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2011/2/1 Electric golf cart, metal / glass / rubber / plastic, made by E-Z-Go, Augusta, Georgia, United States of America, 1992-1993, used by the University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia, 1993-1997. Click to enlarge.

Electric golf cart used in vanadium battery trials

This golf cart was designed to transport people and golf clubs around golf courses, but instead it was employed to test the use in electric vehicles of the vanadium redox flow battery. This battery was developed at the University of New South Wales by Professor Maria Skyllas-Kazacos and co-workers. The trials were successful, proving the concept and possibly leading to future widespread use of vanadium batteries in vehicles, backed up by new facilities at service stations.

This new infrastructure would store, recharge and pump vanadium solutions for re-use in vehicles. Charging of spent solutions could be carried out at any time and would ideally use renewable energy sources. Spent solutions could be pumped from a vehicle's tanks and recharged solutions pumped into them in a time comparable to that taken to fill a conventional vehicle's tank with fuel.

The trials were carried out between 1993 and 1997. The cart's lead-acid batteries were removed from under the seats and replaced by two plastic tanks to hold solutions of vanadium sulphate. A vanadium battery (Powerhouse Museum object 98/160/1) was installed behind the seats, and an inverter was placed in the glove compartment. The inverter changed DC electricity from the battery into AC to power the pumps that moved the solutions past the battery's membranes, where electrons flowed from one solution to the other and were then collected at electrodes.

The cart ran along flat and steep roads within the University campus and on a grassed area. Its range (distance travelled between recharging operations) was 35 km. These tests showed that vanadium batteries can perform well in vehicles without being affected by vibration. Since these tests were run, the researchers have developed an improved battery that runs on vanadium bromide solutions. Critically, these solutions have higher energy density than the vanadium sulphate solutions used in the original battery, which means the vanadium bromide battery could give drivers the convenience of a higher range and make investment in the required infrastructure commercially viable.

The golf cart was made by E-Z-Go, one of the first companies to mass produce battery-powered vehicles for off-road use. It is representative of the vehicles made by this very successful US company. It also represents the desire by many golfers, and the need on the part of some, to be transported around a course rather than to walk, the desire to turn a leisurely game into one completed more rapidly, and the value put on the lack of emissions from a battery-powered vehicle. This lack of emissions at the point of use shifts pollution to power stations, but this will become less of an issue as we reduce our dependence on burning fossil fuels to generate electricity.

Debbie Rudder, Curator, 2010

Skyllas-Kazacos M. et al, 'Golf cart project final report'
Rudder D., 'The vanadium battery - a technical development saga'


Object No.


Object Statement

Electric golf cart, metal / glass / rubber / plastic, made by E-Z-Go, Augusta, Georgia, United States of America, 1992-1993, used by the University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia, 1993-1997

Physical Description

Electric golf cart, metal / glass / rubber / plastic, made by E-Z-Go, Augusta, Georgia, United States of America, 1992-1993, used by the University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia, 1993-1997

Four-wheeled two-passenger vehicle. The golf cart has a 36 volt DC electric motor, flat canopy, space under the seats designed for storing lead-acid batteries, dummy vanadium battery mounted behind the seat, and no doors. The space under the seat is fitted out with plastic tanks for storing solutions of vanadium in different states of charge; during trials, these solutions were pumped through the battery to produce electricity to power the motor. The bodywork is painted red and black, the single seat cushion and dual backrests are covered in cream vinyl, the canopy is white, and the maker's name E-Z-GO is on a plate at the front.


Maker's name, printed on plate at the front of vehicle, 'E-Z-GO'.



1700 mm


1070 mm


260 kg



The cart was made by E-Z-Go at Augusta, Georgia, United States of America in 1992-1993.

The company was founded in Augusta in 1954 by brothers Beverly and Billy Dolan to make golf carts. In 1960 it became part of the multinational Textron group, which also manufactures Bell Helicopters, Cessna aircraft and many other products. E-Z-Go makes hundreds of thousands of utility vehicles each year, including large numbers of golf carts.



The cart was lent to the University of NSW by E-Z-Go via its local agent, Deep Down Distributors, in 1993. The loan was later converted to a gift.

The cart was used in trials of the vanadium redox flow battery at the university between 1993 and 1997. The range of the vehicle in these tests was around 50 km.

The researchers calculated that a 30 cell stack with an active area of 500 square centimetres was needed. Due to budget limitations, the 1,500 square centimetre moulds manufactured for the team's solar house battery project in Thailand were re-used instead, so the battery was about 50% longer and three times the cross sectional area needed to power the cart.

The team built the battery and tested it in the laboratory before wiring it to the cart's motor. The cart moved and accelerated well in this test. The battery was then fitted to the cart, and 58 litre solutions of vanadium (in different states of charge) in sulphuric acid were placed in the tanks.

The cart was then driven out of the laboratory and around the roads within the University, including some steep sections. It was also tested on a large grassed area.

After the battery was donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 1998 (see 98/160/1), a dummy battery was installed in its place.


Credit Line

Gift of the University of New South Wales, 2011

Acquisition Date

5 January 2011

Cite this Object


Electric golf cart used in vanadium battery trials 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 November 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Electric golf cart used in vanadium battery trials |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 November 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.