A few indoor karting centres in both Scotland and England have introduced electric go karts, or more accurately battery powered go karts recently.
In many cases this has been largely driven by planning consent issues or the landlord of a building, rather than wanting to ‘go green’ or because of any perceived benefits of electric go karts.
At ScotKart we have always invested heavily in new technology, and have tested several electric go karts in Glasgow at both our Cambuslang and Clydebank tracks.
However our staff and customers have found the experience of racing electric Biz Karts, Sodi Karts, OTL Karts and Rimo Karts to be very disappointing for several reasons, compared to racing our fleet of Biz petrol karts –
• The weight of all those batteries mean that an electric go kart is substantially heavier than a petrol karts. This means that the handling is severely compromised, and they just don’t respond to your steering inputs, or go round corners the way that a go kart should, which spoils your enjoyment.
. It also means that any impact with the barrier or another kart has a lot more force than a normal go kart because of the weight, which creates major safety issues.
• You don’t have the same control over the accelerator pedal for a smooth driving style with lots’ of involvement and input – with electric karts the power is simply off or on, without the same response.
• There is no rumble and roar from the engine when you push the pedal to the metal – you really miss the vibrations, the sound and the smell of a petrol powered racing kart that makes you feel that you are driving a real racing machine just like Lewis Hamilton.
• They run out of juice quickly – the optimum run time is only 8 minutes, and by our experience they often don’t last that long. Compare that with our Le-Mans Team Challenges which offer up to 2 hours of non-stop racing, or Track Drive Experience which is 20% longer. Our karts are always ready to race and you are never sitting around waiting for a charge.
• The performance is very uneven as batteries fade over time, meaning some karts are faster than others. One Tripadvisor review of a London electric go kart track reported – ‘THERE IS A MASSIVE DIFFERENCE IN PERFORMANCE BETWEEN THESE ELECTRIC KARTS SO YOU ARE NOT RACING ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD! This venue uses electric karts. I’m all for a green approach but unfortunately these karts do not get charged up enough between sessions. I have been 4 times to this venue and on every occasion there has been a huge discrepancy between kart performance. I have been to many other venues with petrol karts and not had this problem.’
• We are not won over by the environmental arguments either for several reasons a). Because of the charging issues you need to manufacture at least 50% more karts for your fleet b). Most electricity in Scotland comes from burning fossil fuel c).The batteries are an ecological nightmare to manufacture and dispose d). The batteries need replacing on a very regular basis
The only argument for electric karts is no fumes, however the latest generation of Honda 4 Stroke engines consume very little petrol and have extremely low emissions, especially when combined with a catalytic convertor.
If you want an authentic kart racing experience in Glasgow, with lightweight, hi-performance karts, please visit ScotKart in Cambuslang or Clydebank.
You get the real deal as a driver at ScotKart, with not just the feel, smell and taste of real racing, but equally matched karts, which can just keep going all night.
It’s an intense, seat of the pants race experience unlike battery powered electric go karts which leave you wanting more.
As another kart track operator, Richard Ray, wrote about his karting experience in America –
‘I’ve run electrics at Velocity 17 in past years and Pole Position, Jersey City, last year.
Also gas karts at GPNY, LVGP, On Track Wallingford, CT, and On Track, Brookville, CT more recently.
Without consideration of the track itself, I much prefer the gas karts.’