||Electric or Gas||56||Off road only, all terrain||$12,609|
|Club Car Tempo Lithium-Ion||15 MPH||Electric||48||Off road only, mainly flat||$7,850|
|Yamaha G29-A DR2 Quietech||24 MPH||Gas||N/A||Off road only, all terrain||$11,995|
|Bintelli 4-Seater Lifted||25 MPH||Electric||48||All terrain, mainly flat||$12,550|
|Massimo Buck 250||25 MPH||Electric||48||Off road only, mainly flat||$12,095|
|Evolution D5 Street Legal||25 MPH||Electric||48||All terrain, mainly flat||$12,495|
As you can see, with the exception of one, all of the fastest carts are electric, and the fastest street-legal carts are both electric.
Note that the carts listed as ‘off-road only’ can all be made street-legal with some modifications!
How To Make Your Golf Cart Faster
Now that you know how fast most golf carts can go, you may want to add more speed to your golf cart if possible. There are many ways to do this, though some may require you to work with a professional mechanic to get it done right.
- Better Tires: So often, the limitation of golf cart speed has to do with the tires that it rides on. This is one of the least expensive yet noticeable ways to improve the speed of your golf cart. With larger tires, you can cover more ground in less time, speeding up your golf cart and allowing it to traverse through obstacles quickly.
- Lightweight Load: One of the fastest ways to speed up your golf cart is to remove any extra weight from your cart that you don’t need. Your golf cart may move faster if you ride alone with no extra objects. So, clean it out first if you want to truly test how fast your cart can go.
- Replace the Motor: Sometimes, the best way to increase the speed of your golf cart is to replace the motor. This will give the golf cart more power to not only go faster but more easily carry weight. If you replace the motor, know how much power it will need to run. You may need to replace the battery also to handle the new motor.
- Higher-Powered Battery: Whether you choose to replace the motor or just want more speed, replacing the battery can help you get the most out of your golf cart. You should aim for a higher voltage than your previous battery. This allows you to increase the output of the motor and go faster. Check your owner’s manual for your cart’s voltage limitations before purchasing a new battery.