Equipment: Lithium batteries outsell lead acid for first time

It's taken a while, but the UK market is finally coming around to the benefits of lithium over lead

Sales of lithium trolley batteries have overtaken lead acid for the first time according to the the two market-leading brands.

Both Powakaddy and Motocaddy have reported that more than 50 percent of trolley batteries sold in the UK this year were the longer-lasting lithium version – despite lead acid being over £100 cheaper.

David Catford, joint-owner at Powakaddy, believes the UK will go 100 percent lithium by 2017.

“Countries in Europe went to 100 percent lithium about six or seven years ago,” Catford said.

“In places like Germany and Sweden the make-up of golfers is a bit different – it’s bit more elitist.

“The UK has been quite slow on the up-take because the lead acid batteries had become very established. 

“Lead acid batteries have been the Achilles Heel for our industry in terms of their performance. 

“We’ve been campaigning for a long time about the benefits of lithium and I think the message is getting through. People are now aware that they are extremely long-lasting and light.

“I just think we’ve reached that tipping point now.

“In 2012 it was 10 percent Lithium, in 2013 that went up to 17 percent and in 2014 it was just under 30 percent and now in 2015 it reached 50 percent for the first time.
Golfers now understand that lithium represents far greater value for money, due to the combination of longer lifetime, reduced weight and amazing reliability" “Now we’re looking at about 60/40 in favour of lithium. 

“I think it is becoming the norm a golfer become a bit more switched on about it. And once they’ve switched over there’s no going back to lead acid.

“Our technologies have has helped get more energy into the battery which has allowed us to make them smaller but still long-lasting.

“It’s good news. It’s something we’ve focussed on for a long time now. We know there is a price difference – usually about £150 more for lithium over lead – but we can have so much more confidence in the product knowing that it is going to perform and that is better for the brand.

“Lead acid batteries are susceptible to bad weather in the same way that car batteries are. People are realising that they are problems you don’t get with lithium – word of mouth soon spreads the message around the clubhouse. Lithium-battery users will be talking to fellow golfers about the benefits so it is just becoming the norm.

Neil Parker, sales director of Motocaddy, thinks word of mouth spreading among golfers about the benefits of lithium is the key factor.

“Golfers now understand that lithium represents far greater value for money, due to the combination of longer lifetime, reduced weight and amazing reliability,” Parker said.

“Other benefits are quicker recharging, no need to remove when folding trolley down and of course the five-year warranty.

“The uptake was gradual to begin with, but the move towards 100 percent lithium is now moving very fast. Golfers love talking about their latest equipment purchase, so the ‘word of mouth’ effect has been very powerful.

“One of the biggest developments has been adding a BMS (battery management system), which protects the battery from potential damage and also helps produce optimum performance from the lithium cells. 

“Lithium batteries also far more serviceable than before, allowing a part to be replaced if necessary.

“It’s not long until lead acid batteries are a thing of the past.”

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