In September 2019, the employees of the Innovation and Marketing departments of Rosenbauer International AG and its subsidiary RED Rosenbauer E-Technology Development dared to take part in an environmentally friendly e-kart race. In the newly opened Rotax MAX Dome in Linz, electrically powered racing cars and an interactive driving experience awaited 24 participants.
From e-mobility to team building event
In keeping with its name, Rosenbauer E-Technology Development is concerned with the subject of e-mobility. This is where the further technical implementation of the CFT concept in firefighting vehicles is developed, which is characterized by an electric drive, among others. Therefore, driving an e-vehicle is nothing new to our colleagues.
To promote good cooperation within departments and beyond, the idea of the Rosenbauer e-Kart Race as a team building event was extended to other departments. This is why the Innovation and Marketing departments were also very enthusiastic when the suggestion was made to increase the number of starting places – entirely in the spirit of in-house interaction and the enjoyment factor.
Even before entering the race track, every driver received a safety briefing and equipment in the Green Room. The e-kart drive has a power output of 6 kW (8 hp), but the kart performance can be individually adjusted to the weight of the driver so that everyone can achieve the same acceleration values. The lap time, therefore, depends solely on the skill of the individual driver, and there is no subsequent “argument” on the podium about better vehicle characteristics.
The 400 m long racetrack stretches over 2 levels and is playfully and interactively constructed. In the Augmented Reality tunnel, bonus points can be collected by following an ideal route and collecting the green elements and avoiding the red ones, for example.
Twelve e-karts can run laps at the same time, and they are fully electrical – thus full torque from standstill. The first press of the “accelerator pedal” made it clear, silently and quickly, that the performance and the driving feel in the e-kart are convincing.
At the beginning, two groups of twelve people had the chance to get a feeling of driving an e-kart first in a 10-minute qualifying session. After that we were split up in three performance groups, where everyone had the chance to compete in a 20-minute race.
While some of them put their foot down on the track and fought for their place, others were able to watch the race and follow it on the screen in real time. Connectivity and networking are also used here: the karts are connected to the race control via WLAN, send information constantly, and can also be slowed in case of misconduct.
The whole affair is a bit different, as it’s well known that there is usually a deafening roar of the karts and the smell of gas and rubber hanging in the air of the karting hall.
Nevertheless, the enjoyment factor was not impacted at all. Driving an e-kart is definitely a special experience and a very good alternative to petrol. (Beware: risk of addiction!)
All participants were able to enjoy the evening to the fullest and push themselves to their limits to constantly improve their lap times. It also allowed for fair competition between colleagues on the racetrack.
And the next day, it was back to the office at full throttle and with turbo boost (because the next Interschutz is approaching fast).