Friday, April 27, 2012

K1 Speed Electric Go Karts!

I was up in the San Francisco Bay area with a day on my hands, so of course I went to Fry's and then I discovered the K1 Speed electric Go Kart location in San Jose.

The building is cavernous, with a pit area and a great track with some nice chicanes and hairpin turns.

The karts are remotely manageable - they can halt them, put them into slow mode, a little faster mode and balls-to-the-wall mode.  The acceleration and handling of these cars is nothing short of spectacular.

It's a very popular place on a Saturday afternoon, with groups of people coming in to race each other and a series of birthday parties.

Of course I was interested in the electric nature of the cars and the charging systems.  The karts have 20 HP DC motors and can go up to 60 mph.  Here's the charger, it can handle one kart on each side.

The charger has 3 charging phases, and it keeps track of current, voltage, battery capacity, battery energy absorption and charging time.  I was in trickle charge mode at this point.

It's a DC charger, using an Anderson connector with a large handle, dumping power right into the batteries.  The pit crew was very skilled at guiding drivers into the pits, flipping the power switch, and plugging in the charger.  When a new group of drivers is belted in, they pull the plug, flip the switch and guide them out onto the track.

I did the 3-session deal for I think $50, including helmet rental.  Each session is 7 laps and I was pretty wiped from the G-forces.  I placed 2nd and 3rd in my sessions, would have had 1st in the final session except for some douchebag that ran me up into the guardrail!