2011 Los Angeles Auto Show: Nintendo and West Coast Customs Unveil Mario Kart 7

By Jason Davis | November 18, 2011
Yes, it's true. Nintendo and West Coast Customs have built an electric vehicle: Two EV's, in fact, and unveiled them today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. While speculation for the past few weeks centered on Nintendo's first-ever foray into the auto show circuit, the unveiling today had little to do with in-car infotainment or backseat handheld entertainment. Reggie Fils-Aime, CEO of Nintendo America, unveiled Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS handheld game system. To promote the game, and its most in-depth menu of kart accessories and customizations, Nintendo asked West Coast Customs to build real life versions of Mario and Luigi's personal karts. To meet Nintendo's rigorous utility requirements, the karts had to be able to glide over long distances, work underwater, and be able to both dodge banana peels, and be capable of holding various rocket launchers and turtle shells.
We were unable to confirm the output and range of the electric motors, but Ryan Friedlinghaus, founder and CEO of WCC, confirmed an estimated top speed of more than 30 mph for the front-wheel driven karts. Don James, Nintendo America executive vice president of operations, told Automotive.com that Nintendo has had previous working arrangements with some in the automotive industry, noting that the gaming giant has previously dabbled with in-car entertainment. Unfortunately, Nintendo is not looking to transform the infotainment segment. When asked for comment, both Mario and Luigi were sadly mum on details.