How to Make an Electric Go Kart




Introduction: How to Make an Electric Go Kart

About: Hello and welcome! My name is Austin. I enjoy creating interesting projects and sharing my projects and ideas with all of you. Please feel free to check out my Youtube channel:

In this Instructable I will be showing you how I transformed an old gas powered go kart into an electric go kart. This project was very time consuming and I am very happy to finally share it with all of you! The hardest part of this project was definitely searching for all of the parts and overcoming issues along the way. This go kart is loads of fun to drive around town and with the current sprocket set up it can go around 50kph!

Before you go through the rest of the steps for this project, you should definitely watch the video that I have posted below. The video will show you plenty of clips of me building the go kart from start to finish and you will also be able to see my drive it! Also, if you enjoy the video you should definitely hit the like button or even consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Most importantly don't forget to follow me here on my Instructables page so that you can see all of my future projects! Let's get started with this project!

Step 1: Buying an Old Go Kart

A while back I was browsing through Kijiji and I came across a rusty old go kart which I ended up purchasing for only $60! This go kart did not run and was overall in very rough shape. All that mattered was it had a lot of the parts that I needed in order to complete this project. I had the idea of making an electric go kart for quite some time and when I saw this go kart for sale I knew it would be the perfect time to get the project started.

Step 2: Restoring the Frame

I spent a lot of time restoring the frame along with some of the original parts. I started by disassembling the entire go kart. The frame was very rusty and all of the old paint was peeling off. The first thing I wanted to do was grind the frame down to bare metal in order to prepare it for a new paint job. After removing all of the rust I realized that the frame was very short and because I am 6' 2" my legs would not fit comfortably. I ended up cutting the frame in half and extending it by 5".

Once that was finished I gave the frame a fresh coat of paint and then slowly began putting the go kart back together. The paint I used was a vibrant orange Rustoleum oil based paint.

Step 3: How It Works

Before I go any further with this Instructable I am going show you all of the parts that I used and show you how everything will work.

The parts that I used were:

  • A 1600W 48V brushless motor
  • A 1600W 48V speed controller
  • A 48V hand throttle with a battery indicator and speed limit switch
  • A 3 pole charge port
  • A key switch
  • And a 48V 12AH lead acid battery pack

I would have much rather used lithium ion, but that would have made things much more expensive.

In the pictures above you will see a diagram that I made so that you can see exactly how I wired everything together.

The motor, speed controller, hand throttle, charge port, battery charger, and batteries were all purchased from:

You can also find most of these parts on Aliexpress.

Step 4: Making the Foot Throttle

One of the first things that I did was convert the hand throttle into a foot throttle. I started by disassembling the throttle and removing the battery indicator, as well as the speed limit switch. I will be re using the battery indicator later on but I won't be re using the speed limit switch.

I then took some measurements and designed a foot pedal on Tinkercad which I then printed using black ABS. The pedal just slides on and is fastened into place with two screws. I then covered up the existing holes so no dust will get inside and added a spring to give it more tension. I also added a stopper so the pedal can't get pressed too hard and snap.

Here is a link to the .STL file:

Step 5: The Build

Here are some pictures of me assembling the go kart so you can see how I put everything together.

The original rear hubs were seized onto the 1" live axle. I was forced to cut them off with a grinder and look for new ones. Luckily my neighbor had some old wheels in his shed so I took them apart and cleaned them up. Originally these hubs had bearings inside and were not made to go onto a live axle. What I did was removed the bearings and welded on some weld on hubs from Princess Auto.

The seat that originally came on the go kart was broken in half. The new seat is a LEIFARNE seat shell from IKEA and it works perfectly!

I used Molex connectors to connect all of the electrical components together. All of the electrical components get connected to the speed controller. The speed controller is fasted inside of a 6"W x 8"L x 3"H aluminum project box. On one side of the project box there is a flexible grommet which all of the wires can be fed through. The other side of the project box is where I fastened the charge port. On top of the project box is where I put the key switch as well as the battery indicator. I put heat shrink around the battery indicator to avoid any short circuits.

The go karts brake is a simple disc brake which is connected to a foot pedal at the front with a length of threaded rod.

The sprocket on the motor is a 12 tooth sprocket and the sprocket on the axle is a 61 tooth sprocket. The chain size is #35. The sprocket on the motor is custom made. I welded a 12 tooth sprocket from princess auto onto the T8 sprocket that came with it.I ran the motor and held a flap disk to it in order for the outer diameter of the old sprocket to fit inside of the new one. That way it could be welded on perfectly straight.

Step 6: Things to Know

Overall I had a lot of fun building this go kart and it works better than I expected! Although there are some features that can be added. One very important thing that I am missing is a chain guard.

I have yet to determine how far it can go on one charge (I will update this when I know). I only drive the go kart for about 20 minutes at a time. I do this just to allow the motor to cool off.

Also, for better results try to keep the weight of your go kart as light as possible. This will result in better performance.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

I hope that you all enjoyed this Instructable! Don't for get to follow me here on Instructables and to Subscribe to my YouTube channel! Thanks for reading and watching :)

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    59 Discussions


    10 days ago

    What's the gear ratio?

    Is this the gokart that featured in the alternator to motor conversion video? That was a great idea (even if those poor batteries couldn't take the strain for long)

    How much would you spend if you used a 2000w 60v brushless and lithium battery?


    1 year ago

    very nice job!

    Maybe you could use a "peltier cooler" to drop the temperature of your engine!

    3 replies

    Best way to cool the motor would be to use a fan, just like railroad locomotives do. They call it the traction motor blower. It's a squirrel cage fan that blows filtered air down from the body to the axle mounted motors. Here, you could mount the fan on the motor, or put it on the side of the frame next to it. The end bells already have air holes, so you'd blow it in one end and out the other. Myself I'd go from the solid end to the chain side, but I'd remove the screen to reduce air restriction and probably enlarge the holes by 50% or so.

    Next question is what blower to use. I'd go with as high a dc voltage as I could find, or build a chopper for it to use a 12V motor off the 48V so it doesn't present as much a load. A squirrel cage blower would be a better choice than an axial flow fan... better flow rate, better pressure capability and less noise.

    I have one of these motors for a project with a foot pedal controller, I haven't put it all together yet though, but this relights the fire to get it started.

    A peltier has a hot and cold side. It would just move the heat half an inch

    A peltier or peltiers big enough to be effective would drain the battery faster than the motor.

    The better bet would be to use a larger motor that would produce the same or better results as this one. Though the weight's increased, the actual consumption shouldn't since the bigger one doesn't have to work as hard.

    Yes you can. The battery won't last as long and you'll have to make sure that you buy a motor controller that can handle the extra current.


    Question 4 months ago

    Impressive job!
    What is the final length of your frame?
    Could you give general dimensions of your chassis please?
    Thank you beforehand!

    can you use a 2000w 48v brushless instead of a 1600w?

    CAN you show the wiring set up your have and if You ordered from Hypertoyz please ?

    Can glum show youe wiring diagram ? I ordered the sameness setup but the 48v 1800w motor package and something isn’t right with then setup. Either a short or something wasn’t plugged in correctly. Thank you

    I made a different version, but after about 25 feet the plug pulled out of the wall!

    4 replies

    RetBill, When I was 10 years old my friend and I built an electric go kart. We used an old solid wood door for the platform and an electric motor out of a washing machine. Then we gathered up over 100 feet of extension chord. We could go about 70 feet each direction. We only had one speed, FAST. Our brake was to hold your hand up and the other guy pulled the plug. I had forgotten about our adventure until I read your post. Thanks.

    LOL!! I signed up just to give you a high five for this comment. Now that is awesome!!!


    I appreciate your response. I read your comment and mine to my wife. Apparently I had not ever told her before. She is still laughing.


    8 months ago

    Great Article!

    Where can I get a FOOT POWERED CRATE- ON- WHEELS like those made in the 50's and 60's?

    I also see your video in this post

    It's great go karts review, are you the owner of the website?

    Thank you