Going electric, can it be affordable?

JTSpeedDemon

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For the record since you asked Kevin, my kart is actually capable of many of the things E0 lists. My Briggs can spin up to 5400 RPM and could definitely hit 50 MPH with the same gearing, especially once I finish building up the engine, which should let it hit around 50 MPH at 6500+ RPM. While it is true I put a lot of time into keeping this old flattie ticking, price is where my kart really comes into it's own vs E0's e-kart. I spent about $300 altogether including the initial purchase of the kart, compared to the $4K plus E0 spent. My kart needs the new Tillotson carb I have in order to do proper donuts, but it's extremely close as is.
As far as range, once I improve the gas tank vibrating and the cap vent, I'd expect it could go over 50 miles on a single tank of good ol' 92 octane.
I'm not necessarily saying my gas kart is better than an electric kart, but I think if someone's willing to put in more time, it's possible to get a VERY fast kart for a much lower price.
In short you get to pick two out of the three: Speed, low cost, low maintenance. :roflol:
 

EpsilonZero

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In short you get to pick two out of the three: Speed, low cost, low maintenance. :roflol:

There are definite tradeoffs. I have a buddy that really wants to build a kart after seeing mine. I have dissuaded him from going electric since he is more in the country and an ICE won't bother anyone. Also, he recently showed up with a new car he bought on the way home from work which did not impress his wife, so cost is a factor.
 

chimmike

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I would've gone electric but even with the CCC (cheap chinese components) it would still cost more than ICE and with suspect-quality parts I assume my kid would find a way to break.
 

EpsilonZero

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I would've gone electric but even with the CCC (cheap chinese components) it would still cost more than ICE and with suspect-quality parts I assume my kid would find a way to break.
The fun thing is that most everything is made in China. Cheap electronics, expensive electronics, cheap engines, expensive engines. Even Honda manufactures engines in China.
 

Functional Artist

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I went way overboard on my kart (more than 4k... it can be done for less than I spent), but I get a ton of use out of it almost every day between driving with my boys and their electric vehicles and driving solo. I couldn't go ICE because of the noise potentially pissing everyone off. So far, there hasn't been a single complaint about any of the electric vehicles I built.

I went for the full controller "assembly" from Kelly so all the best practices are observed and installed on a thick metal backplate. Battery cabling is all 1/0AWG. I can do 25 miles on a charge @80%DOD (rated for >6000 cycles, 7 year warranty) and it takes about 4 hours to recharge from there with a Grin Cycle Satiator.

I have a mixture of motor and axle sprockets and am currently running 12t/58t (good for 40+mph) but have done 14t/60t to break 50mph. The motor is supposed to max at 5500rpm but it will run all the way to 6000. I limit it in software to ~5200-5400rpm typically because of overshoot. On good condition bone dry asphalt I don't do burnouts going dead straight with 12t/58t, but turning the wheel slightly results in easy donuts, and drifting around corners does work on asphalt. Any moisture and the kart will break traction at any speed up through ~30mph going straight. Packed dirt driving is just constant drifting. If I ran a more powerful setup, I'd have to change to wider slicks; this is pretty much perfect right now.

All headlights and marker lights are run off of a separate 12v system fed by a converter that runs through a fuse box and a dashboard with all of the switches. The brake lights run through the 12v system off the controller since I use that same feed to trigger the lights and the regen brake switch. I have a manual disc brake as a backup actuated with the same pedal as the regen switch.

Maintenance is just a little lubrication/rust prevention here and there for the kart (front spindles, o-ring chain). Zero maintenance for the motor, controller, or battery (LiFePO4 doesn't need to be removed for safety). Cost of use is less than 15 cents to recharge from 80%DOD.

For the record since you asked Kevin, my kart is actually capable of many of the things E0 lists. My Briggs can spin up to 5400 RPM and could definitely hit 50 MPH with the same gearing, especially once I finish building up the engine, which should let it hit around 50 MPH at 6500+ RPM. While it is true I put a lot of time into keeping this old flattie ticking, price is where my kart really comes into it's own vs E0's e-kart. I spent about $300 altogether including the initial purchase of the kart, compared to the $4K plus E0 spent. My kart needs the new Tillotson carb I have in order to do proper donuts, but it's extremely close as is.
As far as range, once I improve the gas tank vibrating and the cap vent, I'd expect it could go over 50 miles on a single tank of good ol' 92 octane.
I'm not necessarily saying my gas kart is better than an electric kart, but I think if someone's willing to put in more time, it's possible to get a VERY fast kart for a much lower price.
In short you get to pick two out of the three: Speed, low cost, low maintenance. :roflol:

Um...how are you guys getting your speed data?

With the size wheel/tires (probably 4.10 x 3.50 x 5 = ~12" tall) you guys are running
...it seems to me like your "axle speed" would have to be well over 1,000RPM's to achieve 50MPH :unsure:

I noticed an ad, JT's posted in one of his videos, that shows the "stock max speed" of his type kart to be ~25 MPH

...& then, running Ez's numbers thru the BMI speed calculator, doesn't quite add up to 50 MPH, either

Wheel: 12"
engine/motor RPM: 6,000
Axle teeth: 60
motor/clutch teeth: 12

Max speed: 42.840

* I'm NOT doubtin' you'all :oops:
...just lookin' for more info, cause it doesn't seem to "add up" :popcorn:
 

EpsilonZero

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Um...how are you guys getting your speed data?

With the size wheel/tires (probably 4.10 x 3.50 x 5 = ~12" tall) you guys are running
...it seems to me like your "axle speed" would have to be well over 1,000RPM's to achieve 50MPH :unsure:

I noticed an ad, JT's posted in one of his videos, that shows the "stock max speed" of his type kart to be ~25 MPH

...& then, running Ez's numbers thru the BMI speed calculator, doesn't quite add up to 50 MPH, either

Wheel: 12"
engine/motor RPM: 6,000
Axle teeth: 60
motor/clutch teeth: 12

Max speed: 42.840

* I'm NOT doubtin' you'all :oops:
...just lookin' for more info, cause it doesn't seem to "add up" :popcorn:

I use two different GPS apps (DigiHUDD Pro and Strava) on a Galaxy S10+ mounted via a Quad Lock motorcycle mount.

That top speed was with my 14 tooth motor sprocket, not the 12. I am sure there is enough power to hit 55-60 with another $9 sprocket change, but the low end would suffer and I don't want to run at 6000rpm or at 50+mph. It was more of just a side effect of working on my gearing and controller settings when I was trying to counter lots of overshoot (like 800rpm). I currently run 12t/58t and limit to 5200 so overshoot is within tolerable ranges (I give up sustained top speed). I forget the actual OD of my 13x5.00-6 tires (probably not 12"), but I typically see peaks of about 41-42 with this setup.

Here is my gearing with a 12" tire and max rpm:

TSGRCalc.jpg
 

EpsilonZero

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Here's a 360 video of me driving around just testing my new camera at night. You can see my GPS dashboard. It isn't exactly a showcase and I've made some changes since then (including rear view mirrors and more power from the controller), but you get an idea of how it drives.

 

JTSpeedDemon

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Um...how are you guys getting your speed data?

With the size wheel/tires (probably 4.10 x 3.50 x 5 = ~12" tall) you guys are running
...it seems to me like your "axle speed" would have to be well over 1,000RPM's to achieve 50MPH :unsure:

I noticed an ad, JT's posted in one of his videos, that shows the "stock max speed" of his type kart to be ~25 MPH

...& then, running Ez's numbers thru the BMI speed calculator, doesn't quite add up to 50 MPH, either

Wheel: 12"
engine/motor RPM: 6,000
Axle teeth: 60
motor/clutch teeth: 12

Max speed: 42.840

* I'm NOT doubtin' you'all :oops:
...just lookin' for more info, cause it doesn't seem to "add up" :popcorn:

Ahh, going back over my calculations, it looks like you have a point Kevin. The DIYGK calc says once I build my engine to turn approximately 6700 RPM, I'll be hitting around 47 MPH. Although I have tested top speed before and after the governor removal, and stock was indeed 25 MPH. And as you can see from my DigiHUD reading, I hit 38 on a fairly regular basis. BTW, this is the drivetrain specs for the Hothead currently:
5400 RPM
13" tires
12T clutch
66T axle sprocket

Like I said though, I COULD hit 50 if I decided to gear for it, but partially due to my own caution and partially because of my dad's worry, I won't be making the gearing any higher. If nothing else, I want to get it to the point where I can peel out on demand.
Screenshot_20191108-141108_DigiHUD.jpgScreenshot from 2020-10-01 10-59-42.png
 

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EpsilonZero

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Here is a screenshot from a ride with a 12t/58t/6000 (overshoot) configuration where the kart was going a bit faster. At this point, I was trying to just feather the throttle to avoid overshoot, which turned out not to be ideal though top speed is higher. Note there is lag between the phone display and post-process widget.

12t58t6000.jpg
 

chimmike

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The fun thing is that most everything is made in China. Cheap electronics, expensive electronics, cheap engines, expensive engines. Even Honda manufactures engines in China.

oh believe me. I am not disillusioned, i know most things are.
But the better quality components with solid QC behind them cost triple the cheap stuff.
 

Turbo420

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Don't get me wrong electric gokarts are cool and all but there's something about an engine that makes a gokart a gokart. You can also litterly spend 10 times the amount of money on an electric gokart to equal the power and fun you can have on a traditional gokart with a Honda clone. You take out 90% of the fun in building up your engine with performance parts and modifications. You have a very limited run time with a battery setup then have to wait 8 or 12 hours to recharge your battery bank to be able to ride again instead of 30 seconds to pour more fuel in a gas tank. As far as noise issues, again part of the fun is having a engine power the gokart. I run most of mine without mufflers of any kind. My neighbors have issues with it but I have to deal with them mowing their yards at 8am , running tractors at 6am, speeding down the roads in their Harleys or running chainsaws. All while I'm trying to sleep. BTW I work nights so where is their consideration for my sleep. I dont even run my engines at 2am and wake them. I ride on Saturday evenings before dark of course.
 

EpsilonZero

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Don't get me wrong electric gokarts are cool and all but there's something about an engine that makes a gokart a gokart. You can also litterly spend 10 times the amount of money on an electric gokart to equal the power and fun you can have on a traditional gokart with a Honda clone. You take out 90% of the fun in building up your engine with performance parts and modifications. You have a very limited run time with a battery setup then have to wait 8 or 12 hours to recharge your battery bank to be able to ride again instead of 30 seconds to pour more fuel in a gas tank. As far as noise issues, again part of the fun is having a engine power the gokart. I run most of mine without mufflers of any kind. My neighbors have issues with it but I have to deal with them mowing their yards at 8am , running tractors at 6am, speeding down the roads in their Harleys or running chainsaws. All while I'm trying to sleep. BTW I work nights so where is their consideration for my sleep. I dont even run my engines at 2am and wake them. I ride on Saturday evenings before dark of course.

I know internal combustion engines can be fun and powerful, but I've had way more fun building and driving my electric go-kart than I ever did with even my (eventually) 351-powered Mustang. Engine swaps only take a few minutes (if you want to try different ones), gear changes are 2 set screws or a split sprocket away, and there is plenty to tweak in the controller. It is also way more fun to drive in my experience with the instant electric motor torque (~4 seconds to 40MPH). I get between 1-1.5 hours of run time with upwards of 28 miles of range (just checked my Strava logs). If someone really wanted to keep driving, they could just swap batteries (I have a single 51.2v 30Ah LiFePO4 battery), but it only takes about four hours to recharge with my Cycle Satiator and I never have to go get gas ($0.15 of power for full charge at my house). You can drive at any time without disturbing people; I was driving nearly silent around the city and neighborhoods this weekend between 2am and 4am like a ghost. Maintenance is almost nil and the most I've had to do recently is wipe the oil off my helmet and kart from the guy whose built Predator 212 powered mini-bike blew up in front of me while we were cruising.

The original question was if it was affordable, though and the answer is mostly "no". However, if you don't mind the cost, I think it is the way to go.
 

EpsilonZero

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Swapping to 14t/54t gears has netted a new top speed of 52.5mph at 5500rpm.
 

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