E-Z-GO is a reputable brand that is known for not only being the first to start producing golf cars back in 1954, but also for its reasonable prices and quality golf cars.
E-Z-GO introduced the RXV vehicle model, including the Freedom RXV, in 2008 which debuted the patented IntelliBrake™ technology, and the first electric golf car to introduce the electric AC drive motor.
Since it’s introduction, the Freedom RXV Electric has earned a reputation for quality and reliability and is considered by many to be the absolute best electric golf car on the market.
E-Z-GO did not rest on their laurels. In 2017, after years of extensive testing, they introduced the first ever Lithium battery-powered golf car which they branded the ELiTE series.
As an E-Z-GO dealer, I have some experience with E-Z-GO products, including the Freedom RXV ELiTE (Lithium). I have done some additional research on the vehicle and here is what I found. First, let’s start with the specifications:
|Overall Length||94.5 in (240 cm)|
|Overall Width||47.0 in (119 cm)|
|Overall Height (w/o roof)||45.7 in (116 cm)|
|Overall Height (w/roof)||68.5 in (174 cm)|
|Wheel Base||65.7 in (167 cm)|
|Front Wheel Track||35.5 in (90 cm)|
|Rear Wheel Track||38.0 in (97 cm)|
|Ground Clearance @ Differential||3.3 in (8 cm)|
|Power Source||56-Volt DC|
|Motor Type||56-Volt AC|
|Horsepower (KW)||4.4 hp (3.3 kW) Continuous|
|Batteries (Type)||Two, 56V Lithium ELiTE|
|Key or Pedal Start||Pedal|
|Battery Charger||Lithium Light Charger 56VDC|
|Speed Controller||235-am AC Controller|
|Drivetrain||Motor Shaft Direct Drive|
|Transaxle||Limited Slip Differential|
|Gear Selection||Forward-Neutral-Reverse Integrated|
|Rear Axle Ratio||16.99:1|
|Programmable Golf Modes||Unique Group, Unique Individual|
|Dry Weight||605 lb (274.4 kg)|
|Curb Weight||655 lb (297.1 kg)|
|Vehicle Load Capacity||800 lb (360 kg)|
|Outside Clearance Circle||19.2 ft (5.8 m)|
|Speed (Level Ground)||17.5-19.5 mph (28-31 kph)|
|Towing Capacity||3, E-Z-GO Golf Cars with Approved tow bar|
|Steering & Suspension||ELiTE|
|Steering||Double-Ended Rack and Pinion|
|Suspension||Front: Independent A-Arm Coil over Shock|
Rear: Mono-Leaf Spring with Hydraulic Shocks
|Service Brake||Induction Motor|
|Parking Brake||Automatic Electro-Magnetic|
|Tires||18 x 8.5-8 (4-ply)|
Best Things about the Freedom RXV ELiTE
Let me start off by saying that the Freedom RXV ELiTE combines the best features of the popular 48V Freedom RXV with the advanced technology of the Samsung SDI Lithium battery.
If I were in the market for a reliable low-maintenance electric golf car, this is the first vehicle I would consider for the following reasons.
AC Drive Motor
The Freedom RXV ELiTE ™ uses an Alternating Current (AC) induction motor with solid copper windings giving the vehicle 4.4 continuous horse-power (Hp). Think Tesla, which also uses an AC induction motor.
This technology was first introduced to golf cars during the 2008 RXV Electric 48V debut and has proven itself as a very efficient and reliable technology .
This efficiency results in a longer run time between charges and superior hill-climbing power.
The AC motor alone provides a 15% efficiency gain versus a DC electric motor.
The RXV ELiTE also uses a 235 Amp AC Speed controller which combines the most efficient balance between power and run-time.
The IntelliBrake technology truly sets the E-Z-GO RXV apart from all other electric-powered golf cars. But what exactly is it, and what does it do that’s so special?
The IntelliBrake incorporates two unique and revolutionary technologies.
- A motor brake
- An automatic parking brake
The AC motor brake brought a novel idea to electric golf cars. When the accelerator is released, and the golf car is coasting (or going downhill) the AC motor ceases propelling the golf car, and instead, becomes a brake and generator.
When this happens, the motor brake slows the vehicle down while also engaging regenerative braking and transferring that kinetic (motion) energy back to the batteries.
Compared to standard mechanical brakes, which waste that energy as friction and heat, the regenerative braking returns about 21% energy back to the batteries.
The automatic parking brake was revolutionary when it was introduced because of its convenience and increased safety.
When the golf car speed sensor and controller detect that the golf car has come to a stop, an automatic electric parking brake engages which prevents the golf car from inadvertently rolling.
Another nice feature about the automatic parking brake is that you don’t have to kick the brake pedal (repeatedly in some cases) in order for the parking brake to engage.
E-Z-GO holds the patent on the IntelliBrake technology, so if you want this feature on your golf car, they are the only show in town.
Samsung SDI Lithium Battery
When E-Z-GO was designing and testing the integration of lithium batteries, they tested several battery manufacturers. They chose Samsung as the sole manufacturer.
Based on my conversations with the product managers and engineers at E-Z-GO, Samsung SDI Lithium batteries were the best performing, best in quality, most consistent performance, and the most agile (flexible/responsive) to work with.
The Samsung SDI Lithium batteries are actually a modular design consisting of modules of batteries with each module rated at 56 Volts, 30 Ampere hour (Ah) capacity.
The lowest battery configuration offering is an ELiTE 2.0 which presumably means two 30 Ah modules, since the 2.0 configuration contains two 56Volt, 30 Ah Modules cabled in parallel for a combined 56 Volts, 60 Ahs.
The 3.0 configuration contains three 30 Ah modules for a combined 90 Ahs.
The 4.0, contains four 30 Ah modules for a combined 120 Ahs. The 4.0 is currently the largest configuration offered.
The ELiTE is different from the RXV 48V Electric in that it actually provides 56 Volts to the AC motor rather than 48 volts.
Maintenance (or lack thereof)
So, it’s probably no secret that I’m a fan of the RXV Electric in general.
But combining the best features of the 48V with the advanced Samsung SDI lithium battery really is an exciting combination, particularly when you take away the greatest negative with electric golf cars; battery maintenance.
The Samsung SDI lithium battery requires no maintenance; none, nada, zip, zilch.
Not only does the ELiTE NOT require any watering, it handles prolonged winter storage extremely well. What does that mean?
Well, anecdotally, if you were to fully charge your ELiTE vehicle at the beginning of winter (November), there is a real possibility that you may come back to a fully charged vehicle in April.
I know this to be true since I’ve tested it.
The only recommendation from E-Z-GO and Samsung is that you don’t let the batteries go completely to zero volts. There doesn’t seem to be a way to “boost charge” them once they reach that state. At that point the battery module may have to be replaced.
But, again I can state from experience having had to literally push vehicles with insufficient charge to drive, off the semi-truck, that even at a very low state-of-charge, once recharged they perform at peak.
An additional advantage that lithium battery technology has over Flooded Lead-Acid (FLA) is that lithium batteries handle opportunity charging very well.
What do I mean by “opportunity charge?”
Well, simply, if you have an opportunity to charge your vehicle, even for just an hour, you can. Lithium batteries don’t mind a quick charge. FLA batteries do NOT like incomplete charging cycles.
Not only can you charge them given a short opportunity, but with the World Charger that comes with the RXV ELiTE, your vehicle actually charges in a fraction of the time that a FLA battery would need.
We tested this fast charging capability ourselves. We took an ELiTE 2.0 (60 Ah) vehicle with 10% charge and completely recharged it in 3.3 hours. It also appears that you can gain approximately a round of golf (18 holes) after 1 hour of charge.
E-Z-GO and Samsung are continuously providing software updates/upgrades to increase the performance of both the controller and battery management system.
Currently the updates are only available from a certified Service Technician.
Optional Premium Seats
This next section isn’t really specific to the ELiTE vehicles, but being that I’m reviewing the Freedom RXV ELiTE vehicle I thought I’d take the opportunity to include a couple of notable options/accessories.
The optional premium seats actually feel premium. Not only that, but they actually have the “new car” smell that you’d experience with a car that has leather interior. Nice touch.
I haven’t ordered (or sold) many of the OEM premium seats, but having just received a demo vehicle with them on, I think I’m going to order more of them when the 2021 models come out in August of this year (2020).
The 2020.5 (January 2020) RXV Model introduced a new center console that is much nicer than the previous generation’s console.
The new design is not a drastic change from the previous version, but it is a single form factor (one piece) with nice rounded, smooth edges. It does introduce a better use of the space available with the addition of a couple of compartments designed to hold smart phones or small to medium-sized tablets.
The new center console design sits slightly lower than the previous version. I’m guessing this was an intentional design to bring the center of gravity lower. This is significant for the cupholders since it will bring stability to your beverages while driving.
See if you can get past (or to) the first hole tee-box without losing half of your drink while driving a Yamaha or Club Car.
When the Freedom RXV ELiTE was first released in 2017 it came with a 5 year unlimited Ah Factory Limited Warranty on the Samsung SDI battery cells and Battery Management System (BMS).
In 2020, E-Z-GO revised the warranty. As of this writing, the 2020 models now include an 8-year limited warranty on the battery cells, and a 5-year warranty on the Battery Management System (BMS), Charger, and receptacle.
There is a lifetime warranty on the frame of the vehicle, and 3-year warranty on all other components of the vehicle not specifically stated above.
The battery warranty does include an Ah limitation based on the battery module configuration. See the chart below.
|Lithium Battery Cell Warranty||2.0 (60 Ah)||3.0 (90 Ah)||4.0 (120 Ah)|
|Amp Hrs. Limit||65,000||97,500||130,000|
Worst Things about the Freedom RXV ELiTE
The E-Z-GO MSRP for a base model Freedom RXV ELiTE 2.0 starts at $9,699. A base model generally does not include any accessories, so technically if you want a Sun Canopy (Top) or windshield those are additional costs that can bump the price to over $10,000. Premium paint options will also impact the vehicle price up to $450+.
Depending on the local market, some dealerships absorb the cost of the basic options like a Sun Canopy and/or windshield and may include them at the MSRP price. Check with your local dealer.
The ELiTE Lithium battery technology adds about $1,900 over the price of an equivalent 48V Lead Acid model.
Sun Canopy (Top)
This is somewhat of a cop-out section, since I really like the RXV Sun Canopy. It is sturdy, and holds up really well to the elements. It’s offered in three basic colors; Black, Oyster (White-ish), and Stone Beige (light tan).
The reason I chose to include the Sun Canopy in the “worst” section is because it does have a mildly annoying feature. I think it could redirect the flow of rain water or heavy dew better.
It’s happened on a couple of occasions that rain water or dew will flow down the channels and out the “gutter” (good) and fall on the windshield or support struts on the front or back (or both) and splash on your feet, legs, or arm (bad).
I want to reiterate, this has only happened to me a couple of times, and I haven’t compared it to competitor’s products.
I actually don’t see anything wrong with the standard seat option. But compared to the premium seats, they fall a little flat.
At the price point of the Freedom RXV ELiTE it almost seems like the premium seats should be standard.
From our comparison with competitor’s seats, the RXV standard seats actually hold up better over time.
Conclusion – Is it worth it?
Based on my research and experience, the Freedom RXV ELiTE 2.0 is worth the upgrade from an equivalent 48V lead acid golf car. Yes, the technology costs $1,900 more which is nearly double the price of a new set of batteries.
However, the limited battery warranty for a 48V FLA for the Freedom (consumer) line is 3 years and is only applicable if the batteries are properly maintained and frankly 8 out of 10 people DO NOT TAKE CARE OF THEIR BATTERIES.
New Replacement Trojan batteries have an 18 month limited warranty (if properly maintained) and again, PEOPLE DO NOT TAKE CARE OF THEIR BATTERIES.
What is peace-of-mind worth? The 8 year warranty on the Samsung SDI “ELiTE” batteries is nearly worth the price difference alone. Add to that the fact that you do not have to do any maintenance on the ELiTE batteries.
I believe if you are in the market for a new electric golf car, the choice (for me) would be clear. The AC Motor, IntelliBrake, and Samsung SDI Lithium battery makes the Freedom RXV ELiTE worth the price.