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George Fortin with his Z-Kart – Click above to watch video after the jump

We first happened across George Fortin and his cool cart-building ways a few years ago when he uploaded some footage of himself enjoying his sweet home-built electric ride. Since then, more than 104,000 people have watched that video and over 1,200 were intrigued and interested enough to shoot off an email to our light electric vehicle (LEV) protagonist asking about kit plans, availability and such.

Apparently, George wasn't satisfied with that earlier model – something about it not being quite sturdy enough and wheels collapsing under hard cornering – and so it remained the only one built. Until now. A video has emerged featuring one of his friends trying out his brand new creation, the Z-Kart. And it is super sweet.

Using some heavy-duty plastic for the frame and motorcycle tires mounted on wheels from a sand rail, this latest iteration seems totally up to the task of providing tons of serious gas-free fun. It's limited to 40 miles per hour, but gets there pretty quickly. Its range hasn't been fully established, but the AGM batteries can get you at least 20 miles down the trail. Hit the jump to get the complete lowdown on the machine as explained by George himself. We've also thrown in the clip of his buddy's test drive and a secret – and slightly illicit – night drive through the neighborhood. One final thing. George, get a helmet!

[Source: George Fortin]










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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 3 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice work.

      All you need now is to get it street legal and figure out a way to hang some panniers on it. It'd be a fun little grocery getter.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like the design, except for no front suspension. But a four wheel design will never be street legal. Way too many federal rules even if you could get your local govt to allow it. However, in most jurisdictions three wheeled vehicles are considered motorcycles and thus can be street legal. There has been a kit electric 3 wheel "cart" available for several years now that even has a canopy and a suspension. Similar price but only needs assembly not fabrication. Just missing that extra rear wheel:

      http://www.bugev.net/BugE_Concept.html

      Looks good to me. But I have had too much experience with lead acid battery vehicles to get another. When I can get standard sized Li batts cheap enough I will bite.

      Also, anyone who thinks you can get by without genuine good suspension on a vehicle that exceeds 25 mph hasn't tried it. In a carefully chosen parking lot or a smooth dirt park you can pull it off. But for real transportation where other traffic will force you to traverse potholes, ruts, dips, speed bumps, etc. you need suspension. Lack of it can be very painful and can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and get squashed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      nice build, great video, good lighting, good quality camera.
      I saw his first vehicle and that was dangerous stuff. no seatbelt sitting out in the open and going car speeds and turns at high speed on bicycle rims : ) he could get hurt.
      this is a more robust vehicle but still fairly dangerous. seatbelt and roll bar would help a lot.

      smart to drive an illegal vehicle when there are few cars around, not so smart to video tape it and broadcast it : )
      but EVs can be fun.

      not sure the etek was built for floor buffers though. afaik they were built for outboard motors for boats. designed by briggs and stratton by a guy named John Fiorenza and built in china by a different company. that company was bought and didn't want to make the motor anymore so it's extinct. there is a replacement though by mars electric that's a drop-in replacement.
      it's not an efficient motor though, at peak it's decent but for cruising it is awful unfortunately. I wanted to base a design on it but that's no good when it approaches 50% efficiency in smooth cruise. for his vehicle it's probably ok since it's for lively horseplay.