Powerwheels Racing Series In Detroit

Powerwheels Jeep

[Transistor-Man] and the gang finally got around to documenting their experience at the Detroit Makerfaire 2014 and the Powerwheels racing series. They weren’t planning on entering, but in a last-minute decision they decided to see if they could whip up an entry just over one week before the competition! They did — and it’s awesome. They call it the Chibi-Atomic-Jeep.

As the competition name implies, they had to base the vehicle off of a Powerwheels frame. Bunch of steel tubing, some TIG welding and a nice paint job, and they had the base frame of their vehicle. At the heart of it? An alternator from a van — surprisingly powerful and easy to control. They used cheap 8″ wheels from Harbor Freight Tools — they worked great, just didn’t last very long… By the time the races were over, they went through NINE of these tires. Good thing they’re cheap!

The most impressive part of the build is the gears. They made them using a water-jet cutter at the local hobby shop and a Bridgeport mill with an indexing head — not an easy task to complete!

All in all they spent just over a week and a half building the contraption, and spent just shy of $500 on it (as per competition rules). And it did pretty good too. Check it out!

If you haven’t heard of the competition before, you should really check it out — it’s a fantastic way to get into EV and have a blast doing it. We’ve covered a number of entries before too.

13 thoughts on “Powerwheels Racing Series In Detroit

  1. We used the same Horror Freight wheels on a go-kart, one is already worn to the tube after one short season. The rubber is comically soft. What’s a better solution on the cheap? Prefer pneumatic tires, solids are way heavy.

  2. I got all excited thinking someone made a go cart out of a Detroit Diesel 2 Stroke…


    You guys looking for tires should probably go sniff around the tracks for downhill unpowered Buggy races… they treat their own tires to get the characteristics they want.

    1. perception. They “feel” they’re using a kids’ toy so therefore it is… or something.

      just like the 24 Hours of LeMons $500 price limit that is followed by almost no one anymore. Gaming the system is more important than the goal of racing cheap.

    2. When I was younger me and my friend used to pull the geared motors out of thrown out powerwheels so they would freespin and race them down a large grassy valley. That is what I call powerwheels racing and it was all original which hilarity ensured.

  3. harbor freight tire are more for dollys then being powered. I have gobs of old race kart tires. I would suggest a search of any local kart tracks or rental kart tracks for cast offs

  4. So, usually I balk at the naysayers in the comments – the ones who poo-poo everything.. But this simply is not ‘power wheels racing’. It does not require power wheels parts, or even power-wheels frames..

    This is simply a race of small electric vehicles – and with any such race it is bound to become about who spent the most money – as where limiting to power wheels parts would set a standard platform that racers must work within.

    Sure then it becomes about light weight drivers.. But yeah – it is power wheels race… Right? Or maybe it isnt…

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