Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Since its completion, the kart has been in-and-out of the garage quite frequently. At each opportunity to take the kart out on the street we don't miss it. Everywhere we go, we're approached by crowds of interested onlookers, people turn their heads to see our contraption drive around, people smile. Our kart draws attention from very young to very old, and everyone seems to welcome the growing idea of using electricity as a resource for transportation. We're glad that our kart is becoming an example and a first experience for our audience. (yes, taking the kart out is becoming some sort of a performance)

Here's a long post with summaries of events that we attended with the electric kart.

13-16 August 2009: HAR2009

The first trip with the electric kart was to HAR2009, the event that was our deadline for completing the kart. The kart was very well received by the participants/hackers/technologists/nerds/... at the conference. Over 100 visitors tested the kart.

In the picture below, you can see the kart in the camping field in front of our tent.

If you look closely to the front right wheel in the above picture, you'll see we encountered a small problem, a burst tire. A friendly karting center in the neighborhood provided us with new front slicks, for free! We tipped the guy who willingly changed our tires generously, this saved our weekend!

Here's the rear "blinkenlights" light for the electric we constructed while at HAR2009, doing its thing:

I love the following shot of the electric kart. Hiding from the sun behind a towel, I'm trying to get my EEE PC working on the wireless network of the hacker camp site.

Summary: Visiting HAR with the electric kart was wicked. We had a blast with our kart and so did many others.

20 September 2009: Car Free Day in the historical center of Antwerp

On this sunday, the center of Antwerp was car free. People were invited to come onto the streets, but without their car. Well, as our kart is not considered to be a car by law, we took it downtown and drove it around in the midst of a less technically oriented audience (as compared to HAR2009). The response was beyond what we could've expected, people were very fond of the electric kart. We had various chats with many people, took the kart for some wild spins on the usually crowdy downtown streets, and had lots of fun.

Obviously, some hacking was required as well. In the following picture, Tim and Walle are fixing some wiring of the kart at a café on the central market place, smack in the middle of the historical center of Antwerp.

17 October 2009: Spa Francorchamps

Across the street from my house is a garage that specializes in Citroën 2CV cars. Pieter, the owner of the place, has an extremely modified 2CV car that he enters in the yearly 24 hours endurance for 2CV race cars at the Formula 1 circuit in Spa-Francorchamps.

Pieter wanted to take the kart along as a gadget to drive around the terrain. He had a blast, and obviously we (Tim and Anthony) also attended the race to play around with our electric kart.

Here's the kart in a pit stop, in the same place where F1 cars come for their maintenance :)

3 November 2009: Indoor karting

Unexpectedly, Pieter had arranged for us to take the kart into the indoor racing track of Inkart. So I got out of work, drove down to the track and had fun to demo the kart to the track owners.

Everyone who could gave it a try driving it around the track and everyone had experiences to share. Yes, this kart drives very differently because of its non-stop high torque, batteries on more powerful karts unfortunately suck (for now) and no, you don't have the smell and sound of a gas guzzling engine. Developments in technology and the market of batteries are promising and may very soon be changing the whole market of karting as entertainment. It seems that electric karts may just as well become widespread in just a few years' time. We'll keep on evolving and developing our kart to try and get ahead of the hype. Electric kicks gas!

So, what's up next? Electric kart version 2.0? More soon.