How to make engineering more fun – build your electric go-kart
Working on software development and hardware that’s reshaping the automotive industry, takes a good dose of inventiveness. How to keep that alive? Build an electric kart, for instance. Two of our colleagues from AROBS Software Moldova are the best example of “work hard, play harder.” Using their crafting knowledge they showed us how engineers can keep the passion awake. Meanwhile, the EV market is growing faster by the year, projecting unit sales to reach 14,814.8K vehicles in 2026, according to statista.com. The statistics show that automotive engineering is channeling its best technologies into building new electric models, both for mobility and entertainment purposes.
A short history of the go-kart
The first go-kart was created in Los Angeles by Art Ingels in 1956. A year after, the first race took place in a parking lot of the famous Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Later on, karting continued to grow in the form of outdoor and indoor. Of course, indoor carting with go-karts powered by gasoline became an issue because of the gases released in the air. That was the moment when the electric kart entered the scene. Unfortunately, there are no clear facts about the first inventor of the electric kart. However, it seems that George Clemente, a real estate broker, is the inventor of Z-Kart, the first zero-emission vehicle, back in 2011. Nevertheless, we do know one thing – our Moldavian colleagues’ E-Type model is most probably the first built from scratch in the Republic of Moldova.
The story of the “E-Type” electric kart
“After having fun racing with a kart on gasoline, I came up with the idea of making an electric one for indoor use because it doesn’t produce exhaust fumes. As a concept, I decided to use an existing chassis and put in an electric motor instead of the conventional one. My colleague, Ștefan and I, did not intend to do a lot of engineering but rather have to have a quick and cheap solution. We wanted to test the possibilities of the engine as interactively as possible.“, says Sergiu, an automotive engineer and the architect of the engine.
Initially, they decided to use ready-made components and go out with the test drive as soon as possible. But after a few tests with low-cost Chinese components, it was clear that they would reach their goal without investing additional time. “Thus, we had to look for other solutions with which to keep a budget in a good area and at the same time to have a technical solution that is competitive with a conventional petrol kart. The prototype engine adapted from a truck alternator was ready in a few weeks. Still, it was not as expected, but perfect enough to understand that we are moving in the right direction, and this has served as motivation for the last two years. Gradually we managed to make and test three versions of the same engine and battery packs.” concludes Sergiu.
The project was also possible with the help of Vitalie Gladis, head of the FabLab Engineering Center at the Technical University of Moldova, who contributed to solving technical/mechanical problems, including the introduction of welding and automatic turning in the art.
When the prototype reached its first version, they decided to call it the “Type-E” in honor of the first race cars made in the early 20th century.
Cool fact: The kart can have the same speed in both directions, while a conventional kart cannot go backward.
Even an electric kart can give you adrenaline
Most of us would associate adrenaline with gasoline-powered engines with hundreds of horse-power under the hood. Well, who said that an electric kart couldn’t give you extreme sensations? While trying to measure the engine’s torque, improvising an assembly, it might have become a bit dangerous, we could say. Sometimes taking a risk is part of the journey and necessary for discovery in automotive engineering.
As for the future, Ștefan and Sergiu want to organize a race on a kart track where the kart can reach its top speed and compete with a burning kart. They are also thinking of building a charging station to charge the battery quickly.
Made in Republica Moldova
Although The Republic of Moldova is an automotive provider of components produced in large power plants and software development for classical, hybrid, and electric cars, it has not yet developed a niche for this sport dedicated to children and adults. Given the context, our colleagues might be the first to electrify a kart in Moldova.
We can only be excited for them and keep a close eye on their future achievements.