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home built go Kart, electric V.S gas Answered

Me and a friend of min have been wanting to build a go cart. Right now were in the planing stage and the first Question is to use an electric or a gas motor. If any one has any impute on which is cheaper, quicker, simpler, safer.

A top speed of 40mph or so is good enough.
My dad can weld (and is teaching us) he is an electrical engineer
i have a fully working washing machine motor (most likely to small to use)
also have a lawn mower engine

when i say top i mean like best of best
"top electric cart" (not my video)

"top gas cart" (not my video)



The diffrence between the two is that one is set up for drifting and one for racing.

Gas I my favorite. If you are only starting the sport start with somthing like a 12hp gas go kart.

I'm making a go kart with a 250 polaris engine, i think it should go faster than an electric engine

I have a xbox steering wheel laying around I am thinking of making my go-cart and using this as the steering wheel and because my go-cart will be electric I can use the buttons as controls like lights and accelerator does any 1 else have any good suggestions plz

That would not work....well easily. It would either involve interfacing the wheel into digitally controlling the axle or an easier way would be to remove the wheel from it's base and then use it to turn the axle. To use the buttons the way you want to, you would have to find a way to use the USB connection, which is digital, to control all of these "analog" things. An easier way to do that would be to remove all the internal electronics and replace it with custom circuitry to control the lights and accelerator. I think that in the end there would be to much work to repurpose something that could be more easily built from scratch.

a car/truck starter? they get hot fast but lots of power ,washing maching motor is not strong and is a A.C. motor would need an inverter :( solenoids to steer the cart then x-box would work good

You should use gas, electric motors have very little horse power, while gas works great for horse power and plus, you only need a 12v battery for the spark plugs while a 12v motor will only get 1/8 h.p. at the most. and if you do find a 2 h.p. 12v electric motor, it'll be pricy, I looked it up. so thumbs up to gas.

build electric - safer

I would have an electric motor on each wheel from a heavy duty electric scooter maybe.. and use a weed whacker motor to charge them up when they get dead because charging batteries conventionally is a bi@#$

I forgot to say use a couple of car or marine batteries


a) because its green =)

b) because ur if you plan on ever driving it out and around the street ur neighbors might get pissed off at a loud gas engine, electrics quite

c) gas=boom, electric=shock but if you do it properly u wont have any problems so electrics probably safer and cheaper

d) electrics easier to maintain

e) gas you have to buy gas...do you REALLY want to have to buy gas at like 200000 dollars every liter?

c) Gas burns (rarely explodes) but with the current that you will need it's deadly. d) electrics yes, batteries no.

Answer Hydrogen Fuel cell. all i need is a 300 Cubic inch 4500 PSi tank and a Converter thing. and an open flame nothing could go wrong.

Don't forget the $10k or more you will need for a cell (or cells) that will give enough current and voltage... : )

Go ELECTRIC!!!!! Crazy amounts of torque and power will be at your fingertips (or toe tips if your using a traditional pedal). No clutch would be required, and to solve range attach alternators to the motor so as you use electricity you gain it back with higher amps. Use 2 -4 Car batteries in the rear so you can use the wieght as an advantage not just dead weight. You could also make your own batteries (if your the adventerous type) and use them to put distribute weight all over, and if you use a pre - made motor use something that puts out about 12 horsepower and if you make your own, make it the biggest, baddest, and coolest motor that can fit. If you can keep your electric motor cool it will boost effency and power, plain and simple, i recommend an water to air cooling system, while not the most effecient, its better then a air - air and safer than a air - water system (because that would require routing water through an area with water) or a water - water system (for the same reason). Hope this helped =). - Delerium


9 years ago

I have an idea but first I want to say that neither are good because electrics are slow and combustions dangerous. Now, my idea is a simple one, but it works. It will also be hard to make because of the different parts. It's a air hybrid, working continuously until you run out of battery, and all you have left is the air in tank.

hi there have you started ur kart yet as ive 2 here and maybe could sell 1 if interested

i would say gas because its alot cheaper

For low initial cost, I like gas, but for almost anything else, I like electric. The list of advantages you could get by using electric would include: better reliability, quieter, wider torque band, don't have to pay for gas, etc. etc. I just wish I could afford it.

if i used a washing machine motor would one or maybe two car battries power it??

yes, estimated top speed down hill...3mph. 745.7 Watts make up one horse power. i found a 15 horse power engine (horizontal shaft) 400Ccs for $200 on a camping trip in Front royal Va (we saw flee market on way home) didnt buy it though.

go gas don't have to charge it and its cheap good fun fast and u can make adjustments pretty easy

go gas I have a go kart with a briggs&stratton; 5hp flat head I put strait pipe(no muffler) on it its pretty fast just don't start it at night it will upset people! for acceleration use small wheels on back, for top speed use bigger wheels. make sure you have a kill switch!

If your a babby and want cheap esy go gas. If you want a fun (streat legal under 1000 watts) go electric smoke less noise less. lawn mower engine will not work vertical shaft.

Electrics have crazy fun torque at any rpm, while gas has its power only in one small band. Of course range is a consideration, and gas wins there. Plus if you went electric you'd need a LOT of batteries to get good power and run time, which gets heavy. Personally, if I has going to just stay around home, I'd use electric since it's quiet, fun, and all that, but if I was going out in the boonies I'd use gas all the way. But either way, you need something stronger than a washing machine motor. I met a guy with a pretty badass electric chainsaw once. Of course I love to overcomplicate things, so have you considered a hybrid? Electric with a generator on board or waiting in your truck? Then you'd get all the benefits of electric with the range of gas. I suddenly feel the need to build a hybrid go kart. (scurries off to build it) Mwahahahaha!

Well the thing about the gas powered cart pictured is its running a suzuki gsx-r1100 engine which is making at least 114 HP, man that thing must be scary fun to drive. Personally I would say go with a gas engine as long as you weigh less than 100 LBS 5 hp will work for you get a horizontal shaft briggs and stratton and a centrifugal clutch with a #35 chain sprocket premounted. You can get a lot of the parts you will need through grainger if you live in the states. Electric looks like a lot more fun but it will cost a lot more, and you wont get much run time compared to charge time. If you live near Worcester mass I have a old one thats far to small for me now and needs a lot of work, but its free to any one willing to come get it

Think about this: your in your electric go cart having the time of your life when the battery runs out. now you have to wait ten million hours for the battery to charge. I'd go gas.

Build a hybrid. That can be green and quiet or it can go the distance. Make a cheap "hydrogen generator" and run it partially off Brown's Gas. I just don't trust CHEAP electrics to get me there, AND BACK. Decent electrics are usually prohibitively expensive for a 'toy'.

I'd say use a chainsaw, since all you need is some pullys, and that the electric will probably more complicated unless you buy a pre made modle and still might be difficult

i would go for gas, but that would involve a clutch. a little harder, but i think better

Oh, and i had a razr electric go cart. It had to be charged or six to eight hours before i could ride it for 45 minutes

If you're looking to just start into the go kart stuff I would suggest a beefier say 12hp generator motor from honda, there are cheaper ones but these are indestructible, a simple centrifugal clutch and a few bits of handiwork can make it in to a useful starter to a go kart, that and the engines are easy to sell on without much money loss, also being horizontal shaft is easier. You can bring them up to 4500rpm instead of 3500 with a different governor spring, they come with pull start or electric if you're posh, built on fuel tank, choke, throttle and ignition control, and depending on age some have a seperate killswitch. All that said as a starter your dad is an electrical engineer, which would make electric seem sensible, the washing machine motor wont cut it though. You could borrow one from an electric forkilft and remove some of the reductions on gearing for better speed. Or lie in wait at the traffic lights and chop shop a prius... Other amusing things to build, a steam powered go kart/boat/tank , a jet engine, a golf/tennis ball cannon (perfect for the washing machine motor), a radio controlled electric go kart, a really really fast electric bicycle, rather than a go kart maybe a trike, just for kicks...

I've messed with gas and other sorts of fuel in my lifetime of 50 years and right now I'd say go electric because after watching those videos it seems to be faster and much easier to get faster than it is with gas, I am like everyone else, I hate to see the gas motor with it's great sound and all go but I guess it's timeBTW,I'm a machinist who has owned his own shop for the past 20 years after working for the MAN for what seemed like a life time,lolgood luck son

How many batteries do you have? Electric costs big up front, batteries don't last long (per charge or lifetime) and, if you want speed, are going to be heavy (which cuts down on speed...) Gas is (relatively) cheep, fast to 'recharge' (do you want to wait several hours for your batteries to charge for your turn?), and easily available. The washing machine motor would need several batteries to run IF it works (gotta get the voltage up) and is going to be slow at 1/2 to 3/4 horsepower. Speed control might be a problem-some motors are easy to slow down, others are all or nothing. Washing machine motors often have two speeds (1750 and 1050?rpm), so outside regulation might be difficult. If the lawn mower engine is a vertical shaft (standard push mower) you are going to need some form of transmission to get the power horizontal to the wheels (unless you are going to make some kind of friction drive where a disk on the mower-replacing the blade-that rubs on a wheel).

at the moment i dont have any batteries. thats one huge set back for electric power

I suggest electric. The PWM system will cost about the same as a clutch. The batteries would cost about 100 dollars, a gas tank would cost 20 dollars. for bedals for electric you just need a potentiometer to control the PWM, but for gas it's a valve and a gas tube. The motor and an engine would cost the same, along with the gears. You have to pay for gas and go buy it, where you can just plug in a electric overnight. Electric is much quieter, and safer.

A clutch for a chain drive is about $20 new (Northern Hydrolics), gas tank comes with the engine and the throttle is built in. Not all electric motors are speed controllable with a simple potentiometer (I've tried). Electric out of the wall still costs money, you are just making sure that your parents are paying the bill : )

Electric -Safer, cheaper, simpler Only bad thing is you can't stop by at bp and hit the road again. Hybrid?