About two years ago we posted a story to our Social Media page that touched on the available locations for charging electric vehicles and specifically golf carts in downtown Dunedin. This story was later ported over to our new web site but otherwise remained unchanged.
Yesterday, a reader reached out and informed us that the information has since changed. In our original story we noted that two public charge stations, sponsored by the charger network company ChargePoint™, were available in the parking lot of the Best Western Yacht Harbor Inn across from the marina. These chargers are located by the pool and had been available to the public since before 2013. Around the time that story was written a brand new EV charge station had been installed at the Public library, however our story inaccurately stated that the station did not support standard 110 VAC charging, and only had the Level-2 EV charge plugs available.
Ms. Natalie Henley is the City of Dunedin’s new Sustainability Coordinator. Reading this story, she apparently did some investigation and learned that this situation had changed considerably. Ms. Henley reached out to the manager at the Best Western and learned that the pay-per-use chargers are no longer available to the public and reserved for hotel guests only. ChargePoint™ has since removed them from their in-app locator.
On the other hand, a special section exists in the library parking lot reserved specifically for golf cart charging. Here you will find a basic outdoor 110 VAC electrical outlet suitable for powering a typical golf cart charger. The caveat is that you must have your charger with you or own a golf cart with a charger system built-in. Built-in chargers are becoming more common in much newer carts but can also be installed as an after-market modification to just about any golf cart.
Use of the Golf Cart charging facility at the public library is FREE.
By the numbers…
For those who might be concerned at how costs may affect the city budget, you’ll be excited to know that golf cart charging is an incredibly efficient use of energy. At the time of this writing, the Duke Energy electricity rate is approximately 11.5 cents per kilowatt-hour 1. The average 110 VAC golf cart charger draws between 800 to 1100 watts. So, the expense of this public outlet for golf carts is between 9.2 and 12.6 cents per hour of use.
The average 48-volt golf cart (with six 8-volt batteries) has a total energy capacity of 7.92 kilowatts. The typical golf cart driver will seldom roll up with a completely drained battery pack. A typical golf cart with a battery pack at 50% SOC, or State-of-Charge, will take about 3 to 4 hours to fully recharge, or about 3.9 kilowatts of power. A grand total of approximately 49 cents.
As was mentioned, some of the newer golf carts are being delivered with factory-installed on-board chargers. This is mostly because of the advances in resonant magnetics and high frequency switching technology. Modern chargers no longer have loud, heavy transformers. They are often less than half the size and weigh almost 2/3’s less. Most can even provide up to 1200 watts of charging power for a faster charge rate. Many folks however still own the workhorses of the industry which are the older linear regulated chargers typically produced by Lester Electrical and sometimes re-branded for the golf cart manufacturers. These units are reliable equipment, if not quite heavy and bulky.
Though several manufacturers now offer electronic high-frequency switching chargers, the Canadian-based company Delta-Q is the market leader in this field. They are the preferred OEM charger manufacturer for nearly all of the electric industrial machines like commercial floor cleaners, electric fork lifts, and electric trams. Their prowess was not lost on the golf cart industry; Delta-Q is the preferred private label manufacturer for many Club Car and EZ-GO models. Delta-Q produces on-board and out-board chargers that range from a svelte 7 x 9 inches at 900 watts to their high-end QuiQ-1500 which is just 10 x 10 inches and can provide up to 1500 watts of power. Lower-cost independent brands of electronic chargers can be obtained for between $200 and $300. Higher quality models, like the Delta-Q or Lester-Summit, typically retail from between $350 and $450.
Modifying your golf cart to have an on-board charger is a reasonably effortless conversion. The modification is often little more than following the manufacturer’s directions to hard-wire the charger to your battery pack, then removing the golf cart’s DC charger plug and replacing it with a water-resistant IPC-66 or IPC-67 rated 110 plug assembly.
For a handy person the job is rather easy, the directions very straight forward and the wiring often entails fewer than 8 wires. If that is not you, nearly all golf cart shops can do the conversion for you for a reasonable fee, some might even do it for free if you purchase the charger through them. Be on guard for quality. Ask questions about the brand and the warranty. Do some research online. Be wary of made-in-china knock offs. There are few things worse in the golf cart world than being stuck with dead batteries AND a dead charger, and no compatible plug to use someone else’s old-style charger. If you consider the high exposure, high vibration environment, then getting a top-quality charger should be an easy decision.
If your budget is more haggard, it is perfectly okay to carry your old workhorse charger in the back cubby on most carts. Protect it from weather exposure and it will do its typical good job for you, just that it may take a little extra space and add a little to your overall curb weight. Theft is seldom a concern, but if it is for you a simple cable lock through the handle and around your rear seat stanchions should do the trick.
Golf Cart charging aside, you should take a moment to reach out and say hello to our city’s new Sustainability Program Coordinator, Natalie Henley. I’m sure energy efficient vehicles and charging are just a few of the things on her list of possibilities for our city’s evolution, now nearly 20 years into the 21stcentury.