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Beginners Guide To Golf Cart Motors

Choose a Motor Tool

The "Choose a Motor Tool" is a simple web tool created by D&D Motor Systems to help customers choose the correct golf cart motor for their application. Using our 20+ years of experience in the motor industry, the "Choose a Motor Tool" can pick the right golf cart motor for any customer in less than 2 minutes. Click the button below to use the Choose a Motor Tool and find the best golf cart motor for your cart. Continue reading if you want to learn the basics about golf cart motors.

Choose a Motor Tool


Most golf carts run on a 36 volt or 48 volt system (Is my golf cart 36V or 48V?). Voltage affects the total power your cart can provide. Power is converted to torque (towing capacity) and speed (max speed). If you are not looking for max performance, 36 volt systems can provide good performance at a more affordable price. If you are looking for max performance, we reccomend 48V. As for motors, most D&D golf cart motors can run at 36 volts and 48 volts.

Torque Vs Speed

D&D Motor Systems offers 3 kinds of golf cart motors: 1) High Speed 2) High Torque 3) Speed and Torque. If you use your cart does any of the following actions, or if your cart has any of the following upgrades, do not use a High Speed motor.

  1. Drive in a hilly environment
  2. Tow trailers/boats or have a utility bed
  3. Carry 3+ passengers
  4. Cart has a lift kit
  5. Cart has large tires

Even if your cart does not perform these actions often, you can permanently damage a High Speed motor by pushing the motor too hard one time. If you are looking for a higher max speed, a High Speed motor is the way to go. If you want a versatile motor that can do a bit of everything or are unsure which motor you need, option 3 (Speed and Torque motor) is the best choice.


Golf Cart Controllers send current (amps) from your batteries to your motor. A controller can be thought of as a limiter. The controller determines/limits your golf cart performance. If you put the biggest and best motor in your golf cart, an undersized controller (most stock controllers are undersized) will bottleneck your cart and limit performance.

D&D Motors are rated to run up to 500 amps (at short duty cycle), and stock controllers typically have a limit of 250-300 amps. Without having at least a 400 amp controller, it will be hard to get the full performance a D&D motor offers. Also, you can easiily burn up your stock controller because they aren't strong enough to handle a more powerful motor. If your cart requires a Speed and Torque or High Torque motor, we always recommend a controller upgrade.


Batteries are the power source for your cart and are a very important component for your golf cart. When buying batteries, you need to consider three important things.

1) Voltage

Voltage is simple. If you have a 36 or 48 volt system, you need batteries that match your cart's voltage. D&D motors and controllers both support 36 and 48 volts, so it's up to the customer to consider performance and cost when choosing batteries.

2) Max Discharge

Max discharge is the max amps the battery pack can output at any given time. As mentioned above, D&D motors can handle up to 500 amps. This means you need to buy batteries that with a max discharge of 500 amps to match our motor.

3) Battery Type

Battery Type is the chemistry of your battery. For golf carts, the majority of carts use lead-acid or lithium batteries. We reccomend lead-acid batteries over lithium for a few reasons. Firstly, Lead-Acid is signifcantly cheaper than Lithium ($1500 vs $3000). Second, we have found that Lead-Acid performs just as well as Lithium batteries. Though Lithium batteries are half the weight of Lead-Acid and have a slightly longer lifespan than Lead-Acid batteries, we don't feel like these benefits outweight the benefits of Lead-Acid.

For the above reasons, we recommend customers use Trojan T-785 (8 volt batteries) and Trojan T-105 (6 volt batteries) golf cart batteries.

Advantages of Upgrading to 48V

Upgrading a 36 volt golf cart to 48 volts will increase performance, but will requires a few upgrades. If you have a stock golf cart with no upgrades, you will need a new solenoid, batteries, and a controller. After this upgrade, your cart will have increased speed, increased torque, and longer battery life. You will see at least a 40% increase to your carts performance when upgrading from 36 to 48 volts. While this is not for everyone, it is an option for customers looking to achieve max performance on their golf cart.

Specialty Motors

Above we outlined basic information about golf cart motors, but what about motors for specialty applications? If you want a D&D engineer to size a custom motor for you, fill out our Drive Motor Request For Quote form or our Pump Motor Request For Quote.

For more information about DC motors, we have an "Advanced Guide to DC Motors" coming soon.