Milestone 8: The Rotax THUNDeR electrifies the karting scene


The balancing act between the “ultimate ride” and “social acceptability” set out in the strategic realignment finds its logical and topical continuation in the development of the first electric karts. E-mobility and alternative drive technologies in general are also the current preoccupation for Rotax engines, which have long been solely associated with combustion engines. In 2017, Rotax Gunskirchen also takes over responsibility for e-mobility issues. From the summer onwards, an in-house Rotax company – RIC Tech GmbH – and a team of highly qualified specialists focus on electric powertrains. The E-Mobility Play Days event in Spielberg immediately becomes the THUNDeR’s big debut. A new generation with great potential: In parallel with its eKart model, Rotax also presents its vision of an eKarting racing series. The fact that the THUNDeR generates neither emissions nor engine noise makes it ideal for races in highly populated city centers.

As with the popular Formula E series, this is a way for Rotax to bring e-mobility to the attention of a wider public. “We are very proud of our first product with an electric powertrain. E-mobility is an up-and-coming technology across all racing scenes and a further component in our expanding product portfolio. The Rotax THUNDeR Powerpack reflects our DNA: racing success and groundbreaking innovations for our markets”, says Thomas Uhr, BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co KG General Manager since 2014. And it’s not only up-and-coming racing drivers that are enthused; active drivers such as Formula 3 driver Ferdinand Habsburg are, as well. The current DTM driver is won over by the performance of the innovative eKart at its initial test drives at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. The DEKM – German Electric Kart Championship – offers young racers the first purely electric-based racing series for karts. Driven, of course, by Rotax electric powerpacks. The electric powertrains used here deliver performance of up to 24 kW, enabling karts and drivers to achieve speeds of 130 km/h. And there is yet more excitement in store for the karting scene in 2020: The E20, the successor to the THUNDeR presented in 2019, has redeveloped battery technology and is Rotax’ most powerful eKart generation yet, the result of even closer collaboration between the racing team and product development.

Unveiling the THUNDeR, 2017 (BRP-Rotax)

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