You don’t have to be involved in karting and professional kart races to know how fun it is to drive a go-kart. These open-wheel racing machines have been around for over 60 years, bringing adrenaline-charged entertainment to kids and adults equally and turning into one of the most exciting activities for the whole family.
Motorized karts have come a long way since the original home-built chainsaw motor conversions. From racing-machines built specifically for the track, to the safer and slower karts with barriers around the vehicle and interchangeable seats, designed for outdoor and indoor tracks, where customers can come and enjoy speed their way around the track. The latest innovation are the electric go karts.
What is an electric go kart?
The evolution of electric vehicles has influenced everything that moves on wheels, including vehicles designed for the track. As opposed to traditional go-karts powered by either a two-stroke or a four-stroke petrol engine, electric karts are powered by electric motors. Many companies in professional racing industry are developing and perfecting their electric karts, preparing for the future of all-electric racing.
These racing machines cost a few thousand dollars, which can be a bit too much if you are not looking to make a career in racing. If you are looking for a fun ride or a project you can work on with your family, here is a list of budget-friendly electric karts that are perfect for kids, teenagers or even adults.
Comparing Top Electric Go Karts
|Name||Razor Ground Force Drifter||Moto Tec Maverick||TaoTao EK80||Segway Ninebot Go Kart|
|Speed||12 mph||22 mph||16 mph||15 mph|
|Range (Battery Life)||40 minutes||40 minutes||1+ hr||13 miles|
|Battery||24V (2x12V) SLA||36V/ (3x12V) SLA||48V/ (2x12V) 20Ah||236Wh Lithium Battery|
|Weight||35.3 lbs||150 lbs||230 lbs||38 lbs|
|Max Load||140 lbs||250 lbs||250 lbs||220 lbs|
|CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE|
1. Razor Go Kart – Ground Force Drifter Fury
Razor Force Drifter is an electric go-kart is designed for kids, but it is more than just a toy. It features a steel frame, a motor and chain drive that deliver the top speed of 12mph and two 12V SLA batteries, which adds up to a total charge of 24V. It also has variable speed, thumb-trigger acceleration and a hand-operated rear brake.
It is equipped with sleek rear wheels made for drifting, and it is super fun to ride. The bucket seat and the seat harness will make sure that the rider is safe. The Fury model even comes with a spark bar that leaves a shower of sparks as you are power sliding through corners or doing fast 180s.
It supports weight up to 140 lbs, so even an adult can take it for a spin, but you won’t be going very fast if you are close to this weight.
Razor Force Drifter comes with a charger. On a full charge you will get up to 40 minutes of continuous use, and that the batteries will need to charge for 12 hours.
2. MotoTec Maverick
Now, this is a kart that takes the excitement up a notch. MotoTec Maverick features a 36V, 500W motor, full roll cage and netting, and 14” off road tires. There are three speed modes, and the top speed you can reach is 18-20 mph on the pavement (though you will have to disconnect the speed limiter plug for this) and about 10 mph off-road.
Maverick GoKart is very rugged and sturdy, with chassis made from high-tensile strength steel and high-quality parts. The three 12V/12Ah SLA batteries provide ride time of up to 40 minutes, while the charging time is about 4-5 hours. Throttle is engaged by pressing a foot pedal, and that also goes for the foot-operated rear hydraulic disc brake.
This is the latest version of the Maverick Kart that includes some additional features compared to some earlier models, including key start, reverse, battery meter and positraction. The tires are turf-safe, which means that they are designed to save the grass, so you can ride Maverick on your lawn or even on the golf course. With max load of 250 lbs, this ride could make a decent, cheap golf cart for one.
3. TaoTao EK80 Go Kart
TaoTao is known for its super affordable go karts and buggies, ones that you won’t feel sorry pulling apart for a DIY garage project. They have also been around on the electric rideables scene for some time, and EK80 is the electric version of their go kart.
TaoTao EK80 features an 800W motor and a 48V battery with the capacity of 20Ah. The top speed of this little ride is about 16mph in the highest speed mode. EK80 features three speed mode that are selected by twisting a knob. It also features a forward/reverse lever, and a foot operated throttle. The hydraulic rear disc brake is also operated by foot, which is a standard racing go kart setup. There is no data on range or running time on a single charge, but with this 800W, 48V motor and the two huge 24V 20Ah batteries, you should get at least an hour. After the battery is drained it would need to recharge for about 8-10 hours.
This is a great ride for a young beginner. Have in mind that even though it looks quite robust and big on the picture, this is a kids’ size go kart. The overall dimensions are 53″ x 31″ x 37″ with ground clearance of 2.4”. Also, it’s good to know that it is not fully assembled out-of-the-box, so you will need some tinkering to do before the first ride.
4. Segway Ninebot Electric GoKart
Although this is not a classic go-kart it is included in this list because once assembled, it is just as fun and just as feisty as any electric go kart. The length of the frame is adjustable, so it can accommodate riders from 4’3”to 6’5” tall, while the maximum weight it can haul is 220lb.
This is actually a kit to turn a Segway Ninebot S self-balancing scooter into a go-kart, the same way that hoverboards are turned into hoverkart. It is not hard to assemble, but it is not a hook-on/hook-off attachment that you can just take off whenever you need.
With two motors with a combined peak power of 800W Segway Go Kart is quick and nimble. It has 3 speed modes, and it can reach the top speed of 15mph. The range is about 13 miles.
Unlike classic models that have mechanical controls, the controller on this one is connected to the hoverboard in two ways; wired (main) and Bluetooth wireless (standby) connection. When the controller detects a malfunction of the wired communication, it will switch to Bluetooth communication instantly.
Building an E-Kart: DIY Electric GO Kart Kits
For anyone that loves to fiddle around the garage, and love electric scooters, e bikes or skateboards, the idea of building your own electric kart sounds really tempting. And while it isn’t easy, it can be adjusted to your level of technical skill depending on the parts you get.
If you don’t have experience in building electric transportation gadgets, there are plenty of electric go kart kits that you can buy, pair with a battery, stick to a frame and customize it any way you want. Building an e-kart from scratch is another story. We won’t go into how-tos (that will hopefully be in another post), but here is a general overview of all the parts that an electric go kart should have.
- Frame: There are many frame options from racing karts to off-road chassis to ones with roll cages. It all depends on your build and final goal.
- Seat: There are different types of seats, the choice depends on your preference. What is important is that you choose a properly fitting seat, and that is one that provides a tight fit. A seat belt is also a good idea, especially if the kart is for a child.
- Bumper: Although bumpers are not essential for a kart to move, they are a necessary for safety and keeping the kart, as well as the rider in one piece. While you don’t have to add the all-around bumpers like on those indoor racing karts, front and rear bumpers are strongly recommended.
- Steering System: This system includes the steering wheel, column, steering stops and brackets, which attach to the pitman arm, tie rods, spindles, and spindle brackets.
- Wheels: There are few criteria for choosing the best tires for your electric go-kart: material, pattern, size. Here is a short, but very informative guide, to help you make the best choice.
- Rear Live Axle: Go karts use a variety of rear axle types. The simplest of these is the live axle, which means that the engine powers both rear wheels at the same speed and power via a single sprocket mounted on the axle. The simpler and cheaper alternative is a single wheel drive, where a chain from the engine runs straight to the drive wheel, which has a sprocket mounted directly to it.
- Brakes: The best braking system is one that is simple and ensures safety of the driver and takes least time to bring the vehicle to stop.
- Electric motor: When you’re building your own racing machine you’ll need to have the right engine that will fit your recreational or racing needs. This is a very complicated subject that goes way beyond Voltage and Wattage, but here is a great guide you can check out here.
- Batteries: No electric motor can run without batteries, so this is another essential component of your electric go kart. Many e-GoKarts still use SLA batteries that are much cheaper options, but Lithium batteries are certainly better in terms of performance and longetivity.
- Controller: This is the brain of any electric drive. Its purpose is to vary an electric motor’s speed, its direction and possibly to act as a dynamic brake. The most important thing is to get the controller that is powerful enough so it doesn’t burn out.
Where can you ride a go kart?
If you’ve done your research, you may have found out that driving your go-kart on public roads is not allowed, unless your kart is registered and road legal. Legally, go-karts are only allowed to be driven on private property or race tracks. However, electric go-karts (classified as a personal mobility vehicle/device) or hoverboard go-karts may be allowed on sidewalks in some cases. This depends on the country and the state that you live in. It’s always important to check your local laws, if this is allowed.
Parking lots and cul-the-sacs are the well-known go-kart territory. Unless you ride one of those big off-road karts, in which case you will have lots of fun busting the trails and dirt paths.
Electric Karts vs. Gas Karts
Electric vehicles have lots of advantages over gas powered vehicles, and the same goes for e-go karts. There are no exhaust fumes, there is no heavy engine mounted on a single spot, so the weight is better distributed. Almost all electric karts have a reverse so you’ll be able to easily get out a tricky situation and get back on track.
While gasoline karts have heavy engines mounted in a single location, electric go kart has evenly-distributed battery weight, meaning you’re less likely to tip or flip your kart. Have you ever accidentally touched a spot on a gas kart and received a nasty burn? You won’t have that problem with an electric kart. Electric motors have more torque and you’ll get instant power as soon as you slam on the throttle.
The main drawbacks of electric gas karts is the range and length of time they can last. Electric karts require charging, and the time a charge lasts can vary, while gas karts simply require a fuel refill.
While there may be a long way to go before battery-powered cars take over from their gas-powered counterparts in competitive racing circuits, electric go-karts now dominate the indoor karting market, and they have become very popular in recent years.
Zippy and fast, electric go karts are the ultimate outdoor fun, especially for children. They are quiet and gas-fumes-free and can be used on indoor and outdoor tracks. Though they offer the speed and excitement of a race car, electric karts are not only for the future F1 drivers. Whether you are a kid or an adult, you can enjoy the feeling of being close to the ground and feeling the torque while taking tight turns. Of course, we highly advise wearing safety equipment, including helmet, gloves, rib and neck protectors.