An electric golf cart‘s suspension allows it to glide through the course.
The golf cart was invented by Merle Williams in 1951, and it is also referred to as a golf car because carts are not self-propelled. The electric-powered vehicle’s design was a product of Williams’s army training in World War II, during a time when gasoline was rationed. Contemporary designs haven’t changed much from when Williams started his golf cart business, the Marketeer Company. The battery-operated car is still a compact, door-less “two-seater,” with enough room to tote two people and golfing equipment.
Body and Frame
Sheet metal, aluminum and fiberglass are some of the standard materials used to create the golf cart’s body. Another more technologically advanced option is manufacturing it out of injection-molded TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin), which is a multi-layered polypropylene skin. All of these molded outer shells are usually affixed to a welded frame. The chassis or frame of the cart is normally steel, which sometimes has a special coating to protect the structure against weathering elements and erosion.
Suspension gives a car the ability to ride smoothly over bumps and cavities in the road. A system of shock absorbers, the suspension normally connects the vehicle body to its wheels. Though a golf course tends to be polished landscape, standard cart models come with both front and rear suspension. Typically, leaf or coil springs are combined with hydraulic shock absorbers. Hydraulics uses fluid to absorb the vehicle’s response to any bump in the road, quickening the springs’ ability to rebound.
The standard golf cart wheels are made of 4-ply rubber, a material that is durable and puncture resistant. The dimensions of the wheels measure around 18 inches in height and eight inches in width. Wheels are also available in 6-ply rubber with proportions as large as 23 inches and a width of up to 11 inches — but these wheels are more suitable for carts that will be riding through rougher terrain than the typical golf course. Also, these heavy-duty wheels are available with a deeper tread, instead of the shallow “saw tooth” tread available on the standard golf car.
Electric-powered cars run on a high-cycle rechargeable battery. High cycle means that the battery has the ability to be recharged many times over. Typically, a golf cart runs on six- or eight-volt batteries, which are recharged with a 48-volt charger. This power allows the car to ride at speeds of 10 to 15 mph, carrying two people with a maximum weight up to 800 pounds. Golf carts even have the ability to tow small utility vehicles, which is helpful for golf course maintenance workers.
Smooth steering on a golf cart is provided by rack-and-pinion steering. This form of steering converts the rotating motion of the steering wheel into linear wheel-base motion. It also helps to make it easier to turn the cart’s wheels. Another standard steering feature is its ability to be self-compensating. This makes it physically easier for the driver to turn the steering wheel when operating the vehicle.