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Green GT's All-Electric Supercar Unveiled

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the hoping-bugatti-picks-up-this-tech dept.

Transportation 196

Mike writes "Swiss auto company Green GT recently released the first details on a svelte all-electric supercar that is being heralded as the most powerful electric race car ever built. Designed with the 2011 Le Mans race in mind, the Twenty-4 will boast a sleek carbon fiber chassis and twin 100-kw electric motors totaling 400 hp — enough to push the vehicle from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat, and to a top speed of 171 mph. GreenGT's head engineer Christophe Schwartz has stated that 'The GreenGT Twenty-4 design study could become our 2011 Le Mans Prototype electric racer, or it could even become an electric road-going supercar. There is a possibility to do both!'"

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196 comments

24 hour charge?? (5, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099711)

What interests me is how they'll power the car in a 24-hour race. There don't seem to be details on that.

According to their site, there's a large solar-powered charging station (100 square meters of photovoltaic surface) which can be used to charge the car between races, but unless they're seriously loading the thing with batteries, they're either going to need long pit stops for charging or the ability to swap out battery packs as fast as other cars can pit for fuel.

On the other hand, with their target date two years out and the rapidly evolving electric car scene, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some hot new prototype hitting the car show circuit around then that blew their doors off.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099733)

My vote goes to the swappable battery packs

Re:24 hour charge?? (4, Informative)

caffeineboy (44704) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100613)

This is how it was done in SAE formula lightning. [wikipedia.org]

There is a video of the WVU team doing a pit practice here [youtube.com] . These are college kids, probably engineers and not mechanics. A real pit crew could do it in much less time.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100673)

Yeah, they aren't going to win too many races with a pit time of 1 minute +

Re:24 hour charge?? (3, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100753)

Well, not against gas-powered cars, but in an all-electric race, perhaps... (if anything gets electric cars kick-started in the public consciousness, it'd be an all-electric indy or something)

Re:24 hour charge?? (5, Interesting)

alta (1263) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099863)

Done right, I can see a mechanical battery change process... Much faster than gasoline fuel.

1. Pull up to red line.
2. 4 clamps grab wheels
3. car is left up in the air 2 ft, while spent batteries fall out, exit passenger side on conveyor belt.
4. new batteries come in at same time, put in proper position.
5. Car drops, latching in new batteries
6. clamps release wheels.
7. 0-60 in 4 seconds.

I could see a see a 4 second pit stop here.

Skip the 'lifting' process, and have them drop into a recess and you get rid of the GForce limitations on the driver. But you also make it so the system is embedded in the ground or the driver goes up/down a ramp.

Then again, remember how they want to shoot microwave power from space? Imagine if your power is beamed to you from the center of the track. (sounds dangerous)
And then instead of restrictor plates, you get resistor plates.

Re:24 hour charge?? (3, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099967)

It's been a while since I watched that race, but from memory I think Le Mans pit stops aren't the 4-second in-n-out with four fresh tyres and a full tank that you get in Formula 1. They last a bit longer than that.

Re:24 hour charge?? (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100037)

How much is "a bit longer"? Several pre-production cars have already demonstrated 10 minute charging, while BYD claims it on the production F3DM. If you have a really crazy cooling system and, say, a 250kW Aerovironment PosiCharge charger or 300kW Norvik MinitCharge charger, you should be able to do ~5 minutes per ~120 miles.

Re:24 hour charge?? (4, Informative)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100225)

20-30 seconds for tire change. About a minute if the car needs refueling as well. They are not allowed to change the tires while fuel is being pumped.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100555)

And, if they can get more time between stops than on the gas engines (quite possible with regenerative braking) or some form of weight advantage (not sure about weight rules at Le Mans), this car could scream.

Re:24 hour charge?? (2, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100279)

How much is "a bit longer"? Several pre-production cars have already demonstrated 10 minute charging, while BYD claims it on the production F3DM. If you have a really crazy cooling system and, say, a 250kW Aerovironment PosiCharge charger or 300kW Norvik MinitCharge charger, you should be able to do ~5 minutes per ~120 miles.

This car has two hundred-kilowatt motors in it. If you use a 250 kW charger to charge batteries that you're then discharging at 200 kW, you need to spend 45% of the time charging.

Take a look at the air intakes on that car. It doesn't need air to burn, so those intakes have to be entirely for cooling airflow. Yow.

Re:24 hour charge?? (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100377)

Even racing supercars don't come close to running at 100% throttle nonstop -- and when they do slow down for turns, regen puts power back into the pack. Li-ion regen in the Roadster, for example, is around 65-70% efficient if I recall the numbers correctly. So you only lose 30-35% of the energy expended on an accel/decel cycle; the rest of your losses are primarily aero and rolling. Aero, which should be the primary loss mechanism, will depend heavily on how much downforce there is.

I agree, though, in that it's probably not practical for the race unless the pit stops are long.

Re:24 hour charge?? (2, Interesting)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100587)

I disagree on the air intakes - generating downforce and brake cooling are also the reasons the air intakes are there. I'm sure those motors do produce heat - but I will bet it's still much less than an equivalent combustion engine.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100969)

Take a look at the air intakes on that car. It doesn't need air to burn, so those intakes have to be entirely for cooling airflow.

FTA: "The car was designed by five students from the CCi du Valenciennois school." In other words, it's just as likely that the air intakes are there to look cool... Also, my French isn't the best, but from the green-gt site it looks like they are planning to build a prototype this spring, then maybe add hydrogen as a fuel source fall 2009, then make 20 or 25 cars by the end of the year. I'll believe it when I see it.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100341)

lemans pit stops usually involves replacing tires, break system (disks, pads, etc.), sometimes even the pilot is replaced. no need to rush when you have 20-16 hours to catch up with the other cars.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

jollespm (641870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100689)

In LeMans, every second counts. Check out the movie "Truth In 24" to see what goes into winning. It is (was?) a free download on iTunes.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100367)

There's a lot of braking in those on-street races. I wonder if they're putting in technologies from hybrids like regenerative braking, possibly some sort of system to capture some of the energy lost on tight turns, etc... and recharging the battery for fewer stops.

If an electric wins the Le Mans, or even has a pretty good showing, the whole industry will start to re-gear overnight. When Joe Six-Pack says, "Gas-only sucks! I want the kind of hybrid technology that'll make me feel like a winner!!", it'll represent a sea change.

Of course, if it comes in dead last, that could be just as big a PR problem.

Re:24 hour charge?? (2, Funny)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100481)

Let's see, grabbing the car by the wheels to lift it? Batteries falling out of the car from 2ft? Dropping a car down 2ft onto the fresh set of batteries? Then you go on about microwave beams shooting around the track?

You're looking to make this race exciting aren't you?

Re:24 hour charge?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28101001)

You're looking to make this race exciting aren't you?

Face it, the only time most of these races are exciting is when someone decides they want to turn right.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100719)

You know, thinking about an electric car possibly winning Le Mans makes me realize just how quickly the general public's mentality regarding the importance of petroleum-based fuels for transportation could change.

I've heard many times from gearheads how they'd never be caught dead in one-a them electric-battery toy cars, that gasoline is king, etc. As soon as Kyle Bush takes one for a spin in the brickyard, that's gonna change. Obviously, there won't be an electric car running in a NASCAR race because of the narrow rules, but a couple of pictures of Tony Stewart or Greg Biffle behind the wheel of an electric car would change a lot of minds.

I'm anxious to see what the arrival of very fast electric cars is going to do to auto racing.

Re:24 hour charge?? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28100901)

Even if the quick battery swap is doable, and it certainly sounds reasonable, more importantly can the current batteries last as long as a tank of gas so it doesn't have to pit stop more often than the rest of the racers?

Re:24 hour charge?? (3, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099901)

How about Supercapacitors [wikipedia.org] ?

That's still a lot of power... (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100433)

If the car stores enough energy to run at full power - 200 kilowatts for one hour, that's a lot of energy you need to transfer in a short time. To transfer everything in a 1 sec charge = 720 Megawatts. 10 seconds charge = 72MW. 100 seconds charge = 7.2MW.

Even if you halve the power to 100kW (say the car only goes 50% power on average), those are quite big numbers. Who wants to be sitting in the car while 36MW flows into it?

The transfer is unlikely to be 100% efficient so there will be waste heat generated. 1MW of waste heat is no funny.

If you're going to use supercapacitors or batteries or fuel cells, you'd be charging/filling them outside the car, and then plugging them into the car and hoping they don't blow up in the process (it's still easier to make safer than pumping megawatts of electricity into the car).

Re:That's still a lot of power... (0)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100963)

If the car stores enough energy to run at full power - 200 kilowatts for one hour

1) Kilowatts is energy, not power.

2) If you meant kilowatt hours, driving doesn't work that way. Even in racing, you never use your engine at 100% full power 100% of the time. In a race like this, you're not even going to be close to that. The energy this car expends accelerating to speed will be 2/3rds recovered on braking, as in the Tesla Roadster. The rest of your losses are aero and rolling -- primarily aero. Apart from the standard CdA issues, aero losses in this car will be conditional on how much downforce they design for and what sort of speeds they're dealing with.

And a one second charge? Heck, if you really want to create ridiculous numbers, require that they charge in 0.001 seconds! ;)

and hoping they don't blow up in the process

"Blow up"? Give me a break. These things aren't made out of explosives. Heck, supercapacitors generally aren't flammable at all, and your non-cobalt-based li-ions are certainly less flammable than gasoline. The worst thing you risk during a pack change is arcing -- but unless you're an idiot, you have breakers on your pack that get closed before swap and opened after.

Re:24 hour charge?? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28100299)

How cool would it be if they put a slot with 2 metal strips either size of it all around the race track, and powered the car via that?

Re:24 hour charge?? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100785)

VERY cool. Especially the crashes.

"Oh, that's gotta hurt - I just hope the driver doesn't get out of the car!"

Re:24 hour charge?? (2, Informative)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100521)

well, it doesn't have to run for 24 hours on one charge, the other race cars are lucky to run 70 minutes on a tank of gas...

If it can make 150 miles, when they pull in to swap the tires, and jack it up, they could also drip the batteries from the under carrige and replace them en masse.

high performance charging system run on generators pit-site could bring those Li-Ti or Li-Su batteries to full charge in 30 minutes...

My concern is the 400HP total... most of it;s competition does 0-100 in about 8 seconds, and runs in the 600-1000HP range... For instance, the Audi Deisel (first time ever) ran at 650HP http://www.auto-power-girl.com/specifications/audi/audi_r10_le_mans_race_car-540 [auto-power-girl.com]

Heck, the "lemans edition" steet cars sold as production vehicles very often peak over 500HP... and those are not the race models, but simply collector cars.

Gah! Looks like a Dalmatian in stealth mode. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28099831)

With wheels no less. ;-)

2x100kW (5, Informative)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099871)

Just to point out: TFA must be erroneous or don't know what they are talking about. Two 100kW engines add up to a total of 200kW, i.e. 268hp - far short of the claimed 400hp.

Re:2x100kW (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099979)

Based on my almost non-existent understanding of French, it looks like each engine produces 2*100kW. Why it is reported this way, I do not know.

Re:2x100kW (3, Informative)

dmatos (232892) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100109)

It looks like a bad Google translation. The original French:

2 moteurs triphasés synchrones de 2 x 100 kW linéaires (2 synchronous tri-phase motors, each 2x100kW linear)

The Google translation:

2-phase synchronous motors of 100 kilowatts x 2 linear

Re:2x100kW (0)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100007)

There is no actual conversion from kW to hp. For example the old Chevy Corvair engine 100kW engine had 140hp. Another thing, engines can be tweaked to had horsepower regardless of the kW.

Re:2x100kW (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100039)

Yes, I know 1hp = 746W, but this is a rough estimate.

Re:2x100kW (2)

neomunk (913773) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100815)

Taken from units.dat


# The horsepower is supposedly the power of one horse pulling. Obviously different people had different horses.

ushorsepower 550 foot pound force / sec # Invented by James Watt
metrichorsepower 75 kilogram force meter / sec # PS=Pferdestaerke in Germany
electrichorsepower 746 W
boilerhorsepower 9809.50 W
fwaterhorsepower 746.043 W
brhorsepower 745.70 W
donkeypower 250 W
chevalvapeur metrichorsepower

Seems pretty well defined to me.

Re:2x100kW (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100151)

What are you talking about?

Horsepower's units are feet, pounds and minutes
Watts are Newtons, meters and seconds

All of those units directly convert.

settled by Wolfram (-1, Redundant)

eean (177028) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100335)

http://www30.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=25%20horsepower%20to%20newtons [wolframalpha.com]

They aren't compatible, different powers on different units.

Re:settled by Wolfram (4, Informative)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100607)

To reiterate MyLongNick:

hp = ft * lbs / min

W = N * m / sec

All of these units convert directly. I call your Wolfram and raise you a Google [google.co.uk] .

Re:settled by Wolfram (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100953)


neomunk@laptop:~$ units
2445 units, 71 prefixes, 33 nonlinear units

You have: horsepower
You want:
        Definition: ushorsepower = 550 foot pound force / sec = 745.69987 kg m^2 / s^3
You have: watt
You want:
        Definition: J/s = 1 kg m^2 / s^3
You have: horsepower
You want: watt
        * 745.69987
        / 0.0013410221

You're not comparing newtons to horsepower, wherever did you get that idea in the first place? You forgot the meters and seconds parts of the equation.

Re:2x100kW (5, Informative)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100473)

There is no actual conversion from kW to hp

Yes there are, but it's highly dependent on the context in which you use the term horsepower since it's not an SI unit.

One mechanical horsepower of 550 foot-pounds per second is equivalent to 745.7 watts
A metric horsepower of 75 kgf-m per second is equivalent to 735.499 watts
A boiler horsepower is used for rating steam boilers and is equivalent to 34.5 pounds of water evaporated per hour at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or 9809.5 watts
One horsepower for rating electric motors is equal to 746 watts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsepower [wikipedia.org]

Who cares abou archaic measurements like hp anyway (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100025)

I mean god, lets all get into the 19th century already people.

Also... It's The Torque Stupid
And 0-60 in 4 seconds is slow anyway...

HTH etc

Re:Who cares abou archaic measurements like hp any (3, Interesting)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100649)

I can apply hundreds or thousands of foot pounds of torque by standing on a long lever. However, I cannot produce more than about .09 horsepower for any length of time. Uniform torque through the power band is important for good acceleration unless you have a continuously variable transmission, but other than that the maximum power and efficiency is what matters (and motors are far better at providing constant torque than internal combustion engines). 0-60 in 4s is rather slow for a supercar, but if it can maintain a higher efficiency by regenerative braking it may have a chance. Electric motors can usually handle 150-200% of their rated power for short bursts, like accelerating out of a turn using the energy regenerated from breaking coming into it.

Re:2x100kW (1)

WeBMartians (558189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100049)

Hmmm... Maybe "overcurrent" is possible. In other words, 268 hp CONTINUOUSLY and something higher for an insane few seconds. TWO motors? Hmmm... left and right, front and rear, all together...? Also, I thought Le Mans requires a trunk and a tire change. The car is pretty, though. "If it looks good, it'll 'fly' good."

Re:2x100kW (1)

wren337 (182018) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100241)

Without knowing for sure, I would guess the motors are 100kw rated by the manufacturer, and they're over-volting them by 30-40%.

Re:2x100kW (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100405)

TFA is even worse than "Sears Horsepower". Take this link for example:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00970394000P?vName=Tools&keyword=compressor [sears.com]

By some miracle, Sears can pull "1.5 Hp" using "only 8 amps at 115 volts". Truly a miracle of perpetual motion.

So, I figure, using "sears horsepower" they could calculate 200000 / ( ( 8*115) / 1.5 ) = some 326 Sears Horsepower for their little car.

Sears horsepower used to be the absolute peak of scummy non-scientific marketing, second only to "music power" of audiophile amplifiers, but these car guys might set a new low.

Re:2x100kW (1)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100827)

Depends on the specifics of the battery voltage, capacity and current limits as well as physical specifications of the motor. There is no direct 'X kW = Y HP' conversion.

2 x 100kW != 400 HP (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28099875)

Subject says it all, well almost.
100kW == 134HP

Re:2 x 100kW != 400 HP (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100309)

Twin 100kW motors so 268HP. No metion of how many sets of twin 100kW motors. If it only hits 171 then it's going to have to get out of the way of the Prototypes like Mercedes and Audi who can hit 250 on the Mulsanne. Don't expect it to have a podium finish. But still impressive if the car lasts 24 hours. Lots of things can and do break.

Completely off topic, but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28099877)

The quote at the bottom of the page when I opened this article is "America is a stronger nation for the ACLU's uncompromising effort." -- President John F. Kennedy

Kind of ironic since Oswald was a member of the ACLU...

Why not say the torque rating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28099927)

I wish electric car articles would stop publishing the power (kW,HP) rating of motors.
.
The real measure of an electric machine is its continuous torque (Nm, Ft lbs) output which relates directly to mass of the machine. To get a high HP number you can take any motor and just run it really fast. Torque is not perfect, but better than power ratings.
.
Side note: 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat. Ummm ... doesn't the Tesla Roadster do it in sub 4 and its a consumer vehicle ... just a thought

Re:Why not say the torque rating? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100075)

Ummm ... doesn't the Tesla Roadster do it in sub 4 and its a consumer vehicle ... just a thought

Yeah -- the standard Roadster does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, and the Sport version 3.7 seconds.

Re:Why not say the torque rating? (2, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100081)

Side note: 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat. Ummm ... doesn't the Tesla Roadster do it in sub 4 and its a consumer vehicle ... just a thought

Yes, and the Wrightspeed X1, based on the Ariel Atom, does it in just over 3 sec.

Then again, straight acceleration isn't the most important thing in an endurance race. Audi has been cleaning up the big endurance races of late with their diesel engine, not by being the fastest, but by good team strategy and needing fewer pitstops for fillups.

Re:Why not say the torque rating? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100987)

It's not so much the refill pitstops that made Audi win all those times. The fact that their cars have far fewer techincal problems (i.e. engine or gearbox failures etc) means that they don't have to spend nearly as long in the pits.

Compare the Audi R10 TDI with the Peugeot 908 HDi and you'll see that the 908 is quicker, is almost as fuel efficient (I think they pitted every 13 and 12 laps respectively), and the 908 would have won if it was more reliable. The R10 won with a margain of 4 minutes and didn't win with a lapping of the 908.

Tom Kristensen told TV reporters before the race started, that they wouldn't beat the 908 or speed (they were consistantly 3 seconds slower per lap) or fuel efficiency (that'd be made up with the faster 908), but simply on endurance. That and the fact that his team was consistantly faster during the night - a discipline that Tom excels at, and one of the reasons he's won Le Mans 8 times out of the 12 he's competed - would be 9 out of 12, if his team mate hadn't crashed after the car lost a wheel [youtube.com] . It wasn't Capello's fault - I doubt anyone could have kept that car running to the pits after that.

2 x100KW != 400HP (2, Informative)

phatvw (996438) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099933)

1KW ~= 1.34 HP
200KW ~= 268HP
400HP equivalent?
They need to explain that a bit better in the article and on the product website [green-gt.com]

more tech possible with electric (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099947)

There are potential technology applications that could really enhance performance.

a) regenerative braking to store power would extend fuel performance even if regular fuel performance was identical to regular car. draw back would be battery cost. Best performance would be small quick draw thin film back to absorb curve braking and allow additional out of curve power spike

b) independent 4 wheel drive. a lot of electronics required but would be able to improve road grip and reduce tire wear

I don't see electronics, drive or breaking mentioned in the article.

Jack Bauer (2, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099951)

If they're calling the car "Twenty-4", will Jack Bauer be driving it?

Not that impressive (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099957)

The hideous Eliica [wikipedia.org] already exists and blows it away, the Wrightspeed X1 [wikipedia.org] toasts it at least on accel (and the economy-canceled production model, the SR-71, was expected to be able to beat a Bugatti Veyron in 0-60), while Shelby Supercars [wikipedia.org] is working on the Ultimate Aero EV [shelbysupercars.com] which should blow them all away.

Re:Not that impressive (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100293)

How well do any of them do when running for 24 hours straight? The Le Mans is designed to test reliability of the cars as well as their speed.

It's one thing to be able to run the shortest lap time. It's another to put in the most laps over a long period of time. Different design criteria, different cars.

Old tech. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28099965)

This has been done among Universities for several years. If I remember Ohio State and Oklahoma won a lot of the races with these cars.

http://evri.ou.edu/lightning/specs.php

The races were short, it could only run for 8-10 minutes depending on the load without changing battery packs. A quick release mechanism was designed where all 32 batteries could be changed in 10-13 seconds.

Heat Problems? (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#28099999)

Why the big air scoops on this car? Do they have a heat problem? They almost look like they are placed for tire cooling more than anything else.

You would think that they would try to make this the sleekest wind-cheatingest car they could instead of grabbing huge chunks of air.

Re:Heat Problems? (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100051)

Why the big air scoops on this car? Do they have a heat problem? They almost look like they are placed for tire cooling more than anything else.

You would think that they would try to make this the sleekest wind-cheatingest car they could instead of grabbing huge chunks of air.

Wind-cheating? The purpose of race car design isn't to reduce drag, the purpose is to generate maximum downforce.

Re:Heat Problems? (3, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100163)

You hit it, the cooling is for breaks and tires, as well as down pressure.

Every once and a while in the NASCAR races they'll show you a camera view from inside the wheel well. You can see when the driver hits the breaks the rotors literally become red-hot from the friction of trying to slow the car down.

Now imagine that same situation, with wider tires and faster speeds on tracks with significantly more braking.

Odds are though, that the frame they are starting with is from some company that produces frames for indy or some other circuit cars. Just as the Tesla Roadster is actually a Lotus frame and body. So the cooling requirements will likely vary significantly from the function of the imaged vehicle.

-Rick

Re:Heat Problems? (1)

will this name work (1548057) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100211)

Technical regulations regarding the dimensions and shape of the car perhaps. The car looks like it is an open wheel monocoque that has been covered up. I'm not sure about this but I don't think open wheel designs are permitted in Le Mans.

Re:Heat Problems? (1)

Myrv (305480) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100261)

Two Possibilities:

1) They're for the brakes. Their configuration seems to support this possibility. Brakes on F1 or Lemans or similar cars will glow red hot on some corners making brake cooling a priority. Of course assuming they use some form of regenerative braking the load on the brakes should be reduced which brings us to:

2) Electric motor cooling. 100kw electric motors will get quite toasty if not cooled.

Re:Heat Problems? (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100323)

Actually, since they are shown in both up an down positions, my bet is that they are air-brakes, supplementing the regular braking system.

Racecars? (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100059)

Why not develop a car normal people will actually buy and use? This is interesting but I don't think we have the luxury of trickle-down innovation at this point, seriously. Just start building the damn things in an industrial scale so a sizable portion of vehicle-bound humanity can start moving to them, FFS!

Re:Racecars? (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100245)

What would you call "an industrial scale"? I've been reading over market research on electric vehicle forecasts for a business, and they're all over the board. However, it's safe to say that almost everyone is calling for them to be in at least "sizable" numbers by 2015. The most extreme forecast I've come across is Wintergreen's, which is, if I recall the numbers correctly, 32.7 million shipped by 2015. I find that number a bit hard to believe, but on the other hand, when there's perhaps three dozen marques planning to build them in 5 to 6 figure quantities per year within the next few years, some of the lower-end figures are equally hard to believe as well. I tend to favor an 8 million shipped by 2015 scenario.

Still a fairly small percentage of global sales, but a relevant number.

Re:Racecars? (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100281)

Why not develop a car normal people will actually buy and use? This is interesting but I don't think we have the luxury of trickle-down innovation at this point

I disagree. We don't have the luxury of dumping millions of ill-thought out poorly designed cars on the market without adequate testing to ensure they won't all be clogging out junk yards with huge disposal problems of toxic battery components due to premature failure.

We do NOT have an electrical grid that can support all the new electric cars you would love to see. Sorry, its just not there, and not likely to be there for several decades.

We must go slowly on grid-charged cars until we can double our electrical generation capacity, and beef up the distribrution system.

Race technology has always lead the way in the automotive industry. How else can you get worst case scenario testing in the real world.

We DO NOT have to rush into deployment of half baked technology on a mass scale. We DO have the time to do this right. The end of the earth is NOT upon us.

Re:Racecars? (2, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100355)

Well, currently there's a lot of stigma about 100% electrical cars. Many people (potential customers) believe that completely electric vehicles must necessarily have at least one of the following weaknesses due to limitations with electric engines in cars:

A.) Too slow

B.) Incapable of driving very far

C.) Requiring too much time to refuel

D.) Too fragile

I would think that making one that can compete well at the 24 hours of Le Mans would go a long way toward changing those perceptions.

Re:Racecars? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100885)

Why not develop a car normal people will actually buy and use?

The false dilemma strikes again!

(People ARE developing cars normal people will actually buy and use. They're also doing this. And they're researching cancer, working on making safer buildings, working on making tastier snack food, and a million other things too. The fact that they're doing all these other things does not mean they aren't working on normal electric cars. "People", being a large number of individuals, are capable of working on many different things at the same time.)

Re:Racecars? (2, Informative)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100923)

Historically, developments in racing technology do come to consumer products. For example, semi-automatic transmission (paddle shifting) used in F1 is now common (either paddles or tip-tronic) in many production cars.

What powers this thing? (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100061)

Ultracapacitors would be ideal for a race, but I suspect nasty Lithium Ion batteries that die after a couple of years. Either way TFA doesn't say.

slow (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100215)

0-60 in 5 seconds and top speed of 171? that's about the same performance numbers as my family sedan (a chrysler 300C SRT-8) which is DECIDEDLY not a supercar! i did not know my 5-passenger luxury sedan was a viable candidate for lemans.

Re:slow (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100277)

Whatever it is, you probably couldn't race one "continuously" for 24 hours and I about guarantee that it handles like dogshit compared to an actual LeMans car.

Re:slow (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100319)

do lemans cars get pit stops? if so i see no reason it couldn't. handling, of course, is about what you'd expect from a 4000lb car.

but my point was 0-60 in 4 seconds and 171mph is not supercar territory, unless this is 1986.

Re:slow (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100723)

The acceleration is fine; most supercars do not have the best possible acceleration because it would interfere with top speed (e.g. gearing issues.) The top speed, however, is less than 200 mph, which is pretty much mandatory for a supercar today.

my thoughts (1)

jaimz22 (932159) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100269)

As far as the motors making 350 - 400 hp, it's totally plausable. If you're simply doing a unit conversion from kW to HP you're doing it wrong Hhe HP rating you're getting from that conversion is electrical horsepower, not mechanical. You have to put this thing on a dyno to get the true output in mechanical horsepower. it's not as simple as doing a mathematical conversion from one unit to the other. And as far as they aerodynamics, I'm sure that they designed it to be as aerodynamic as possible. Yes the tires do need cooled down, any race in that car for any amount of time would create vast amounts of heat on the tires causing them to run slower than they could with cooler tires. I'm not going to explain why that is. if you want to know look it up. OVERALL I'm not impressed. The Tesla Roadster is faster, and more available. SOOOOOO.... I don't see any need for these guys to toss around words like 'Les Mans' because that's just not in THIS car's future. maybe something based on this. but not THIS car.

Re:my thoughts (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 4 years ago | (#28101005)

Tire heat has nothing to do with it. The tires are designed to handle the heat if properly inflated with Nitrogen. Remember these are racing tires, built for much different use than passenger tires. The intakes are to cool either the motors or brakes or both and probably some air to the driver's cool box. Perhaps there would also be some amount of downforce, you would have to see the bottom of the car to know for sure.

They need at least 800hp..... (2, Informative)

KPexEA (1030982) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100731)

1) They are way underpowered, even compared to the 2008 front runners.
2) There currently is NO electric car class at all
3) LeMans is by "Invitation only", not just anyone can show up and race.

~2008 specs for the front runners:

Audi R10: 650 hp-1100 Nm-925 kg
Peugeot 908: 700 hp-1200 Nm-925 kg

And The Price Is : +1, Informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28100807)

Probably around U.S. $200,000. I can see these vehicles for sale at Walmart,
after I had ingested LSD.

Yours In Socialism,
Kilgore Trout [exiledonline.com]

171? (3, Informative)

spoop (952477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28100839)

171 mph top speed jumps out at me as very uncompetitive at Le Mans. The Circuit de la Sarthe [wikipedia.org] is a long track with a lot of straights, especially the Mulsanne Straight. Last year, the cars in the GT2 class which I assume this will compete in (the slowest class) topped out at 182-186mph for the most part. Source: http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/le-mans-radar-trap-speeds-and-corners-speeds/ [speedtv.com]

Fastest? (2, Informative)

teoryn (801633) | more than 4 years ago | (#28101003)

"...the most powerful electric race car ever built."

Maybe for a certain class of race car, but The Buckeye Bullet [buckeyebullet.com] broke 300 mph years ago, and the new model will have been tested before this Green GT car is built.

So when's the family care endurance race? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#28101021)

I haven't followed the research closely, but it seems like the majority of stories are about high-end electric race cars when the real money would be in much more modest family sudans or commuters. I'd love to see an endurance racing challenge where manufacturers had to hit real-world benchmarks (hauling around mom, kids, and groceries equivalent in weight for X miles or X hours).
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