This is one of the most common questions that we are asked on a regular basis and the answer will depend on a number of factors. Before considering modifying your cart in order to increase its speed, check with your local community, campground and golf course to ensure that they do not enforce any speed restrictions.
To determine the optimal amount of speed and best way to get it, ask yourself these questions:
- How do you use the cart?
- Does your terrain include large hills?
- Is your golf cart lifted with aftermarket tires?
- Do you use the cart for towing?
- Does the cart have a rear seat kit?
- Is the golf cart primarily driven on trails, the street or on turf?
- How much speed? How much torque?
When adding speed to your cart, you will sacrifice torque. The speed that is delivered to your cart is in the form of a "system." The two main systems used by golf cart are a shunt system and a series system. These two system types are not interchangeable and involve different methods of increasing speed.
Series systems are the original systems of drive controls and have been around for the longest. A Series system means exactly what you would expect. It is a series system that is only as strong as its weakest link. In a Series system, if there is a break in the system such as: a cable, solenoid, motor, controller, shifter or a battery, the cart will not operate. Think of it like that frustrating string of holiday lights.
A Series system works like this: You must have a power source (the batteries), the power source must be able to store the required amount of energy, the energy must be delivered through the correct size conductors (cables). Then the flow of energy must be controlled with a contactor (solenoid) and must include a device to vary the amount of energy required to operate the motor.The controller is the device and has multiple amperage and throttle inputs. The actual motor is the component that actually controls the speed and torque of the system.
The amount of speed and torque generated by a golf cart motor is affected by the following factors: large tires, hills, loads, and temperature. When higher speed motors are installed, the motor may not perform as advertised if you are driving on steep hills or if the rest of the system has not been upgraded. Lifted golf carts that are used for extreme offroading should not have upgraded speed motors installed, because there will be a trade off of torque and will likely overheat. Speed systems are the most effective when installed on golf carts that drive on mostly flat surfaces. A great speed motor to try for older Club Car DS carts is this one.
When upgrading a Series golf cart for speed or torque, the following components should be upgraded:
- Forward / Reverse Switch
If you are trying to eek a few miles per hour from your cart and are not looking to replace all of the components, there are upgraded motors that work with factory components and they work very well. Also, by increasing the size of your tires, you may be able to squeeze another mile per hour or so from your cart.
Shunt motor systems, such as SepEx, Regenerative Braking, IQ, PDS, DCS are totally different from a series system. In shunt motor systems, the motor and field are separate and function independently. The field circuit is reversed through the controller in a shunt system as opposed to a series system, which is reversed through a shifter or solenoid.
Shunt systems have infinite versions of motor controller combinations available. It is important to understand exactly what your current system is in order to upgrade with a compatible system. It is not always necessary to upgrade the components with a shunt system, because the speed parameters along with other control features are programmable. Adding a few miles per hour or a bit extra torque is possible through reprogramming the golf cart with a hand held computer, available at your local dealership. For a major off-road or speed upgrade, you must change the entire system to a higher torque/speed motor, controller, contactor, and power cables.
Newer Club Car Precedent and DS golf carts operating with the IQ system may be upgraded with a high speed motor magnet. These magnets can increase the cart's speed to 21 mph without any difference to the torque.
Whether your upgrades are to a shunt or series golf cart, heat is oftentimes a factor and should be monitored.