There has always been the issue about motorsports being harmful to the environment with its noise and air pollution.
However, that does not mean that the world of motorsports cannot be a sustainable or an environmentally-friendly one.
This year, title sponsor of the annual Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix night race SingTel has introduced a new first to the local motorsports community.
Featuring the first electric karts in Singapore, SingTel will be holding three roadshows with race-inspired carnival activities and the first electric go-kart time trial in the lead-up to the big race in September.
“Every year we try to introduce new and exciting race-inspired experiences to delight and amaze Singaporeans as part of our Formula 1 activities. This time we have chosen to bring in electric karts. Compared to the regular petrol-powered karts, electric karts are less noisy, pollution-free, smoke-free and very ideal for urban environments,” said Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, chief executive officer of SingTel’s consumer division.
Brought in from the United Kingdom specially for promotional purposes, these electric karts are able to reach up to speeds of 140 kilometres per hour.
However for safety reasons, the ones used for SingTel’s roadshows and activities have been detuned to a maximum of just 16 kilometres per hour at an engine output of about 1.1kW, in respect of the BCA regulations for public rides and amusement.
“Electric karts give people a different experience in karting, especially for those who have been driving the petrol karts. They are not slow definitely, having a lot more torque than the petrol ones. Also, they are silent, hence causing less disturbance to people and suitable for residential areas.
“Moving forward, I think it will take a bit of time before electric karting will pick up on a greater audience level. Electric karting will still have to co-exist with the petrol karts and it will be very good for an indoor karting track. If there is enough interest in electric karts, we can even create a separate class to race them in the Singapore Karting Championship,” said Tan Teng Lip, president of the Singapore Motor Sport Association.
Indeed, electric karts do aid in bringing motorsports closer to the people as the absence of toxic fumes and excessive noise allow it to enter the grounds of shopping malls, residential areas and other urban or indoor settings otherwise not conducive for petrol karts.
Electric karts also mean not having to worry about unpredictable weather conditions.
Some people might not be used to not having the revving sounds of the engine, but the electric kart experience might actually attract new motorsport converts.
Consultant Emily Poon said, “I’ve tried both petrol and electric karts and I prefer the electric kart experience actually. It is quieter, smoother and less intimidating.”
As part of SingTel’s “F1 for Everyone” initiative this year, 30 children from the Association for Persons with Special Needs (ASPN) Tanglin School (a beneficiary of SingTel’s Touching Lives Fund) were given the opportunity to be among the first to try electric karting last Friday.
SingTel is hosting an electric go-kart time trial where the top three fastest drivers from each of the three roadshows will race at the grand finals at the last roadshow.
The first roadshow was held at Bishan Open Green over the weekend, while the next one will be at Jurong Central Park on 21 and 22 July, before the third one at East Coast Park on 1 and 2 September.
The ultimate winner will win a pair of passes to an exclusive autograph session to meet Formula 1 drivers in person and all nine finalists will win a pair of grandstand tickets to the Singapore Grand Prix.
For more photos of the first electric karts in Singapore in action, view here.