Honda's electric go-kart shows off its easily swappable battery system

Honda's electric go-kart shows off its easily swappable battery system
Apr 2023

LONG BEACH, Calif.--Honda has its hands in all kinds of businesses, from lawnmowers and power generators to IndyCar, go-karts, and consumer vehicles. Honda Performance Division (HPD) works explicitly on the high-performance and racing product line and builds, hones, and maintains everything from the hybrid powertrain we've seen in Acura's LDMh race car to high-performance kart and motorcycle engines.With a commitment to going carbon neutral by 2050, Honda has focused its attention on moving everything in its product line toward hybrid and electric powertrains, including a brand-new all-electric go-kart called the eGX Racing Kart Concept. The concept leverages Honda's Mobile Power Pack, or MPP, and offers swappable batteries with plenty of power. We got a chance to drive the new eGX Racing Kart Concept on a small, multi-elevation track that Honda set up at the Acura Long Beach Grand Prix this month; zipping around in the tiny, powerful, and quick vehicles gave us a taste of the latest electric power plant from Honda.

Swappable, sharable batteries and an electric motor

The eGX Racing Kart Concept looks just like an e-kart you might see at a K1 Speed or other indoor karting track (minus the surround bumpers). It's compact, simple, and minimal, and it can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, according to Honda. It's not Honda's first electric kart, however, as the company built a kid's e-kart called the Minimoto Go-Kart, which ran on a rechargeable 36-volt battery and reached speeds of 18 miles per hour. Honda no longer makes or sells the Minimoto, but you can still find them on eBay and Craigslist.[photo1]The eGX Kart features two technologies that Honda has had in the pipeline for ye

ars: the MPP and the company's first lithium-ion battery-powered motor, the eGX. The MPP system is in limited use in places like Indonesia, the Philippines, India, and Japan, where customers driving Honda's electric motorcycles or three-wheeled delivery vehicles with the MPP system can stop at a service center, much like a gas station, drop off their spent MPP packs, and drop in new ones to continue on their way. Consumers lease the batteries they use and simply swap them out. Honda says the MPP system has been in use since 2018, when it introduced the Gyro Canopy three-wheeled delivery vehicle, and the company has continued to test and refine the system in select markets.The battery swap is surprisingly easy and can be done in under a minute. Pop open the battery housing, slide out the easy-to-grab battery pack, and slide a new one in. Put the spent battery into the charger, and you're ready to go. The battery design is elegant and simple--you can't put it in the wrong way because of the way Honda has designed the packaging, and if the battery is seated wrong, the housing won't close, preventing accidental misalignment and potential problems.