Go-karts have really evolved since my Dad first took me go-karting in Michigan way back in 1985. Back in those days, the gas-powered go-kart engines made your clothes smell like exhaust fumes for the rest of the day. You’d always see the mechanic working on a broken-down kart, and there would be a backlog of other sick go-karts waiting for repairs.
While working in Halifax last fall, I was introduced to a new type of eco-friendly go-karts that run on electricity. They run for about 10 minutes and after each race, they are hooked up to a charger to re-charge their batteries. These karts are quiet, quick and fun.
Recently I took my Big Brothers “little brother” Quenelle go-karting in Toronto and we had a great time. Each kart is equipped with a computerized tracking chip and after the race each racer receives a printout of the statistics for the race (Fastest lap, average speed, max speed etc.)
Seeing electric go-karts makes me excited for what the future holds for electric cars. There’s a lot of momentum right now for electric cars and it’s only a matter of time before the engineering is mastered so that electric cars can be mass produced.
The major problem with electric cars is that most of our electricity comes from dirty non-renewable energy sources, so a massive increase in demand for electricity will ensue and the world will need to focus on generating more renewable, clean energy sources such as wind, solar and tide.
Nevertheless, mass produced electric cars will be a positive turning point for the world.
I do think that forcing the big three to produce fully electric cars is the best thing the US can do as part of the bailout – if it ever goes ahead. Such an excellent opportunity to enforce fundamental change in that industry. As for the technology, Tesla Motors of California have already proved it can not only work, but sell. Their two-seater roadster has sold out for 2009 already. Granted this is expensive, but Tesla is working on a 4 seat exec sedan for around $60k and a smaller 4-seat for $35k for 2012. Can’t wait. I won’t buy another car unless its fully electric.
If only the big motor-sport dinosaur that is Formula One would see the light and change its rules to demand that teams develop electric engines over the next 5 years. That level of international competition would do so much to accelerate the technology. Just imagine what’s possible if the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Ferrari are forced to compete with Battery Power on the world stage. These guys have race-winnig reputations going back over 60 years each to protect. All the major groundbreaking motoring developments begin life in the competitive arena for motorsport – such as improved tire compounds, anti-lock brakes, active stability control software. ..so i firmly believe battery power would only stand to benefit from it’s inclusion in the rules.
I’d love to see Congress step up and force the auto companies to produce fully electric cars. It is a grand opportunity for the big 3 to get ahead of the Japanese manufacturers after falling so far behind.
If more of the market demanded electric cars such as you have, we’d be a lot further ahead. If Formula One decided to use electric race cars, I’d actually start watching it to show my support.
It would fun to watch them go in for a pit stop and plug into the wall instead of pouring gas in the tank.
I think they’d keep a second set fully charged, and simply swap them out at the pitstop, much as they do with the tires. Or.. the smarter teams would develop a battery that lasted longer, removing the need to stop, except for tire changes. Of course, such a long lasting battery would weigh more than one that had to be swapped once or twice during a 2-hour race.. but a non-swappable battery could be somehow made a part of the chasis – imroving weight distribution… the possibilities are endless