One of the more interesting debates we’ve had in Managing Golf Facility Operations with PGA Professional Warren Pitman is whether to invest in gas or electric golf carts. Leasing vs. purchasing is another argument altogether, but if you lease, the company you’re leasing from is responsible for routine maintenance and repairs, there’s no capital expense, and the lease payments are tax deductible. Plus, you get to replace your fleet every 3-5 years.
Of course, if you elect to purchase, you retain some equity in the fleet and can likely start realizing a return on your investment between years three and five if you can afford to keep your carts a little longer. But I digress. So what is better? Gas or electric? For that, I went to the industry experts. See what you think:
Compare Gas vs. Electric Golf Cart Costs
By Ashley Smith
Gas Golf Cart Overview
Gas or electric? That’s one of the first choices you’ll need to make when choosing a golf cart. There are pros and cons to each – the type that’s right for you depends on your personal preference and how you plan to use the cart.
Just as the name suggests, gas golf carts are powered by gasoline, much like a car. Most hold about five or six gallons of gas and get about 30 miles to the gallon, so you’ll be able to travel about 150 miles on a full tank. Gas golf carts typically have 10 to 12 horsepower.
Cost of Gas Golf Carts
Gas golf carts range in price from about $4,000 to upwards of $15,000. On the low end of that price range, you’ll find basic models with few frills. On the high end, you’ll find luxury golf carts with custom features. Most standard models fall in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.
Gas golf carts for industrial use are slightly more expensive – usually $8,000 to $12,000. They typically have greater horsepower and extra features such as a bed in the back for hauling supplies.
Gas Golf Cart Pros
Convenience – You’ll never have to worry about charging a gas golf cart. And you’ll never have to worry about running out of power in the middle of the golf course or the middle of the woods. You can always bring a spare gas can along if you’re worried about running low on fuel.
Power – Gas golf carts typically have about three times the horsepower of electric golf carts. Thus, they perform better in rough terrain, on steep hills and in off-road conditions.
Running time – Gas golf carts can run longer on a single tank of gas than electric golf carts can run on a single charge.
Noise – Gas golf carts are much louder than electric golf carts. Because of this, some golf courses and residential communities have banned them.
Environmental impact – Because they run on gasoline and produce harmful emissions, gas golf carts are not as eco-friendly.
Operating cost – Gas golf carts cost more to operate on a day-to-day basis because they run of gasoline. Typically, the operating cost is $.12 to $.14 per mile.
Electric Golf Cart Overview
The original golf cart was electric, and the vast majority of golf carts in the market are electric. Electric golf carts are the preferred choice in golf courses and gated communities. They also have widespread commercial use, particularly in parks, zoos and airports.
Electric golf carts run on batteries and require regular charging. They can be plugged into a standard outlet or you can purchase a portable charger. Typically, an electric golf cart gets about two hours of continuous running time on a single charge. Most electric golf carts have 3 to 5 HP.
Cost of Electric Golf Carts
Electric golf carts are very similar in price to gas golf carts. In fact, many manufacturers produce identical models in both gas and electric versions.
Prices range from about $4,000 to more than $15,000. But standard models with features such as headlights, windshields and zip covers usually fall in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.
Replacement batteries are expensive – they run about $600. But if you take good care of the golf cart, the batteries should only need replacing every five or six years.
Electric Golf Cart Pros
Quieter – Electric golf carts are much quieter than gas golf carts, producing almost no sound. Because of this, some golf courses and residential communities require them.
Eco-friendly – Electric golf carts are friendlier to the environment because they do not produce harmful emissions.
Cheaper to operate – They’re less expensive to operate on a day-to-day basis because you don’t have to buy fuel. Operating an electric golf cart costs just $.02 to $.04 per mile.
Electric Golf Cart Cons
Less convenient – Electric golf carts need to be plugged in to charge, usually overnight. And if you run out of battery power in the middle of the golf course or the middle of the woods, you’re out of luck.
Not as powerful – Electric golf carts have far less horsepower than their electric cousins. They’re not ideal for rough terrain or steep inclines.
Shorter running time – A fully-charged electric golf cart won’t operate as long as a gas golf cart with a full tank.
Portions of this post also courtesy of clubandresortbusiness.com.