Clinches Strategic Partnership with TSV to Supply Lithium-ion Battery for E-Z-GO, a Global Golf Car Brand
Golf Cart, a Necessary Transportation System in Golf Courses
Golf cart is a transportation system not seen in sports other than golf. This article looks at the reason that golf carts are used for the sport.
Golf is a competitive sport in which players hit a ball with a club from hole 1 to hole 18 to put the ball into the hole cups, while trying to keep the number of strokes at a minimum. At a glance, golf seems to be a static sport, but to cover eighteen holes in a round, players must move around six kilometers in a time span of three to four hours, which requires quite a lot of energy. In addition, because the players must carry heavy golf clubs in a bag, they usually receive help from caddies as well. After the invention of automobile, golf carts are introduced as sport.
Eco-Friendly Golf Carts that Complete Eco-Friendly Golf Courses
- The Evolution of Golf Cart Power Source: Gasoline → Lead Storage Battery → Lithium Ion Battery
From man-powered handcart, golf cart has evolved into automotive forms, using various chemical fuel such as gasoline and diesel. Such fuel sources, however, created noise and exhaust smoke, which took away from the beauty of golf, which is that it is a sport played in the nature.
After fossil fuel-powered engines, golf carts began using lead storage batteries. Like electric vehicles, golf carts powered by lead storage batteries consist of motor and electric power source only, and not internal-combustion engine. This gave a big advantage because noise and exhaust smoke were not a problem anymore. However, because lead storage battery carts had lower power output than their predecessors, it was difficult for them to climb golf courses with steep slopes. In addition, maintenance was an issue, because lead storage batteries are prone to oxidization of sulfuric acid, which requires regular injection of distilled water. Corrosion, too, was considered to be an inconvenience that plagued this form of golf cart battery.
In the next stage of golf cart battery evolution, lithium ion battery was developed. The new type of battery now had high power output, and did not require frequent maintenance work. Lithium ion battery only has the weight one fifth of lead storage battery, which serves the most important function in the golf course: not damaging the grass. In addition, the new battery makes it easier to steer handles in golf carts, and has a power output as high as gasoline engines, which allows it to easily climb steeper slopes. Furthermore, winter weather is not a problem for lithium ion battery because its low-temperature output and charge efficiency is excellent, and another advantage of the battery is that it has twice the life cycle of lead storage battery even without special maintenance other than regular charging.
Golf Cart Becomes a New Market for Lithium Ion Batteries
There are about 34,000 golf courses around the world, with approximately 1.1 million golf carts serving golfers. Among this massive fleet of golf carts, thirty-five percent uses fossil fuel engines, and sixty-five percent is powered by lead storage batteries. Lithium ion battery golf carts only take up around one percent of the entire market at this initial point, but thanks to the various advantages explained in the previous section, it is expected that the share of golf carts powered by this advanced battery will grow explosively to fourteen percent this year.
One golf cart requires 350 to 600 cylindrical battery cells, and if the transition to lithium ion battery of all golf carts in the world, the market would grow into a place where a staggering number of forty billion cells of batteries are sold. Looking at this promising picture of growth, the lithium ion battery industry and golf cart industry are cooperating to launch lithium ion golf carts in the market.
Lithium Ion Battery Golf Cart, the Highlight of 2017 PGA Show
In 2017 PGA Merchandise Show, the largest golfing equipment commercial fair hosted in Orlando, USA, a global golf cart market leader E-Z-GO introduced ELiTE, a new brand that uses lithium ion battery made by Samsung SDI. This new launch was such the first such move by a major golf cart company.
▼ Link to Introductory Video
At E-Z-GO booth, where ELiTE with lithium ion battery was displayed, there were hordes of visitors popped in during the PGA Show, making the opportunity a biggest success in the last six to seven years. American golf courses use lithium ion battery golf carts less than Korean ones do, and this makes the industry in the US highly interested in lithium ion battery golf cart.
Samsung SDI, Expanding the Market with World’s Best Cylindrical Battery Technology
Lithium ion batteries used in golf carts usually take cylindrical forms. Samsung SDI is an unrivalled leader in the cylindrical battery market, with products that have high output and longer lifespan. In addition to laptop computers, the company is expanding its market to power tools, electric bicycles, and electric vehicles.
In recent years, Samsung SDI advanced into the golf cart industry by developing a battery management system (BMS) which manages battery efficiency, charge status, and battery life, that is optimized for golf carts. The technology was widely acknowledged in the industry, and the company began its effort to expand the market in earnest. As a start, collaboration with Korea’s leading golf card companies DY and Kukje Intertrade was made, and Samsung SDI is increasing its supply of lithium ion cell batteries, and this year, it began supplying battery cell to its first global brand, E-Z-GO.
Using the supply to E-Z-GO as a stepping stone, Samsung SDI plans to continue developing lithium ion batteries with unrivalled output and lifespan, as well as battery solutions to find new markets and lead the industry.