This is an electric go-kart that I built for my son. I downloaded the plans for the itzy-bitzy go-kart from spider carts: Itzy-Bitzy plans
These are a good set of plans, but I wanted my son to be able to use the go-kart on some wooded trails so I modified the plans a bit. I changed it to a live axle setup and gave it a little more ground clearance. Of course, I also made it so that it had storage for some batteries and a mount for the electric motor.
I learned a few lessons from this kit. Much like cars, it’s simpler and cheaper to buy one that is already built. This was an expensive project, but it gave me the opportunity to practice welding, learn how to square a frame and just spend productive time in the garage. I would do it again, I just want to clarify that it is not the cheapest route. Of course, the disc brakes and live axle setup added considerable costs to the project.
I’m only listing the parts that are specific to the electric drive system. Most of the other parts are standard go-kart parts that you can pick up from any go-kart supply shop.
Controller: Kelly Controller, 36 V, 100 A, Mini DC Controller - KDS36100E
Motor: 500W Motor – 24 Volts with Mounting Bracket (Style: MY1020-B) Note: this 24V motor has been operating fine at 36V for over a year now.
Throttle: Hall Effect Foot Pedal. Works off of 5V. The Kelly Controller can be configured to work with various types of throttles.
Axle Sprocket: I’m using a 70 tooth, #25 sprocket from Mcmaster-Carr. Part no. 2737T355
Check out the pictures below.
Here is the basic frame. This part of the frame is the same basic setup as the plans. Except for the part behind the live-axle.
Next are two pictures of the steering setup. I added a cross-brace beneath the steering wheel. If my son is anything like me, he’s going to be hard on his vehicles, so I figured a little additional bracing wouldn’t hurt. This also allowed me to move the steering tower bars in a little so that he would not have to wrap his legs as far around them, and have them hanging out of the kart. That’s more important since he would be riding in the woods. Probably not a big deal for a yard kart.
Just a side shot that shows the ground clearance. There is about 7″ of clearance in the front which is almost double what most yard karts have. I was a little concerned about it tipping over, but so far, there has been no issue with it wanting to come up on two wheels.
Here we are test-fitting the sitting position. The boy certainly does like to pose for the camera.
Here’s a shot from the rear that kind of shows the caliper and rear disc setup. The axle is just a 36″ long, 1″ diameter axle. At this point I had not decided where I was going to mount the electric motor, so the lower sprocket is just hanging out in the middle of the axle.
Here’s the first iteration of the kart with the 24V system. I figured that the 24V setup would be short lived so I just rigged a temporary mount for the batteries and the controller. I was right, he was asking for power pretty quickly. Also, the cheap scooter controller lost a FET so this is when I decided on purchasing a 100A Kelly Controller.
Here’s a picture with the 36V battery pack and the new controller. This controller required a couple of switches and a relay, so all of that is housed in the project box beneath the controller.
Here are a couple of videos. The first one is running at 24V. Top speed somewhere around 12-14mph, which really is enough for a small backyard. The second video is at 36V. It’s closer to an estimated speed of 20mph, which to be honest is a little scary to watch him scoot around the yard that fast.