Batteries are often the most discussed and scrutinized component of electric karts. In this article, we aim to provide a basic understanding of batteries and offer tips on how to optimize your karting experience.
Historically, batteries were large, heavy, and contained various chemicals. When they stopped working, they had to be replaced, which was an expensive process. However, advancements in technology have led to batteries becoming much smaller, lighter, and most importantly, environmentally friendly. They can now provide more power for their weight, and with ongoing progress in the industry, their performance continues to improve every year. Technological solutions have also made battery manufacturing more affordable and eco-friendly, resulting in lighter batteries. Annual progress in battery technology is estimated to be between 10%-15%. The progress made over the past decade has been remarkable, but we anticipate even greater advancements in the next 10 years. The Blue Shock Race team is committed to driving that progress and staying at the forefront of battery technology.
What affects battery lifetime?
Currently, the most common type of batteries are Lithium batteries. The lifetime of Lithium batteries is most affected by temperature. If batteries are regularly overheated, they rapidly lose their performance. We often associate it with fast charging, however fast charging itself is not harmful, it is the temperature that harms when the battery is quickly charged or discharged. The more successfully you are able to organize these processes, the lower the temperature of the battery and the longer the lifetime of the battery.
Depending on the type of battery, the optimal operating temperature is between 20-40 degrees of Celsius. The BSR batteries also provide outstanding performance qualities even at 55 degrees, which is especially important for high-performance equipment such as racing karts.
How to better control the temperature?
The first thing that should be avoided is a critically low or complete discharge of the battery (0%-10%). When the discharge level is below 20%, an additional load is placed on the battery, which in turn creates a higher temperature and requires more recharging time.
Another thing to avoid is charging the battery in the sun or in a hot place. Ideally, when charging the battery, it should be cooled using an air blower or fan.
On days when there are training rides and it is possible to plan the ride time, we recommend shorter training rides, but more sessions, in this way the battery can be charged in a shorter time, it heats up less and, as a result, you get a longer total ride time. The battery does not necessarily have to be 100% charged before rides, it can be used even if the charge is not complete. During training, it is even recommended not to charge 100%, but up to 90%, this allows you to speed up the battery charging and prolong the battery lifetime.
The battery does not go down right in one day, it stops functioning when the BMS sensors detect a critical level in one of the measurements and immediately stop the operation of the entire system. The stop of the operation means that one of the critical elements either is damaged or may not be used for safety reasons. In most cases, if the problem is not critical, the battery can be restarted and it performs like a new one, but if there is a physically significant damage, then it must be taken to BSR specialists, where during the warranty or after the warranty, the problem is diagnosed and most often solved at no extra cost, or for very little fee. According to BSR data, the annual battery wear of an average electric kart user is around 5% of the original capacity. After two to three years of intensive use of electric kart, the capacity of the battery may decrease to 20% of the original. Such batteries usually continue to be used in the case of rent, or they are used for training purposes in the case of sports, but for competitions, a new one with less wear is used. In fact, the battery never stops functioning, but rather loses its capacity over time.
What to do with a “dead” battery?
When you decide to change your old battery for a new one, BSR ensures the collection of the old battery and a 20% discount for a new one, so you do not have to think about disposing of the old battery.
After receiving the old batteries, BSR conducts their inspection to obtain data and analysis, then recycles them into reusable batteries in alternative projects, thus they continue their operation for another 10-15 years and only after that, do they go to recycling, where ~98% of the materials is used in the manufacturing of new batteries. Such a full cycle not only ensures that the use of the batteries creates as little pollution as possible, but also reduces the cost of manufacturing new batteries.
The most important thing for long-term use is the temperature management. The more intensive the load, the more it heats up, causing additional wear in the long term. After the battery has served its life on a kart, it is further used in other technological solutions and after another 10-15 years it is recycled and starts a new cycle – in a car, motorcycle or your next electric kart. Keep control over the temperature and your investment will last for a long.