AGM batteries come factory-standard in ICON EV golf carts and EPIC Carts. Here’s why they’re the perfect choice for powering high-performance electric (EV) golf carts.
AGM, or Absorbent Glass Mat, batteries are a type of sealed, valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries that offer several advantages over traditional flooded batteries.
AGM batteries are:
- Safer to handle
- Faster recharging times
- Longer lifespans
- Exceptional performance and durability
- Superior reliability compared to other battery types
From the Military to Your EV Golf Cart
AGM technology was originally used by the US military to power aircraft and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). AGM batteries were lighter, more reliable, and lasted longer even when deep-cycled (which essentially means charged and discharged over and over). They’re enclosed (sealed) and a very fine fiberglass mat absorbs the acid, which makes the battery spill-proof.
AGM batteries can power energy-intensive accessories and can be built to size to fit into a wide range of form factors, which is why this technology found an ideal application in high-performance EV golf carts.
AGM Batteries Summarized
Here are some key characteristics of AGM batteries:
- Sealed design and versatility — AGM batteries are enclosed, meaning they do not require periodic maintenance and can be operated in any position without the risk of acid leakage. That means they’re safer to handle, and they offer greater flexibility when it comes to mounting them in a golf cart, where they can be oriented in various ways without the risk of acid leakage.
- Shock- and vibration-resistant — The absorbent glass mats are designed to hold the electrolyte in place, eliminating the need for a free-flowing liquid. This design enhances safety and allows the battery to be more resistant to vibration and shock. This feature ensures reliable performance even in environments with high levels of vibration, suitable for golf carts that are meant to be taken off-road.
- Deep-cycle capabilities — AGM batteries are known for their deep-cycle capabilities, meaning they can be repeatedly discharged and recharged without suffering significant performance degradation. AGM batteries excel in this regard, offering superior charge acceptance and cycling life. This makes them suitable for applications that require frequent start-stop cycling, such as renewable energy systems or EV golf carts.
- Low self-discharge rate — AGM batteries have a lower self-discharge rate compared to traditional lead acid batteries. This means they can hold their charge for longer periods when not in use, which is beneficial for standby or backup power.
- High power output — AGM batteries can deliver high-burst currents, making them suitable for applications that require a sudden surge of power. The higher energy output makes them suitable for demanding applications and ensuring consistent performance even under challenging conditions.
- Maintenance-free — AGM batteries don’t require adding water or electrolyte during their service life. However, it’s important to note that regular charging and proper storage are still necessary to maintain their performance and longevity.
- Wide range of applications — AGM batteries find applications in various industries in addition to EV golf carts, including automotive, marine, recreational vehicles, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, telecommunications, renewable energy systems, and more.
Overall, AGM batteries offer several advantages, such as maintenance-free operation, deep-cycle capabilities, and high power output. These features make them a popular choice for numerous applications where reliability, durability, and safety are important factors.
AGM Battery Care and Maintenance Tips
While AGM batteries are known for their maintenance-free operation, there are still a few care and maintenance tips that can help extend their lifespan and optimize performance.
- Charge your battery regularly — AGM batteries perform best when they are regularly charged. Avoid letting your battery sit in a discharged state for extended periods of time, as this can lead to sulfation and reduced battery life. If you don’t use your golf cart regularly, consider investing in a battery maintainer or trickle charger to keep your battery fully charged.
- Avoid overcharging — While AGM batteries can handle higher charge rates compared to flooded batteries, it’s still important to avoid overcharging. Overcharging can lead to excessive heat generation and can potentially shorten the battery’s lifespan. Use a charger specifically designed for AGM batteries and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for charging.
- Keep terminals clean and corrosion-free — Regularly inspect the battery terminals for any signs of corrosion. If you notice buildup, clean the terminals using a mixture of baking soda and water or a dedicated battery terminal cleaner. Be sure to disconnect the battery cables before cleaning, and reconnect them securely afterward.
- Store your battery properly — If you plan on storing your golf cart for an extended period of time, it’s important to store the battery properly. Clean the battery terminals, charge the battery to approximately 70%, and store it in a cool, dry place. Periodically check the battery’s charge level during storage and recharge as needed.
- Avoid deep discharges — While AGM batteries are designed to handle deep discharges, it’s still recommended to avoid fully discharging the battery whenever possible. Deep discharges can accelerate plate deterioration and reduce the battery’s lifespan. If you notice a significant drop in voltage, it’s best to recharge the battery as soon as possible.
By following these care and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your AGM battery remains in optimal condition, providing reliable power to your golf cart for years to come.
Advantages of AGM Batteries
For the past 160 years, the lead-acid battery has remained relatively unchanged as the primary power source for starting cars. French physicist Gaston Planté, the inventor of the lead-acid battery in 1859, would recognize his creation in almost 92.4% of the US automotive market today. While there have been minor tweaks and sealed variations over the years, the fundamental technology of thin lead plates, sulfuric acid, and water has endured. However, as car technology has evolved rapidly, the lead-acid battery has struggled to meet the increasing power demands of modern vehicles.
The advancements in car features and technology over the years have been significant. Touchscreens, artificial intelligence-assisted driving, fuel-efficient engines, autonomous driving capabilities, and a wide range of electronic amenities have become standard in many vehicles. These innovations have far exceeded the capabilities of traditional lead-acid batteries, which are primarily designed for short bursts of high-power output and are not well-suited for long-term power supply to electronics.
This is where the AGM battery comes into play. AGM batteries have been developed to address the limitations of standard lead acid batteries. They are designed to deliver powerful bursts of starting amps while also providing sustained power for electronics over an extended period.
As stated above, AGM batteries have several advantages over flooded lead-acid batteries. They tend to last longer, have faster recharging capabilities, feature more durable construction, are safer to handle, and have special valves that protect the battery’s lifespan.
The glass mats that act as cushions for the ultra-thin lead plates. These mats can be compressed like sponges, allowing manufacturers to fit more lead into the battery, resulting in increased power output. The tightly packed construction of AGM batteries makes them more resistant to vibration and shaking. They’re also spill-proof, making transportation regulations more relaxed compared to flooded batteries.
The primary difference between AGM batteries and traditional lead-acid batteries lies in their internal design and the inclusion of valves to prevent gas loss. AGM batteries feature a valve that prevents the escape of evaporated water from the battery case, ensuring that the electrolyte remains stable and the battery maintains its optimal performance over time. Additionally, the glass mats in AGM batteries absorb the electrolyte, enabling better power delivery and faster recharging.
AGM batteries were initially developed in the late 1970s for backup power applications and have since found use in various industries, including automotive, military, aircraft, and power banks. While AGMs currently represent a smaller portion of the automotive battery market, their adoption is gradually increasing, particularly in vehicles with advanced technology features like hybrid electric vehicles, start-stop systems, and always-on electronics. These vehicles require batteries that can handle the power demands even when the engine is off.
As consumer expectations continue to evolve and new technologies emerge, the demand for advanced batteries like AGMs is expected to grow. The automotive industry is constantly striving for safety, reliability, and comfort enhancements, and battery technology plays a crucial role in meeting these demands. While the lead-acid battery has served as a reliable power source for more than a century, the advent of AGM batteries represents a significant step toward meeting the power needs of modern vehicles and ensuring a more efficient and reliable driving experience.