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Karting Electric Laguna Seca NCK Alternative Energy

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#1
topgear3793

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Hey everyone, just wanted to share what I do outside of Spec Miata.

 

I drive for a fully electric racing team called Rattlesnake Electric Sport, located in Northern California. We take a standard shifter kart chassis and throw on an electric powertrain provided by Zero Motorcycles. Our karts are around 300lbs, heavier than your standard shifter kart, but make 55hp and 100lb-ft of torque! This past weekend I set a new track record for our class at Laguna Seca with a 1:40.053 (average speed 80.417 mph), not bad for only having one gear! Track record lap starts at 1:47 in the video below, enjoy!

 

 

It's an incredibly fun project to be associated with, and I'd love to answer any questions for those that are curious! What do you think of alternative energy in motorsports?


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#2
Bench Racer

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Presume the 100 pound foot of torque is almost instant. Silence to a gas engine Kart is similar to the silence of the Andy Granatelli turbin indy car of the mid 1960's to normal Indy car engines. I watched the turbin dubed "Silent Sam" at a race at the Milwaukee mile. Sounded like a vaccum cleaner when it went by. How does the new track record compair to a 300 pound Yamaha Kart? Or other similar engine.


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#3
Tom Sager

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Very cool except for the lack of sound  :D .  Maybe you throw some speakers on the back and play some speed actuated recorded sound from a 911 or a V-12 Ferrari?  

 

How long can one of these run between battery charges?  What does one of these karts cost?  How many of these are running out your way?  


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#4
Mark

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This looks like a lot of fun but I'd be worried at these speeds with the lack of safety gear. At this pace I want a full roll cage and enclosed wheels for sure. But that is just me. The lap times are faster than a SM at MRLS so these things are moving pretty good. Excellent advertisement for EV's in motorsports though as karts are a vehicle that the grassroots enthusiast can relate to. 

Mark


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#5
topgear3793

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Presume the 100 pound foot of torque is almost instant. Silence to a gas engine Kart is similar to the silence of the Andy Granatelli turbin indy car of the mid 1960's to normal Indy car engines. I watched the turbin dubed "Silent Sam" at a race at the Milwaukee mile. Sounded like a vaccum cleaner when it went by. How does the new track record compair to a 300 pound Yamaha Kart? Or other similar engine.

 

Yes, the 100 pound feet of torque is instant and constant from 0rpm to the 4500rpm motor limit. The massive amount of torque and single gear means that when you drive these in the wet, if you stomp on it the rear wheels will spin straight to 100mph, quite fun  :bigsquaregrin:  As for the record relative to gas karts, we are about the same as the fastest 125 shifters. 250 shifters are about 8 seconds faster. The karts are designed for short track use, so I topped out at 95mph. At the next event I will be putting the smallest gear possible on the back to increase top speed.

 

 

Very cool except for the lack of sound  :D .  Maybe you throw some speakers on the back and play some speed actuated recorded sound from a 911 or a V-12 Ferrari?  

 

How long can one of these run between battery charges?  What does one of these karts cost?  How many of these are running out your way?  

 

Lol, the lack of sound is incredibly disorienting the first time you drive one. All you hear is a slight whine similar to an RC car, and an immense amount of wind noise. Our current range on these batteries is about 15 miles, but we run into thermal issues before that. After about 5 minutes of flat out driving the batteries will reach temp limits, causing the onboard computer to cut back power in a linear fashion to avoid melting anything. Even when the batteries are hot, we will still have around 30-35hp. A full recharge takes about an hour and a half, so we charge between races with no issues.

 

A brand new kart will run you around $16,000, but we are selling used karts for $5,000 locally on certain terms to try and build our series. The cost of the kart is high, but you have to remember the lack of operational costs when running a kart like this. Gas shifter karts need motor rebuilds every one or two races, transmission rebuilds almost as often, etc. Our karts just need brakes and tires. Our powertrains need no maintenance and will long outlast the life of the kart. This equates to a positive pay-off in 2 years of running the kart. This year we will have eight karts in the field!

 

 

This looks like a lot of fun but I'd be worried at these speeds with the lack of safety gear. At this pace I want a full roll cage and enclosed wheels for sure. But that is just me. The lap times are faster than a SM at MRLS so these things are moving pretty good. Excellent advertisement for EV's in motorsports though as karts are a vehicle that the grassroots enthusiast can relate to. 

Mark

 

Racing karts use similar safety concepts as motorcycle racing. First, we wear suits designed for friction resistance rather than fire resistance. It is safer to be separated from the kart in case of an accident to disperse energy on your own. Second, we do have neck protection devices that act similarly to a HANS, it is called a LEATT. See link. Undoubtedly more dangerous than SM, but no more dangerous than motorcycle racing.


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#6
Ron Alan

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Only 100ftlbs of torque? Dont get DD started :)

 

How much of the 300lbs is battery? How many and voltage? And we thought Miata motors are expensive!


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#7
Tom Sager

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Only 100ftlbs of torque? Dont get DD started :)

 

How much of the 300lbs is battery? How many and voltage? And we thought Miata motors are expensive!

Yeah, pretty tempting to throw some batteries and an electric motor in a 1.6 Miata to up the torque but dammit that kills the weight advantage.  

 

I have driven some indoor karts that are electric and fast and modulating the throttle is tough in those.  It's more like a switch and with a lot of torque it'll surprise you until you get used to it.  Topgear, are your electric karts like that?  The throttle is more like a switch?  


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#8
wheel

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Put on the 50's recording "The Sounds of Sebring"  



#9
Ron Alan

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Put on the 50's recording "The Sounds of Sebring"  

Nah...Ride of the Valkyries!


Ron

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#10
topgear3793

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Only 100ftlbs of torque? Dont get DD started :)

 

How much of the 300lbs is battery? How many and voltage? And we thought Miata motors are expensive!

 

We have two battery modules, they weigh about 40 lbs each. Each battery is 2.8kwh @ 100V!

 

Yeah, pretty tempting to throw some batteries and an electric motor in a 1.6 Miata to up the torque but dammit that kills the weight advantage.  

 

I have driven some indoor karts that are electric and fast and modulating the throttle is tough in those.  It's more like a switch and with a lot of torque it'll surprise you until you get used to it.  Topgear, are your electric karts like that?  The throttle is more like a switch?  

 

No, we have full modulation of power, using a pot box throttle. These karts would be dangerous to drive if the throttle was on/off lol. And yes it's pretty funny that the kart as the same amount of torque as my SM!


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#11
Alberto

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That's pretty cool.  My cousin is a professor of engineering back in upstate NY.  Also works for a company that manufactures electric fork lifts among other things.  He was working on a program to use the electric motors from the fork lifts on the karts as part of the engineering program he was teaching.  I used to race Rotax and KT100 Sr. Sportsman and gave him some info to get him started.

 

What chassis are you using?  How does it handle all that torque? Most are not built with those power levels as design parameters. 


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#12
FTodaro

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Yeah, pretty tempting to throw some batteries and an electric motor in a 1.6 Miata to up the torque but dammit that kills the weight advantage.  

 

 

There you go, got your parity hat on again.


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#13
Tom Sager

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There you go, got your parity hat on again.

Check your trunk frequently, Frank.  If NASA and SCCA don't slap some road hugging weight on your VVT, you might find some extra batteries in your trunk unexpectedly  :P .  


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#14
Ron Alan

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Check your trunk frequently, Frank.  If NASA and SCCA don't slap some road hugging weight on your VVT, you might find some extra batteries in your trunk unexpectedly  :P .  

Actually, very sound advise by Mr. Sager. After my car was taken apart at the NASA Nationals, I decided to put back in a spare I had built a few years ago to put some time on it. First session on track my son came back in and said " I think you left your whole tool box in the trunk!". Well...it wasnt my tool box. How about intake manifold, fuel rail, injectors, cams, and throttle body! DOH  :smash:

 

Right were i had stored them when i picked up the car at the shop :cursing:  (yes...the new motor was basically complete)

 

Back to the thread......... 


Ron

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#15
Todd Tagget

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^^^^^ and what he's not telling you is Kyle did a complete session in it with a full trunk!!!!


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