Actev Motors packs Wi-Fi, GPS and collision-avoidance tech into an app-enabled go-kart
Silicon Valley startup creates an electric go-kart with high-tech smarts that both parents and kids can appreciate.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Watch this: This car for kids is smarter than your car
Go-karts -- even electric ones -- are nothing new. Outside of professional race karts, there's been little innovation in the field for decades, a situation that has seemingly served everyone just fine, because they've still always been a big ball of fun.
But now, a Actev Motors, a Silicon Valley startup, is shaking things up with its first-ever offering, the Arrow Smart-Kart, which it calls "the first smart, electric go-kart for kids."
Indeed, Actev seems to have thoughtfully applied a number of high-tech safety and convenience features found in modern full-size cars to this kiddie conveyance. Designed for kids aged 5 to 9 years old, the single-seat Arrow Smart-Kart looks to be a long way from the Power Wheels found in most suburban driveways.
The Arrow features an adjustable top speed (up to 12 mph) that parents can dial-in using a smartphone app via the kart's built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. In addition, moms and dads can also geofence the kart to prevent Junior from wandering too far afield. An adjustable inactivity timer helps keep tabs on the welfare of children that are out of sight, and the kart can be remotely disabled in the event of an emergency.
Perhaps most interestingly, the Arrow features collision auto-brake. Just like Mom's Tesla in the garage, the Smart-Kart will stop if it detects an object in its path.
The Arrow gets its motivation from a pair of 250-watt motors powered by a 2,000 mAh lithium-ion battery pack, and Actev Motors says a charge is good for about 45 to 60 minutes of play, but the batteries are swappable and a quick charger that tops off packs in 1.5 hours will be available. A double-capacity 4,000 mAh battery is also optional, and it charges in as few as 3 hours with the quick charger.
Actev Motors Arrow Smart-Kart is a high-tech driveway juggernaut (pictures)
In the near future, Actev plans to release a pile of accessories, including a Formula One-inspired steering wheel, distance-sensing pylons, and laser-tag sensors. Gaming apps are on the way, too. Among the accessories available now: wheel rings to enable drifting.
Predictably, none of this comes cheap. The Arrow Smart-Kart starts at $999.95, with body kits in silver or red costing an extra $199.95.