Electric Karting is not designed to replace Combustion Engines

I’m so so happy that someone in the Rotax electric karting program was smart enough to say this and include it in their video. Drives me crazy when I read comments that people think that electric competition karts are here to wipe out the two-stroke, or something crazy like that.

I agree, however even if that was the case, I’d be interested (not scared) to see where this is going…as long as it’s fast, parity is there, batteries last enough for a full event and it doesn’t take an aerospace engineer to work on it, what would be the problem? Everything evolves, the racers will pick the most promising formula and market will follow that direction. I’d love to try one of those electric motors, that’s for sure

What they say and what they intend are two completely different things :slight_smile: The MAX was just a leisure engine once upon a time, but it was popular enough to pretty much obliterate elite level karting at a national level and led Rotax to stop building race engines.

Storage (ie. battery) limitations has been the main factor holding back electrovehicles. If mass production of high quality yield graphene becomes possible, it could be the tipping point.

As for as IC engines, I still like 2 strokes.

What’s been explained to me is that they can run a typical race distance, or two without issue. Granted there’s still some complications with managing the charges and/or swapping battery packs. But that’s a figureoutable.

The problem is stopping the motors from melting down.

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Check out pics from Rotax grand finals and look at the cooling rigs attached in the pits


The ventilation directed towards the batteries leads me to think they are the weak link, though the motors could probably stand to be water cooled like a conventional ICE.

Graphene is a viable candidate to replace Li as a battery medium, but the mfging isn’t figured out yet. I read an a news link some months back about a potential fast production technique developed at MIT, but it gave no details. The hexavalent carbon ring structure of graphene has to be maintained for its properties to be realized, but the thin sheet like characteristic of its physical format makes it prone to tearing, destroying the chemical ring structure.

I could also see a breakthrough being a potential threat to the status quo, so there’s that.

I suspect that in 20 years or so there aren’t going to be many fuel burning vehicles. So makes sense they are noodling around the problem.

Except for maybe one Red Barchetta. :grin:

Seriously though - there needs to be a major advancement in the breakdown temperature for insulation used for motor coils as currently motors simply overheat and fail. I would like that to happen yesterday, since an electric kart for sprint racing would be awesome for maintenance reasons. But sadly they are impossible to cool enough to last more than about 10 laps with current levels to match 2-stroke engines while hauling around the extra weight of batteries over C12.

I’m personally really excited for electric karts. Yes the noise and smell of a 2 stroke engine is a key part of karting, I feel that I would be able to leave that behind. As long as the electric karts are easy to use and durable enough (as others have mentioned here) I would love to race them.
The violence of a high powered electric motor on a kart just sounds amazing


It’s hard enough to get people to spend a few thousand to go karting. Getting a group (so you can race as a new class) to spend many times more than that for something battery powered is nearly impossible.

I really want it to work out, and at some point it will - but not quite yet.

Battery tech will have to take a significant enough leap in capability, with an inverse result in costs, to make it a viable option. It also might be somewhat boring compared to ICE racing, sheer torque & acceleration not withstanding. 4 wheel brakes would be requisite.

We’re a long way from en-masse adoption just from the power delivery challenges. But I think we’ll see it gain some legs in (higher performance type) arrive and drive soon. Arguably it’s there already.

Rotax have already moved on from their first electric “Thunder” kart to a newer model… I asked for specifics on the “improvements” on linked in… Still waiting…

Here’s the thunder. I’m not sure if it was raced much… anybody know?

I saw the new one run in Italy vs the old ones. It had to be doing 100mph at the end of the straight where a dd2 would be doing like 90. It has a radiator like a 2 stroke.

You guys should get the TopKart guys on here to explain their rig. It seems to have a tiny battery, is equally as fast, and when I saw it run I felt the motor when it came off the track and it was cool to the touch. They say it will run a full race day on one charge. I watched it get used session after session without charging, and the NASA style charging stations Rotax uses were nowhere in sight.

Edit- I just invited the TopKart guys to give some insight into this newfangled stuff

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On a related note

I’m looking forward to it . Anticipating and plannig on gathering Kart & Motor , to go along with my 125 shifter .

Battery temp is the issue in all forms of E-racing at the moment.
In FE power output is actually limited by battery discharge rate (due to temp) not capacity.
I don’t think a kart would tax any of the available industrial motors and with re-gen you shouldn’t require massive brakes to stop the mass.
Although with 4 wheel brakes it would be pretty cool to have brake balance migration to aid rotation

i would still need a pot of 2 stroke simmering by my trailer as i worked on it though :slight_smile:

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Wait, so whats going to happen to all the engine builders if everyone switches to electric. Are we going to get blueprinted electric motors now? lol