It seems that the electric motor is taking the vehicular industry by storm, with electric cars quickly becoming the norm in the 21st century. Electric cars are becoming more and more accessible and popular, meaning that the rate of uptake of these vehicles is growing.
But what about other recreational vehicles? Golf carts have been battery powered for years before the arrival of the electric car, and smaller electric transporters have always been in use in indoor environments like airports and shopping centres.
Traditional go-karts designed for racing use small 400cc single-cylinder engines that produce around 7 HP. While this is capable of propelling the go-kart and its occupant up to speeds of around 60 miles per hour, there are some further benefits that the electrical counterpart offers.
The acceleration from the electric motor is usually superior that the petrol motor, thanks to the improved torque that an electric motor generates. There are also fewer parts to require maintenance on an electric-powered go-kart, since the motor consists of a single moving part, being the brushless electric motor.
The batteries come in the form of lead-acid batteries or lithium-ion or lithium polymer. The lead-acid batteries are relatively cheap but can only run at maximum speeds for a period of around 30 minutes before they have to be swapped over or charged. This makes them unsuitable for more serious racing.
That is where lithium batteries come in. They offer longer operation time and increased performance, making them the usual choice for serious electric go-kart races. These batteries are considerably more expensive than lead-acid batteries, and the costs or running these batteries in a race environment are more expensive than petrol-powered karts.
As they can be used indoors, one of the best applications for battery-powered go-carts is recreational use. As battery technology becomes more efficient, then we might start to see battery-powered go-kart racing become more widespread.