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You know what's a lot – a lot – of fun? Racing. You know what's really expensive? Also, racing.
Fortunately, there's cheaper way of getting into the sport of testing the limits of man-melded-to-machine than going out and building or buying a full-fledged race car. Yup, go-karts! You want to compete in Formula 1 when you grow up? This is where you start. (For an in-depth look at the sport, check out Autoblog's epic 7-part Introduction To Karting.)

Unfortunately, the shrunken wonders have long been kind of noisy and, perhaps, more than a little dirty. Think smokey two-stroke engines with minimal mufflerage. Now, however, that's beginning to change, and one of those at the forefront of this shift is Rattlesnake Electric Sport. They've launched a line of electric go-karts that are competitive with modern gas-powered machines that can put you neck deep in wheel-to-wheel racing action.
Working with Bridge Service Motor Company, Performance Fabrication and others, this outfit has taken the same components that one would find in the 2013 bikes from Zero Motorcycles, and engineered them to reside, quite contentedly, within a go-kart chassis. Like the bikes, that's good enough for 54 horsepower and 65 pound-feet of torque. Or, in rubber-meeting-road terms, 0-to-60 miles per hour happens in about four seconds and the thrills don't stop until you reach the vicinity of 125 mph. It's little wonder they were faster around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca than all other comers, save for Eric Bostrom on the Brammo Empulse RR, at the recent Refuel SportElectric TT.

electric go kart

There are other electric go-karts out there, of course. But, not only are the Rattlesnakes much faster than than the ones you'd find at, say, K1 Speed indoor karting facilities, they are also built to comply with the new FIA e-Kart regulations. Yes, it seems the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile's involvement with the upcoming Formula E series has opened its eyes to other electric sport categories and it's preparing for future involvement.

While all this is pretty awesome, what we're really excited about is the fact that they've also started
an electric kart racing series. It just makes sense. Why buy a crazy-quick racer without having a place to stretch its legs and, perhaps, test your mettle? The Rattlesnake Electric Sport Championship is already in the midst of its inaugural 10-race season and, while its something of a regional series tied in with Red Line Oil Karting Championship right now, it certainly has the potential to develop into something much bigger over time.

To get a taste of some electric kart-racing action, scroll down for video of a feature from a recent event at the Simraceway Performance Driving Center at Sonoma raceway. As we've got more from Refuel 2013, including this race write-up and our hot laps in a Fiat 500e.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      Tweaker
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thats great. A little more information about such things as range and charge time would be nice. Not to mention, price.
        Domenick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tweaker
        The karts use two batteries each from Zero Motorcycles for a 5.7 kWh total capacity. They are sold with two chargers an so can charge up in about an hour. The website states range as good for a feature race. I believe they can also be run with just one battery and in that case can last for a heat. Prices are between $17,000 and $20,000 depending on which options you'd like. They, of course, hope to bring this down somewhat as volume increases.
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Domenick
          50% price reduction would be more realistic!
      Richard Hilleman
      • 1 Year Ago
      Dom got it Right. We run 9-10 mile features, same as the Gas Guys. We are able to run practice, qualifying and two heats while charging between each session, and be fully charged for the feature. Using one battery really isn't practical, as you get half current, and half power. We run with gas guys on track all the time, so we need to be no compromise. We are about the same two year cost as a 125 Shifter kart, we are about as fast, we are more reliable (400 race laps with no DNFs do far), and we are more evenly matched. We really don't give anything up except some noise...
      • 6 Months Ago
      50% reduction in price would be more realistic.
      • 6 Months Ago
      50% reduction in price would be more realistic.
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess I was wrong the Dan-mobile did go into production !!! ;-)