Stephane Periani focuses coverage on the brave new world of electric gokarts. Earlier this summer he emailed photos from two important electric go-kart events that had happened in France and Japan. I’ve finally added them to the photo gallery per his request.
These pictures highlight the fact that electric karting is not as popular in the United States as it is elsewhere in the world. While it’s true that a few outstanding electric karts have made appearances at EV events in this country, they just haven’t caught on. Periani, who resides in France, is puzzled by the lack of interest. “There are some tracks equipped in the USA but in comparison with the size of the country and the knowledge you have in EV, there are few,” he said.
Well, one might consider electric go-karts, like scooters, to be underdogs within EV organizations. The EAA primarily promotes on-road vehicle usage. Go-karts are off-road only. That’s not a match made in heaven.
A few years back NEDRA had a record class for go karts. Then in 2001 Electric Louie drove his 144V kart through a 12 second 1/4 mile at 102.71 MPH! While this was an eye-opening demonstration of EV power, it was also dangerous. NEDRA shut down its go-kart class in the interest of safety. The short wheelbase and steering geometry of go-karts makes them unsuited for high speeds on sticky drag strips. Beyond that, straight-line drag racing is just not a good fit for go-kart performance characteristics.
Electric karts are especially well-suited to family fun centers. They are quiet, pollution free, and cheap to operate. The output power can also be adjusted exactly as desired. As a proponent for electric Karts in Europe, Stéphane deals with the embedded petrol perception that electrics are “non-sense.” Those who embrace the new electric technologies are beginning to realize advantages in lower total cost of ownership and even performance. Stéphane also pointed out how some universities exploit the small size and low cost of go-kart educational projects.
Given the growing interest elsewhere in the world, it’s only a matter of time before the kart tracks begin to sprout up here in North America.