I talked a lot in this blog about karting, it is my main hobby after all. I recently did a comparison between a gas-powered go-kart and an electric go-kart. The comparison sparked my interest in an electric go-kart and how its engine works. Today, I will share with you a brief insight into the findings from my research on how the electric go-kart and its engine work.
So how does electric go-kart engine work? When you push accelerator in your electric go-kart, electricity is dispersed from your battery to the stator. As the electrical current passes through the stator, an electromagnetic field is created that triggers the rotator to turn the axis and move the wheels.
What’s even more cool about an electric go kart motor is that it’s quieter than gas-powered engine. If you’re sensitive to noise, you would love an electric go-kart. But if you’re old-school and addicted to the sound, some electric go-karts like the Segway Ninebot GoKart Pro come with a Bluetooth speaker that mimics the sound of a gas-powered go-kart engine.
Sounds interesting, right? We’ve not even scratched the surface yet, and I will explain step-by-step how an electric go-kart works in this article.
How does an electric go-kart work?
Many of you asked me to write about how the electric go-kart works after the gas-powered vs electric motor comparison. I also found out that electric go-karts are quicker than gas-powered go-karts. But why is that?
Unlike a gas-powered go-kart which needs to rev up, an electric motor delivers instant torque — that’s why electric go-karts accelerate faster than gas powered go-karts. I found this extremely useful when I was driving in tight and twisty circuits because I could exit the corners faster.
In terms of control, each motor’s torque is adjusted and constantly monitored by an acceleration pedal and a controller. Also, since the motor is placed centrally at the back and the batteries at the sides, the electric go-kart offers an even weight distribution and gives you better control when taking turns. I have previously talked about how the weight of an electric go-kart can affect its performance.
Talking of batteries, most electric go-karts have either lead-acid, lithium polymer, or lithium-ion batteries. However, I noticed that most rental electric go-karts are designed with lead-acid batteries and can only be driven for an average of 20 to 30 minutes.
But racing go-karts are mostly fitted with lithium-polymer and lithium-ion batteries because they’re longer lasting.
So now we know how an electric motor works, let’s find out which type of motors electric go-kart use.
Which motor is used in an electric go-kart?
You know how the engine of a gas-powered go-kart is available in 4 stroke or 2 stroke variant? I was curious if the type of motor used in an electric go-kart affects its performance like how the type of engine used in gas-powered go-karts makes a difference.
Electric go-karts usually use DC or AC motors. DC motors are mostly fitted in electric go-karts that are not geared towards high-performance. Similarly, I also realized that go-karts for average-weight drivers use DC motors because they don’t require a lot of power.
On the other hand, AC motors are mostly found in high-output go-karts if you’re a heavy-weight drivers. They offer higher output compared to DC motors. Then again, high output motors mean bigger batteries and more weight. This could be a disadvantage since the motor will have to work harder to pull the extra weight.
In addition to that, the high motor output doesn’t necessarily mean better performance. Besides that, most manufacturers avoid using AC motors because it means spending more money on the part that converts the current.
When it comes to voltage or the electric pressure of a go-kart motor. Most go-kart motors range between 24 to 72 volts. It’s also important to keep in mind that your go-kart motor voltage should be compatible with your go-kart speed controller and batteries of course.
If you want to build yourself an electric go-kart, most motors are very affordable. Of course, depending on how powerful you want it to be.
If you’re looking to build a go-kart with a low-output motor for your kids, it could cost you back between $50 to $100. For go-karts with a medium output motor, it will cost you $100-$150. But for high-output motors, you could spend up to $500.
However, that is just the cost of the electric motors without the batteries or any other parts that could increase the costs. Some of the most expensive electric racing go-karts have a price tag of between $8,000 to $13,000.
If you want an electric go-kart for beginners that is budget friendly, you could consider the Segway Ninebot GoKart Pro that will cost you between $1500 to $2000 depending on the vendor.
Since an electric go-kart uses electrical current to rotate the wheels, does it have a transmission? Let’s find out.
Do electric go-karts have transmissions?
I love the simplicity of an electric go-kart — the fact that it doesn’t have a lot of mechanical parts. This means that you have less maintenance and fluids to worry about. But does it have a transmission?
An electric go-kart is designed with a single speed transmission. However, the motor of an electric go-kart is connected to the axle using a chain. Even though it comes with a single speed transmission, the speed is adjusted using a motor controller.
But how fast do electric go-karts go? To figure that out, we need to know the horsepower of most electric go-karts.
How much horsepower does an electric go-kart have?
With all the awesome things that an electric go-kart can offer from zero emission to its low maintenance, I was still curious about the horsepower it can deliver. After all, if you’re into go-kart racing like me, a powerfull kart can make a big difference.
During my research, I realized that an electric go-kart motor output is measured in kilowatts but most people still use horsepower since they’re familiar with it. To keep it simple, I converted the kilowatts to horsepower.
Here is a table of different electric go-karts and their horsepower.
|Electric Go Kart||Kilowatts||Horsepower||Top Speed|
|Ferkart RKZ||24 kW||32 hp||60 mph|
|Kinetic eGO Kart||20 kW||26 hp||60 mph|
|Rimo Sinus ION||23 kW||31 hp||40 mph|
|BSR Pro Racing Kart||25 kW||33 hp||84 mph|
|OTL storm EFD||14 kW||18hp||45 mph|
|BIZ Karts Ecovolt NG+||10.5 kW||14 hp||60mph|
|Sodi LRX||10 kW||13 hp||45mph|
|OTL EGK||4 kW||5hp||40mph|
|Ferkart RKZ||10 kW||13 hp||60 mph|
|Segway Ninebot GoKart Pro||4.8 kW||6.4 hp||23 mph|
From the table above, we can conclude that electric go-karts are just as good as gas-powered go-karts.
In my experience, I think electric go-karts are perfect for tracks where you need to clear a lot of corners since they have an acceleration advantage. They’re also perfect for drag-racing!
If you get the chance to drive an electric go-kart, try it and be the judge.