Kart driving is full of dilemmas: whether to attempt an overtake or exercise patience, whether to switch to slick tires on a drying track or stick with wet tires, whether to go for a kart with gears or without. Nowadays, drivers also have to make the choice between petrol-powered and electric karts. So, which kart should you choose? To address this question, let’s examine both types of karts and explore their differences.
If we look at the amateur level, drivers often start karting at a later age. They used to have two options: a single-speed kart or a shifter kart. Now there is a third option – electric.
A shifter kart is more like a regular racing car with a six-speed gearbox, but it’s much more expensive and physically demanding. One further downside is the lack of an electric starter, which means that you always need a helping hand to start the engine.
On the other hand, if you make a mistake, you can shift down, get the revs and torque back up, and correct your mistake. With a single-speed kart, you don’t have this option, so any mistakes will cost you more. And then you have the electric kart. Electric karts combine all the characteristics of shifter karts, but they are still single-speed karts, and you can start the motor simply by pressing one button. If you make a mistake in a corner, the huge torque of the electric motor means that you don’t lose revs and can drive on like nothing happened. Hence it is the most “forgiving” kart.
However, for a professional racing driver, the switch from a petrol kart to electric would be a tough one. There are two main reasons for this. At the moment, electric karts are not as popular as petrol, so drivers have fewer races and competitions that they can enter. Secondly, professional drivers are used to everything associated with a petrol kart, and they have an emotional attachment to the old technology.
Does size matter?
When it comes to regular single-speed karts, size does matter. If you are on the heavier side, it’s quite a disadvantage. With shifter karts, it is less of an issue, and with electric karts, it’s not an issue at all. The massive torque of the electric motor can compensate for the size of the driver.
In the end, the choice is clear. If you are an amateur driver with no or limited experience in kart racing, it’s much easier to drive and maintain an electric kart and to get the same speed and performance as with petrol. What’s more, you will be one of the first to own an electric kart, so you’re sure to get some impressed wows from the people around you.
After purchasing an electric kart, you have close to zero costs for maintenance and fuel. The only thing that you have to change is the tires.
Single-speed karts are the cheapest entry point for kart racing, but after that, you have to invest quite a lot to keep the kart going and even more if you want to stay competitive.
Are you still unsure? The only way to decide is to give it a go!