I do not like the smell of my golf cart!
Ever wonder why the smell of exhaust from a gasoline-powered golf cart is unpleasant and even noxious? Well, what you’re smelling is the aftermath of explosions that occur when you compress gasoline with air and ignite it with a spark plug. The consequences are a mixture of harmful pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter (soot and metals less than one-tenth the diameter of a human hair that can penetrate deep into the lungs). None of these are beneficial for the environment, and none are healthful for humans. The smell of exhaust will often cause a person to grimace, curl their nose, and desire to quickly find fresher air because of the caustic odor.
In 1975, the Environmental Protection Agency mandated gasoline-powered automobiles must be equipped with an emissions control device (a catalytic converter)—which converts the toxic exhaust gasses into less harmful pollutants. However, gasoline-powered golf carts are not required to include a means to clean the exhaust, and most do not include an effective muffler to reduce the noise.
So, what you’re smelling and hearing is the toxic output of technology that has not been improved since it was invented more than 150 years ago.
Our golf carts are not toxic to humans, and are much healthier for the environment.
Why do I often smell exhaust from my golf cart?
It is a challenging proposition for designers of gasoline-powered golf carts to protect occupants from the caustic smell of engine exhaust. While it is not so difficult when the golf cart is configured for its intended use: on a golf course (where the golf cart is completely “open” with only 4 posts supporting a roof and a windshield); it is much more difficult when you add an enclosure and restrict cab airflow to protect occupants from rain and cold wind.
The reason for this challenge…the exhaust accumulates directly behind the golf cart due to a phenomenon called slipstream. A slipstream is a volume (or pocket) of air that develops directly behind a moving vehicle; is characterized by reduced air pressure and forward suction; and is used in racing (known as slipstreaming or drafting).
This pocket of air:
- Moves at a velocity that is comparable to the speed of the vehicle (such as a golf cart).
- Is where engine exhaust accumulates.
- Is created as the golf cart speeds up, and dissipates as the golf cart slows down.
As such, the placement of the exhaust pipe of a gasoline-powered golf cart is very important. To improve the safety of occupants, the design objective is to direct the exhaust outside the cart’s slipstream. It is usually routed to either side (in front of a rear tire) and not the rear of the cart. Extending the exhaust pipe out the rear will cause the exhaust to circulate directly into the slipstream. Whereas, venting on either side can somewhat reduce the amount of exhaust that gets caught in the slipstream.
Unfortunately, because of slipstreaming and unfiltered pollutants, there are multiple occasions when passengers in a gasoline-powered golf cart will smell exhaust fumes. For example, exhaust is often smelled when you slow down or stop, back up, make a U-turn, encounter winds that push the exhaust into the cab, and when you drive the cart into a garage. In addition, rear-facing passengers in 4-seat gas carts are more likely to smell exhaust because they are closer to the pocket of air generated by the slipstream. And last (but not least)…we have all experienced the overbearing smell of exhaust fumes in the tunnels. This smell can be so toxic some will even attempt to hold their breath as they travel from one end to the other.
Our golf carts do not emit exhaust and do not smell.
Gasoline…There’s a lot to learn!
Gasoline is made from crude oil; contains about 150 different chemicals (including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene); and has a very strong and distinctive odor. The key property of gasoline—its ability to quickly turn from a liquid into a vapor—makes it highly efficient for use in generating power inside a combustible engine. However, this same property creates safety risks when dispensing and storing gasoline. The key concern is not the liquid: it’s the vapors.
Gasoline vapors are emitted when you dispense gasoline into the golf cart tank. If you look closely you can see gasoline vapors rise from the gas tank filler hole as you fill up the tank. This is why there are multiple warnings on gas pumps (which are designed to eliminate possibilities of an ignition source). But what is more of a concern, many persons will store gasoline in their garage as a backup source in case they run out of fuel. Gas cans will often emit the odor (fumes) of gasoline. In addition, they will build up pressure during the heat of the Florida summer. While the chance of an explosion is low, the risk warrants deliberate and careful handling when opening the gas can and filling a gas cart.
As such, when you smell gasoline, your nose has encountered the volatile vapors as it evaporates into the air. If you smell gasoline in your garage you should consider it as a warning sign to seek an improved means of storage (i.e. an Underwriters Laboratories or OSHA approved safety can), or remove it completely. In addition, gasoline vapors can cause a variety of negative physiological responses, such as nose and throat irritation, dizziness, and much more.
Our golf carts use safe, clean, and non-volatile electricity for power.
ParCar electric golf carts do not smell (and are very quiet) because they use a highly-efficient source for power: Electricity.
Unlike Fred and Barney who used energy stored in their legs and feet to get to their destination…a golf cart will not move forward, will not carry passengers, and (most important for some) will not transport golf clubs unless an energy conversion process occurs from one form of energy into mechanical energy. There are two types of energy used for this conversion process: gasoline and electricity.
Gas carts convert gasoline into mechanical energy. A small amount of gasoline is mixed with air, compressed, and then ignited (inside the cylinder of a combustible engine). As the explosion occurs, the chemical energy of gasoline is converted into hot expanding gases—which creates mechanical energy as the gases push on a piston inside the engine. This mechanical energy is transferred to the wheels and the golf cart moves forward. The caustic residue of the explosion (or exhaust) is what smells (and is dangerous to inhale). Plus, the mind-numbing noise you hear is due to the explosive energy conversion process occurring under your seat as you drive your golf cart.
The conversion process for electric golf carts occurs as electricity (stored in batteries) is transitioned into mechanical energy via an electric motor. This conversion process does not create a residue (exhaust), does not emit a smell, is environmentally responsible, and does not create noise.
In summary, our golf carts do not smell (and are extremely quiet) because we use a clean, safe, and an environmentally responsible means to convert electricity into mechanical energy via an electric motor.