Electric cars are the future. It is therefore inevitable that the technology used in these cars will make their way into motorsport, all the way from Formula 1 (with Formula E) down to karting. This means it’s time to consider how fast these electric go-karts can go.
Electric go-karts have a top speed of 50 MPH, producing around 20 horsepower. They still handle like normal karts, the only difference being the lack of any engine noise. Electric karts are still fast and fun to drive, but their popularity is still in the early stages.
We’re now seeing more development in the electric kart industry. Huge manufacturers like Sodi and CRG are building electric karts, and we’re even seeing electric karting championships. So, let’s go through the basics of electric karting and what the future holds.
The Future Of Motorsport
It’s fair to say that electric cars have taken the world by storm. However, it is still a hugely controversial topic amongst the petrol head community. Many argue that these are not true cars, or even a true form of motorsport.
After all, a huge appealing factor of motorsport is the atmosphere created from the astonishing engine sounds, and without them it’s just not the same for many fans. The counter argument to this is of course that we need to reduce carbon emissions and take care of the planet.
Whatever your stance is on the subject, the world is still moving forward with electric cars very quickly. Formula E has had huge success as an electric-only version of Formula 1. Another electric racing series has been introduced by Jaguar as a support race to Formula E as well.
In addition, a brand-new off-road electric racing series is starting soon called Extreme E, with F1 World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg launching their own teams in the series. Furthermore, these developments have found themselves digging deep into the roots of motorsport, with new electric karting series such as Electroheads being launched soon as well.
The World’s Fastest Kart
There’s a huge range of electric karts available on the market at the moment. They range from rental karts that can be used in an arrive-and-drive style at racetracks, to karts that have been modified to be incredibly fast.
The Daymak C5
The fastest electric kart you can get is the Daymak C5, which actually turns out to be the fastest kart in the world. These are custom built based on each order they receive from customers, and they certainly won’t be legal to race in a championship with.
This kart will go from 0-60 MPH in just 1.5 seconds! The combination of being extremely light weight and having a huge pack of batteries makes this kart accelerate faster than almost all supercars.
Aside from the Daymak C5, you can also find an all-electric go-kart from Sodi, called the RSX. This is part of their rental kart range and is built similarly to the RT8 kart. These karts can produce around 20 horsepower, and more torque than their gas-powered counterparts. They certainly aren’t slow.
The benefit of the electric karts is that they can be fully remotely controlled. Unlike with a gas-powered engine, if something causes the brakes to fail or the throttle to become stuck, the kart can be slowed and stopped with a remote control from the side of the track.
It’s yet to be seen whether there will be an electric series equivalent to Rotax, KZ or the SuperNats on the horizon. However, judging by how fast the electric car and kart scene is moving, it’s only a matter of time before we see an all-electric Karting World Championship.
Electric Kart Series
You may remember Rob Smedley from Formula 1. He’s arguably the most famous race engineer in Formula 1 while he was partnered with Felipe Massa at Ferrari and Williams. He’s moved on to launch a revolutionary all-electric karting series called Electroheads.
What makes this series so special is not only the fact that it is an all-electric series, but it will actually be much cheaper than the usual karting series that drivers participate in. On top of that, it is arranged in an arrive-and-drive format. There is no need to buy your own kart, as you just show up on race day and drive your heart out.
Equal Playing Field
Moreover, the series is regulated through performance mapping and standardized equipment all across the championship. This ensures a truly equal platform for all drivers (arguably a first in the world of motorsport). If you have raced rental karts before you’ll know that none of them are equal.
Some might be geared towards more acceleration, others higher top speed. You might get unlucky with one that has its steering slightly off center. Electroheads eliminates these variables as each kart has an onboard computer that monitors their performance and ensures they are all equal.
To start with, this series offers 2 categories in Bambino (5-8 years old) and Cadet (8-12years old). The series was launched in the UK in 2021 after undergoing in depth testing earlier in 2020. The series will also be launching across the world in the near future.
In traditional karting, parents need to spend around $50,000-$100,000 per year in order to cover the costs. Electroheads will only cost $5000 per year. Now you might argue that keeping all of these karts charged for a full day of racing still uses electricity from a generator which isn’t very environmentally friendly at all.
However, Rob Smedley and his team have covered all their bases. The entire fleet of karts are charged by what is essentially an enormous battery pack (120 kilowatts) powered purely by solar panels. These karts are charged during any downtime and by the time they need to get back on track they will be at full power. This ‘battery pack’ comes at a bit of a cost though, $100,000 to be exact.
Petrol Head Or Electric Head?
Which Is Better?
The most important question here is which is the better of the two karts. The answer is more complex than you might expect. Each kart has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the final decision is largely based on personal opinion.
That being said, a huge part of anyone’s memories of karting is the smell of 2-stroke fuel burning around the track all day. It will certainly be a difficult change moving onto electric karts; however, it will happen over time.
So, let’s take a look at some of the benefits that electric karting has over combustion engine karting. The first and biggest difference is of course the noise levels. Depending on what your opinion is on this, it could either be a good or a bad thing.
Rob Smedley, however, describes it as an excellent feature. That’s because with the lack of engine noise, drivers can clearly hear how their tires are scrubbing or sliding around on the circuit. He mentions that it’s a huge factor in Formula 1.
Formula 1 drivers not only use their movement senses (backside, hands and feet) to feel what the car is doing, but they also use their hearing. A driver can hear when they lock their brakes or even if their tires are breaking traction during acceleration.
These are skills that are essential to being a successful driver, especially at the level of Formula 1. 2-stroke Rotax engines are extremely loud, and because they are situated right next to the driver, it makes it difficult for the driver to actually hear the tires.
The next benefit of electric karts is of course the use of clean energy and supporting the green energy movement. There’s been a lot of pressure on motorsports to go greener and cleaner for many years now. This issue is now being tackled in many forms of motorsport, from Formula 1 all the way down to karting.
It is, however, important to find that perfect balance where the best of both worlds can be kept happy. Formula 1 is doing that incredibly well through their new project of becoming a carbon neutral sport by the year 2030. Of course, whether that plan involves completely dropping combustion engines from the pinnacle of motorsport remains to be seen.
However, some elements can also be replicated further down the ladder even into karting. Using electric karts to support combustion engine karts would be great, but the key is to make combustion engine karts cleaner and greener if we want to keep them around.
The other benefit that electric karting has is that it is going to become hugely lucrative for other corporations in the sense that it will be an environmentally friendly form of motorsport. This means that huge renewable energy companies would be eager to back the sport’s success.
The maintenance and running costs of electric karts is much lower (as mentioned previously compared to Rotax karting). You save a ton of money on fuel and lubricants, and the engine takes much less of a beating.
Electric cars and karts are the future, and the future is already here. Electric karts are just as fast as their combustion engine counterparts, and some are even faster. Electric karts also cost less when it comes to maintenance, and they will be widely supported by various green movements and renewable energy corporations.