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Old 06-21-2009, 08:32 AM
Location: Grove City, Ohio
10,382 posts, read 12,785,070 times
Reputation: 14809


The setting.

My wife and I live in a small southern town having a population of around 6,000 people.

We have two chain grocery stores, post office, several churches, a library, city hall, three drug stores and even a small hospital with adjoining doctors offices. We even have a small Sears outlet! We are also the county seat (small county) with those offices. Basically everything we need is right here within 4 miles of our home.

I love living here, it isn't a place to live if you are rich and famous but most everyone is nice people living their lives as best and honestly as they can.

Lots of people use golf carts to get around. We're street legal I suppose though I haven't checked but since the Mayor rides his every day, and I wave to several city cops who ride theirs around when off duty, they appear to be. The rules are simple, don't be stupid, stop at stop signs, basically drive as you would if you were in a car and stay off the state highways. We have two state highways their two lane affairs and while we can cross them we are told not to ride upon them. Doesn't matter because you can get to where you are going faster by riding the parallel streets.

At night we must have headlamps, tail lights and stop lights. Most of us do.

Some get ornate. We have some that accommodate up to six people, have radios and are equipped with gear boxes where you can scoot along at 30 mph.

If you were in your car and we raced to the Piggly Wiggly two miles away I would probably beat you there.

There are some people that never leave town and a golf cart is all they need or have.

Some of us use the golf cart but have a family car we have to fill with gas every six months or so because we occasionally leave town. We *might* spend $100 a year on gasoline.

30 to 40 miles on a charge.

I figure a charge costs me around $1.

Sometimes we just ride around to ride around. See neighbors, ride up and down the street and that sort of thing so we do burn some miles on the roads. Probably 6,000 miles a year we don't limit ourselves to driving which might cost us $200 a year in electric.

We are in a sunny, southern climate.

What would it take to use solar power to recharge the batteries? I have a perfect nearly flat roof area over the car port that would be perfect for a solar cell where it would have direct sun light and hidden from view as well.

I don't know if it would be worth it but I got to admit I love the idea of driving all I want and sticking it to the power companies.

What would I be looking at in cost and size?
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Old 06-21-2009, 09:58 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,760 posts, read 56,025,612 times
Reputation: 33082
It wouldn't be cost effective, but there is another issue why it isn't a great idea. Batteries last longer when they are kept topped off in charge. Plugging in the cart after use does that. With depending on a solar panel to charge them, the cart could sit partially charged overnight, and then not get a full charge before use. Replacing batteries gets costly and isn't a green activity.

What you could do is stick a panel or two on the roof of the cart to give a boost, and lessen the need for a charge. That would be simpler, a little more cost effective (still not a break-even proposition), and stop the potential damage to the batteries. You would need a couple panels, a charge controller, a fuseable link, mounting hardware and wire, and a cut-out switch. You might spend somewhere between $1000 and $2000.
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Old 06-21-2009, 10:12 AM
Location: Grove City, Ohio
10,382 posts, read 12,785,070 times
Reputation: 14809
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
You might spend somewhere between $1000 and $2000.

To much $ but was worth asking.
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