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175 MPH Student-Built EV Smashes Speed Record

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the zoom-zoom dept.

Transportation 164

An anonymous reader writes "A team of Brigham Young University students recently smashed the world land speed record for electric vehicles by hitting a top speed of 175 miles per hour in their self-built electric car. The car, named 'Electric Blue,' reached high speeds thanks to lithium iron phosphate batteries and its streamlined design, which is capped by a tail fin for speed and agility."

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Cmon (1, Insightful)

hom3chuk (977560) | about 3 years ago | (#37608638)

Make EV cheap, not fast!

Re:Cmon (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 3 years ago | (#37608662)

Baby steps tiger, baby steps.

The first cars were expensive and slow. Slowly they became faster and cheaper. Now they are fast and cheap.

First EV were slow and expensive. Slowly they are becoming faster and cheaper. One day they will be both fast and cheap.

Don't you read Wikipedia? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37608886)

In the 1890s, electric cars were competitive with conventional petrol-engined vehicles in speed and range, manufacturers even began to address the problems of recharging by introducing removable battery packs. Given the cost of a non horse-powered vehicle then, cheap didn't enter the equation, but they were certainly fast enough It's all here [wikipedia.org] . The fastest car in 1899, at 100km/h (62mph) was La Jamais Contente [wikipedia.org] , driven by Camille Jenatzy, a Belgian racing car driver.

In the early 1900s, London had a large fleet of electric taxis.

Baby steps?

Thanks to the fantasy of "cheap oil", electric vehicles became uncompetitive. We're only taking interest again because "conventional" fuel is becoming dearer.

Re:Don't you read Wikipedia? (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | about 3 years ago | (#37610466)

Wasn't the first Ferdinand Porsche prototype also an electric car?
well.. ok, it was a hybrid [wikipedia.org] but for 1901 you have to say they really had some ideas those zany Germans :-)

Got much of an agenda? (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | about 3 years ago | (#37611314)

Thanks to the fantasy of "cheap oil"

I don't think you know what "fantasy" means. I also think you don't realize that batteries are not a fuel like oil is; batteries have to be charged from something, and it sure wasn't solar power in 1899.

Re:Don't you read Wikipedia? (1)

bberens (965711) | about 3 years ago | (#37611462)

Those electric vehicles largely didn't go from 0 to 60 in ~10s. They didn't have to carry a frame/body capable of meeting modern safety standards, 20 airbags or power an air conditioner.

Re:Don't you read Wikipedia? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 3 years ago | (#37611668)

Neither did the petrol vehicles of the time. Did you have a point?

Re:Cmon (2)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | about 3 years ago | (#37609862)

You cannot drive them at fast speeds on public roads. They need to be cheap and have longer ranges. That is all.

Re:Cmon (1)

frozentier (1542099) | about 3 years ago | (#37610312)

You cannot drive them at fast speeds on public roads. They need to be cheap and have longer ranges. That is all.

Agreed. Speed hasn't been a problem since they broke 75 miles per hour. We need the charge to at least last long enough to get you BACK from where you are going. Actually I guess what we really need is a way to charge while you are away from home, same as I may drive to a neighboring city now yet need to buy fuel to get home.

they fixed that (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | about 3 years ago | (#37610498)

Can't remember which maker but someone of those suits is pushing interchangeable battery liquids.
Which is brilliant actually. it has two big advantages:
A) You actually refuel your car in a couple of minutes
B) No more battery degradation because the liquid gets replenished

Only thing that has to happen is the big petroleum merchants to dig a couple of tanks in each petrol station, one that get's charged and one that gets the used battery fluid and stores it for recycling. :-)

Re:Cmon (1)

skids (119237) | about 3 years ago | (#37611910)

The reason why we have "sports" EVs on the market is pretty simple -- if you want to recapture all your braking energy, you need really beefy motors, and a really beefy capacitor bank. Once you have those, you are 80% of the way to a sports car. So the marketers decided hey, if we are essentially building sports cars anyway, let's see if we can market then as such.

So yes, range, battery longevity, and charging flexibility are what needs to be worked on now, but the high brake horsepower is going to stay except in those designs where effectively recovering braking energy is discarded to shave off the sticker price, at the cost of energy efficiency and wear and tear on the friction brakes. But then, consumers never were that smart about factoring in embedded costs.

Re:Cmon (1)

Antarius (542615) | about 3 years ago | (#37612534)

Haha, just a bit.

The next city from where I live in Australia is 250km away. An electric vehicle able to do 120-175km [wikipedia.org] on a charge is a tad useless to me.

I do trips where I'm driving 1,500km/day. I don't expect an EV to be able to get that far in a charge and would obviously have to change my driving habits to allow for an overnight charge mid-way (unless removable "swap'n'go" battery packs are adopted) - but I'd like to at least get from one city to the next in a day, rather than be stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Re:Cmon (3, Insightful)

cirby (2599) | about 3 years ago | (#37608730)

Pretty much every major technical advance you can think of in internal combustion cars that made them faster and cheaper came from people racing them.

Of course, they've been getting more expensive over the last couple of decades - but a huge chunk of that cost has been the addition of things that cars don't really need to run - safety, electronic gadgets, emissions controls. And even with that, most modern "sporty" family cars will leave all but the hottest 1970s era sports or muscle cars in the dust, especially when handling is considered.

If we made new cars to 1970s safety standards, without mileage and pollution controls, they'd be insanely fast, much lighter, and about 1/2 the price.

The side effects of that can be left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Cmon (1)

deisama (1745478) | about 3 years ago | (#37609044)

So are you trying to say that if we'd just be ok with having a significantly higher death rate from car accidents, as well as a large cloud of smog over every city, than we'd be able to save 15k on a new car, AND shave a couple seconds off of getting up to 60mph?

Your post is very well spoken and clearly well informed, but I'm not quite sure what the message I'm supposed to take away from it is.

Re:Cmon (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 3 years ago | (#37609404)

The message is obvious: "You cant handle the truth!". Sorry wrong cliche: "you pays your money and take your choice".

However, the problem with electric cars is, as it was in 1890 - batteries are expensive and heaving - this cost is due to using hideous amounts of raw materials - and (although we know it is not theoretically impossible) no one has come up with a suitable chemistry yet.

The electric car will trash all opposition - if we only had a brain^h^h^h^h^h battery.

Re:Cmon (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 3 years ago | (#37610864)

...batteries are expensive and heaving...

I got a mental picture of a well-dressed battery puking its guts out over the rail of a luxury cruise liner.

Re:Cmon (1)

cbope (130292) | about 3 years ago | (#37610046)

I believe the message is quite clear: As safety and the environment have become much more important since the 70's, the additional costs of safer design, more fuel efficient engines, added safety equipment and emission controls have increased the cost of cars. That's it. No hidden message there. Sure, we could still be building big, fat polluting hogs for cheap if safety and the environment were not important.

Re:Cmon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609424)

lighter? really? Have you ever seen a car from that era?

Cars today are insanely fast. Even my 4 banger goes fast enough to break any posted speed restriction in the country. The people going faster are either on closed courses or doing illegal street racing and they're not following safety or emissions standards - 1970's era or otherwise.

Cars are sold at market price - meaning as much as the dealers can get for them. Only increased competition will bring the price down and there's not many new car companies these days - that can break into the US market at least.

Re:Cmon (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37610202)

Yes, lighter, '70s cars were heavy but look at mid '80s-early '90s cars, that actually had to deal with tighter safety and emissions regulations. We could build them that light again.

Re:Cmon (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | about 3 years ago | (#37610520)

actually in the 70s fast consumer cars were really really light [wikipedia.org] .
Think that a modern golf gti is almost twice the weight as it's history writing Mark I.
The original mini is another example.

Only in America were cars big and heavy in the 70s, the rest of the world had gotten it right even back then.

Re:Cmon (1)

nitrowing (887519) | about 3 years ago | (#37610640)

I have 3 cars, built between 1968 and 1977. They fit 4 normal size humans, do over 75mph and weigh less than 550Kg. Compared to a Smart car that weighs 750Kg and only holds 2 people?? That's progress!!
These cars are great fun, easy to work on and still usable.

Reliant Kitten

Reliant Rebel

Re:Cmon (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 3 years ago | (#37611016)

"sporty" family cars will leave all but the hottest 1970s era sports or muscle cars in the dust, especially when handling is considered.

Granted on handling, but I don't believe you ever experienced big block performance first hand. Virtually anything under 3 tons weight with a 454cid engine (and un-restrictive breathing) will completely smoke a "sporty" 3 liter sedan, even today. Of course, not many people are willing to put up with 7mpg to go with the acceleration and top speed that those kinds of displacement bring (and they get far less MPG when opening the throttle.)

In my book, if it doesn't have a big block, it's a weak muscle car.

Re:Cmon (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 years ago | (#37611192)

Owning a 70's lead sled and having owned a 3.8 liter supercharged v6 sedan there is no comparison. The sedan cornered better than the 70's stock suspension but driving performance on highways and get up and go I'll take the big block (502 chevy with a blower and nos in a TA BTW). It's not easy to get a big heavy car to corner well it's just that much more inertia to overcome, but there is a lot that can be done to either cars suspension.

The premise of the safety bits is funny, it's always assuming the accident. We have systems to automatically brake now, but few cars have decent brakes since it's cheaper to not put them on and the safety tests do not take this into account. Drop 20 or 30 feet of the 60-0 braking distance and I wonder how many read endings you will stop? We would be better off with stricter drivers ed Sweden seems to know how to do it with a skid pad as part of the testing and training.

Re:Cmon (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#37612312)

1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 0-60 mph 5.7 Quarter mile 13.6
2010 Ford Taurus SHO 0-60 mph 5.2 Quarter mile 13.6
1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 0-60 mph 7.4 Quarter mile 15.3
2007 Chevrolet Impala LTZ 0-60 mph 7.3 Quarter Mile 15.4
2011 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ (3.6L) 0-60 mph 6.3

The OP's point stands, the sporty version of a modern family car is the equal of most 1970's muscle cars (in factory trim) in the quarter mile and will completely crush it in just about every other metric you care to measure.

Re:Cmon (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37609042)

How about both?

Re:Cmon (1)

hom3chuk (977560) | about 3 years ago | (#37609070)

Nice, but I'd prefer fast trains or planes. One don't need more than 40-50 mph in a city with all this crossroads and such.

Re:Cmon (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37609082)

Ah,but you can't beat acceleration! FWIW I don't know where you live, but I frequently hit 80mph on freeways around here.

Re:Cmon (1)

hom3chuk (977560) | about 3 years ago | (#37609114)

I'm one of those who sees future with automated subways, trains and alike everywhere, instead of personal vehicles. And 80 mph totally fine actually, while it cant put someone around in danger.

Re:Cmon (2)

hom3chuk (977560) | about 3 years ago | (#37609076)

Nice, but I'd prefer fast trains (trains, especially) or planes. One don't need more than 40-50 mph in a city with all this crossroads and such.

Re:Cmon (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609132)

Make EV cheap, not fast!

There's only one thing holding it up and that's cheap light batteries. The thing you have to realize is the last major commercial battery upgrade happened a dozen years ago and there's nothing on the horizon. Lithium Ion batteries have actually been around a long time but only became commercial fairly recently. Yeah if you follow the press releases light high capacity batteries are around the corner just like a cure for cancer. Realistically we are probably 10 to 20 years away from a major innovation that would make electric cars in line with gasoline cars. Even that is pure speculation since there's nothing standing out yet and we're talking 5 to 10 years after the innovation until there's any hope of a commercial product and another 5 to 10 years before the price drops. Everyone says hydrogen but I've been following hydrogen since the mid 70s and I have yet to hear of a new storage system that is anywhere near a commercial product. Once again it's just another form of battery but at least it can be refilled. I'm not crazy about hydrogen for all vehicles. For people that don't drive a lot they'll likely loose 10% to 20% to leakage, I'm saying if you only fill up once a month. People that fill up weekly will only loose a few percent but it's still a factor.

I've read about dozens of new concepts for batteries over the years but as I say none are anywhere near being released as a commercial product. I swear 20 years ago there was talk of polymer batteries being the solution since they are light but none ever came close to holding the energy needed. It wasn't that long ago NiCads were the battery of choice and they hit the scene in the 70s for wide spread commercial use. Based on that we could be looking at another 20 years until a new battery takes over. Gee where did I hear that before? Like I say don't expect cheap electric cars for 10 to 20 years, if ever. Cars may simply in the end get more expensive. Then stick with gasoline? Last time I checked they weren't making anymore dead dinosaurs. Long before we run out oil will simply get too expensive to burn in cars. That's what peak oil means it doesn't mean we're running out.

Re:Cmon (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 3 years ago | (#37610886)

Last time I checked they weren't making anymore dead dinosaurs.

I eat freshly-killed dead dinosaurs at least 3 times a week. I call them "chicken", however.

Re:Cmon (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 3 years ago | (#37609736)

And make them "normal". Not a car that only seats one and has everyone gawking at your as you drive down the street (and not in a good way like with a Tesla).

Re:Cmon (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | about 3 years ago | (#37610526)

Tesla

No, they laugh at you when they see you in that one.
Because they know that you are going to make the last third of the journeyon foot ;-)

Re:Cmon (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#37610152)

EV is cheap is the the power storage systems that suck.

batteries are heavy, and have barely 1/3 of the power that they need to even come close to replicating normal driving habits.

They are getting better, but in real world testing, the limitations are coming to light.

Re:Cmon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37610478)

Done.
~6500 US in Indian showrooms.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REVA

LAND speed record ? (1)

polar red (215081) | about 3 years ago | (#37608652)

Do they know a tgv hit 574kph / 357 mph ?

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37608670)

That would be a train, not a car, and I don't believe that the TGV operates under battery power either.

Re:LAND speed record ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37608702)

silly you and your facts

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | about 3 years ago | (#37610538)

facts? on shlapdot?

Re:LAND speed record ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37608706)

in 99% of its routes, the TGV doesn't even go that fast, because the french tracks are in such a crappy condition. 574km/h were only reached once on a test track.

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

ooloogi (313154) | about 3 years ago | (#37608868)

Think you'll find this car won't reach those speeds on 99% of its routes either.

Re:LAND speed record ? (3, Informative)

weffew... (954080) | about 3 years ago | (#37609706)

in 99% of its routes, the TGV doesn't even go that fast, because the french tracks are in such a crappy condition. 574km/h were only reached once on a test track.

Major fail in your comment.

It won't hit 357mph on any scheduled service (100% do not reach this speed), since that was a research experiment. The scheduled services run at 186mph (300Km/h) and 200mph (320km/h), depending on the line and train. It does this in an amazing level of silence and lack of vibration/sense of speed -- until you look out the window. When a TGV is moving quickly, rain doesn't stick to the windows. It's like being in a ground-level aeroplane.

No slower train is allowed on LGV lines, and most routes have at most one stop: they don't slow down much.

The record was done with a specially modified train (more power, less carriages), higher voltage(25Kv), higher-than normal tension in the overhead wires, bigger wheels and various other modifications. It was run on the new Le Mans line, before it was opened for regular service.

French TGV (LGV) tracks are some of the best in the world. They have minimum bend radii you measure in kilometers (6 on older ones, 10 on newer ones).

TGVs routinely hit 320Km/h (200mph) in service. They've not had a fatal crash ever.

Anyway - you said "french tracks are in crappy condition" - they absolutely aren't.

C

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609930)

Minor point of accuracy. The overhead catenary for the TGVs supplies 25KV as standard. It was boosted to just over 31KV for this test.

Agree 100% with your dismissal of GP's claim that French tracks are in poor condition. These were purpose built for the TGV and are in absolutely excellent condition. If only we had the political will here in the UK to deliver something to the French standard.

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37612240)

I got to ride the TGV when I was in Europe and I was definitely impressed. You're definitely correct about the lack of vibration, compared to the much slower moving AmTrack trains we have in the US, it was without any meaningful sense of either vibration or speed.

Re:LAND speed record ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37608718)

TGV is coal powered

Re:LAND speed record ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37608778)

So is this race car.

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

ooloogi (313154) | about 3 years ago | (#37608822)

This car probably is as well. - Just one has a really long extension cord, and the other one fills up batteries and carries them around.

Re:LAND speed record ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609206)

No, it's nuclear powered. This is France after all.

Re:LAND speed record ? (3, Informative)

chocapix (1595613) | about 3 years ago | (#37609358)

Also, it's "for its weight class". Otherwise, there's this 315mph electric car [topspeed.com] , also built by students.

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

PIBM (588930) | about 3 years ago | (#37612088)

The 315mph one is hydrogen powered rather than battery powered, too.

Re:LAND speed record ? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 3 years ago | (#37612428)

The venturi buckeye bullet isn't an EV, it's hydrogen powered.

Electric BLUE? Seriously? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 3 years ago | (#37608714)

What a lost opportunity...

"Car Smash Record!"

Time Travel (1)

Kojow777 (929199) | about 3 years ago | (#37608726)

Certainly a car travelling at that speed could also travel in time.

Re:Time Travel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609336)

Sure. But it doesn't travel faster in time than a pedestrian.

Re:Time Travel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609462)

Theoretically it travels slower. (albeit only a little)

This is not impressive (1)

SigNuZX728 (635311) | about 3 years ago | (#37608776)

You can make an electric car do whatever you want. You can put big motors in them and make them pull stumps, you can put tall gears in them and make them run 175mph, you can put big batteries in them and cut weight so people can drive 100 miles on a charge, but the one thing you cannot do is take them from an empty charge to full in 5 minutes nearly anyplace in the United States. I'm sick of seeing headlines about how some car can go 0-60 faster than a Porsche or whatever. It's all pointless right now.

Re:This is not impressive (2)

MachDelta (704883) | about 3 years ago | (#37608828)

You could always just swap them out.

I mean, if six guys can change four tires, fill a tank of gas, clean the grill and take a round of wedge out the ass end of a car in ~15 seconds then surely we can figure out how to switch a battery pack (or two) in a couple minutes.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 years ago | (#37608898)

Only if you can engineer the batteries to be light enough that a single person can move an entire array of them. Even the highest-performance battery packs that are capable of being engineered today, in enough quantity to reasonably power a vehicle, weighs many times more than an individual can lift absent machinery or disconnecting each member unit individually. Neither of those are practical.

The same can be said of a pit crew (regarding practicality). The cases where the expense is justified are extremely limited.

If you were racing these in the same environment a pit crew works in, you can bet they'd have the machinery available to swap out the power storage in seconds.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

ooloogi (313154) | about 3 years ago | (#37608956)

A fuel pump is a machine. Machines have been developed to do battery swaps too. If there were the incentive to do so, it would be technically feasible.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 years ago | (#37609056)

It was stated that it's feasible. It's just not practical or cheap, both of which are necessary in any end-user, non-professional application that's not limited to a tiny niche application.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

unrtst (777550) | about 3 years ago | (#37608970)

Why does "practical" require "manual". Have you ever filled up your car by manually lifting up buckets of gas and pouring them in? And if so, I'd say that wasn't very "practical" either, but we came up with an easy way to get the gas into your car via a pump.

This is part of the "figure out how to switch a battery pack (or two) in a couple minutes" the GP was talking about.

How about:
* set a standard battery size.
* make them accessible via an opening on either side of the car via a pull out tray type thing
* have a little station that replaces them one by one (line it up, hit a button).

Sure, that'd impose a design limitation on cars, and we'd have to come up with the standards, and the stations would need to be designed/produced/built/installed, but that's all feasible and practical, and not a significant change from the norm. Gas cars all have to have a hole somewhere that takes gravity fed gas into a standard intake size, and no one seems to be very bothered by that limitation, and there are LOTS of pumps all over the place in various designs, and people keep making new ones and replacing/installing them, so installing some new stations is not absurd.

The return of full service stations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609040)

I'm sure there could be a trained fuel cell attendant dressed in a white work jumpsuit (with tie and cap) who could perform this service.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 years ago | (#37609102)

Any swap that isn't part of a contractual program will remain both infeasible and impractical until batteries exist that do not wear out or where the cost and ease of refurbishing or recycling worn batteries is much smaller than their replacement value. None of those things are true with current battery technologies, nor are they likely to be true in the near future (barring some amazing, out-of-left-field discovery that allows high energy potential and low cost and complexity).

The technology exists, but it is either cheap or easy, not both. The sticking point is that, for a consumer application, it absolutely must be both.

Re:This is not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609438)

"Gas cars all have to have a hole somewhere that takes gravity fed gas into a standard intake size, and no one seems to be very bothered by that limitation, and there are LOTS of pumps all over the place in various designs, and people keep making new ones and replacing/installing them, so installing some new stations is not absurd.

First of all, "gas cars" are not "gravity fed" the fuel they require. The fuel is pumped from underground tanks utilizing individual filter/pump setups that deliver the needed fuel to the vehicle. That being said, still the practicality of "battery swap out stations" is still problematic given everyone will not want to drive a "standardized vehicle" to facilitate a "standardized battery swap out station". I'm no fan of our addiction to fossil fuels but what company will be willing put up the capital to fully automate such a process given it could cost 100s of million, yea billions of dollars to design, implement, test and construct these type of stations. At least with the current setup you can at least manipulate the hose to put the nozzle into the filler opening despite the overall design of the vehicle (unless you're driving something really exotic or strange). It's the little things that add up that makes certain processes "feasible" but not always practical and/or cost effective for all involved, mainly the consumer.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 3 years ago | (#37609244)

"Machinery" is not practical? Lots of safety and pumping machinery are involved in filling up at a gas station now, but for electric, it has to be safer, cheaper, easier, and faster than gasoline in every way, or else it's obviously inferior and will never be adopted. That's why electric will never take off.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about 3 years ago | (#37609300)

Nowhere did I state machinery was impractical.

I said this particular suggestion, given current technology, is impractical.

With new technology that isn't even on the horizon yet (at least not publicly), it may become practical. A hypothetical tomorrow that nobody has the slightest idea of how to realistically get to doesn't really fill the bill for a solution to problems today.

Re:This is not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609942)

I said this particular suggestion, given current technology, is impractical.

With new technology that isn't even on the horizon yet (at least not publicly), it may become practical. A hypothetical tomorrow that nobody has the slightest idea of how to realistically get to doesn't really fill the bill for a solution to problems today.

I too dream of a hypothetical future where someone has invented some kind of round thing mounted on an axle with a bearing so it can spin, allowing you to move heavy objects(like car batteries) on flat level surfaces(like you'd have at battery changing stations!) effortlessly!

Hey, a man can dream right?

Re:This is not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609976)

With new technology that isn't even on the horizon yet (at least not publicly), it may become practical.

Have you considered that the only reason you don't know about it is because you really aren't that interested in technology?
Since backwards asshats like you only can accept liquid fuel it appears that Vanadium redox batteries [sciencedaily.com] with replaceable electrolyte is the way to go.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

dch24 (904899) | about 3 years ago | (#37608908)

Swapping propane tanks? Sure. You aren't likely to beat on it much (or you'll soon get caught in the blaze).

But swapping batteries? It's insane right now. The previous owner/user could damage it in subtle ways -- overcharge it, undercharge it, or maybe just overheat it. Or even just ignore it for 36 months. Or physically puncture it -- maybe a tiny hole -- the hydrogen gas slowly building up in the battery compartment for weeks until it explodes.

Batteries need to be better at a lot of things to beat out fossil fuels. Carbon-neutral fossil fuels are already available, so why are we still burning coal?

Re:This is not impressive (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 years ago | (#37609078)

Fossil fuels are not carbon neutral by definition, unless you work on a millions-of-years timescale.

Re: Swapping stations (1)

ygslash (893445) | about 3 years ago | (#37609234)

You could always just swap them out.

Yes, Better Place [wikipedia.org] is already deploying swapping stations in a few areas. They have signed contracts for various stages of deployment on a much larger scale.

Re:This is not impressive (2)

kaladorn (514293) | about 3 years ago | (#37609022)

The Netherlands (I believe) is running a pilot project that solves this problem.

Infrastructure:
- Small stations with a couple of pumps deployed all over the place (a farm can be a gas station)
- The small station can be fed by wind or solar or off the grid
- The station charges 'chargeable fluid' to a certain level of energy
- The fluid is some sort of suspension with a high energy capacity (probably involves metallic salts)
- Generating power and selling charged fluid is supposed to be decentralized and help farmers and others
make a few bucks (in rural areas)
- All of these pumping stations are part of a larger data network

Use
- Car is driving around and its tank of chargeable fluid is having its charge depleted by use
- Driver hits computer screen and it polls nearby stations for location, open/closed state, and price of fluid
- Driver pulls in, grabs the hose, sticks it in his tank
- System pulls out charged fluid, measures charge, pumps in freshly charged fluid, and bills the user for the charge difference
- Whole changeover happens in a few minutes (5?) and then you have a fresh tank of fuel
- Driver leaves with a fully charged car
- Pumping station begins to recharge the partially discharged fluid (or recycle it)

This (to me) promises to be the holy grail of electric cars if:
a) The whole thing is as technically feasible as it sounded
b) There isn't a cost benefit to buy charged fluid and harvest the salts out of it for cash (so they can't manufacture super expensive charged fluids)
c) It isn't easy to have idiots substitute 'home made' charged fluids that might contaminate the pool

It offers both the benefit of fast-change electrical power (as well as the ability to carry spare fuel!) and it offers revenue to farms and other places for an up front investment (presumably partially sponsored by the state) and encourages some degree of competition in pricing.

If this works out, hopefully it can be adapted to other countries. I think Canadian mineral resources could make us a big exporter of charged fluid materials and help insure a domestic supply.

The one issue is what happens in very cold Canadian winters? If the charge on fluid is low, will it freeze solid? That wouldn't be helpful.

Still, best attempt at a solution I've seen yet.

Re:This is not impressive (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 3 years ago | (#37611034)

In 1911, you couldn't drive across the US in a petrol powered vehicle and expect to fill up in 5 minutes wherever you pleased, either. So, should we have focused on grass eating cars then?

Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37608880)

In the US, electric vehicles run on coal. 57% of the country's power generation is from coal, and as electric vehicles tap the grid it will represent a significant increase in power demands, and they have nowhere to turn but to more coal for sudden increases in demand. There is not much green about EV's in the US.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37608934)

While its true that EV vehicles don't solve the problem they do make it a solvable problem, which is at least a step in the right direction.

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609060)

The real problem being solved by EVs is high oil prices, not coal ruining the environment. Don't kid yourself. Just be happy that it moves things to an infrastructure where CO2 production can be more easily reduced.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 3 years ago | (#37610582)

Yes, but as the grid gets cleaner, so do the EVs - right up to fully renewable power. Gasoline cars will never improve beyond the limit of the liquid petroleum that they carry.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#37612504)

Yep, that's why when we designed our new HQ building we went all electric. Today our local power source is quite dirty, but since we are also involved in one of the largest commercial solar installations in the world we know that the future grid is likely to be much cleaner than even natural gas boilers. However for cars biodiesel holds a significant promise, carbon neutral with significantly more energy density than even the most ambitious lab tech batteries.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37611852)

EVs charging on coal power are still cleaner than gasoline cars. And at that point the car is power-source-agnostic, which means the US could potentially get their heads out of their asses and run on a combination of nuclear, solar and wind with no changes required to cars.

Fast, but how long ? (1)

Meeni (1815694) | about 3 years ago | (#37609046)

Apparently, the car weights about 1100 pounds, mostly batteries. How long does that weight of batteries keeps the car running at full speed is not described in TFA.

No they didn't. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609120)

FTA: An electric car designed and built by BYU engineering students set a world land speed record for its weight class.
That qualifier makes a world of difference.

Here's an article [wired.com] about students setting a EV speed record of 307.7 mph last year.

Re:No they didn't. (3, Informative)

sifi (170630) | about 3 years ago | (#37609394)

I agree - they also didn't smash the record either, as there wasn't one there to break.

The streamliner, named “Electric Blue,” competes in the “E1” class, which includes cars weighing less than 1,100 pounds. Because electric cars rely on heavy batteries, engineering a speedy vehicle at such a light weight is very difficult. That’s why there were no prior certified speed runs for this class

Hats off to them though, still a pretty impressive feat!

Sound? (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | about 3 years ago | (#37609386)

I heard these EVs are incredibly silent. This will cost lives unless loudspeakers are installed. Great opportunity for creativity. You could have a lion roaring or something like that. Or just an engine sound.

Re:Sound? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 3 years ago | (#37609742)

You could have it play ice cream truck music, and troll kids as you drive though residential areas!

Re:Sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609752)

If the first thing you hear as a modern car approaches is its engine, then there's something wrong with that car.
It's road noise you hear, and that still exists with electric cars.

Re:Sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611498)

I don't know about that. You definitely hear the engine of my car as I fly past you, and there's nothing wrong with it.

Re:Sound? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37611988)

If the first thing you hear as a modern car approaches is its engine, then there's something wrong with that car.

True. It's still a safety issue but one that also exists with ICE cars. I often have to beep to let pedestrians know I'm there while driving a sports compact with noisy high-performance tires and metallic brake pads. It's an older car and it might seem noisy at high revs while you're driving it, but from track-side videos I've seen you can't hear the engine at all unless the exhaust is pointed at the camera. In one video I was screaming towards the camera at high revs, and all you could hear was a quiet whine like an idling turbine in the distance (and it's not boosted).

I'm happy with keeping it quiet, keeps the police attention low on the street...

Re:Sound? (1)

Confusador (1783468) | about 3 years ago | (#37609796)

At idle, sure, they're silent (until some ass puts a ridiculous sound system in), and even when driving they can't compare buses and semis. But then, most cars don't either.

EVs are really not much quieter than a well built gas vehicle. Consider the road noise from a Tesla Model S [youtube.com] as an example. The cars are almost as loud as the truck that tows them in.

Re:Sound? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 years ago | (#37609800)

Just attach a whistle. Much cheaper (construction and energy-wise) than loudspeakers. Not a referee whistle though, something designed with a low, smooth tone, so if a million of these are on the road, it won't drive everyone else nuts.

Very nice but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609960)

It's amazing that there are practical cars that you can use everyday that can reach 175 km/h and that look like mostly regular cars.

There are several Porsche 911 Carrera, for example, that can easily reach that speed, totally legally, on German Autobahns.

It's nice because it's EV but the fact that they had to resort to such non-practical aerodynamic tricks shows that there's still some work to be done before they'll be able to compete with Real-World [TM] engineered "gran turismo" cars.

I'd be curious to see which speed they'd get putting all these batteries in, say, a Ferrari or something...

For the rest of us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37609978)

For the rest of the world besides US and UK.
175 mph => 281.6 kph

Physics fail (1)

subreality (157447) | about 3 years ago | (#37610340)

capped by a tail fin for speed and agility

Uh, no. It has a fin for stability. The whole design of the car (long and narrow) is set up for linear speed, not agility. The fin doesn't improve the speed other than preventing you from crashing before you top out.

If you want to build an agile electric car, it'd look something like a Tesla Roadster.

Re:Physics fail (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#37612032)

Yep fins are bad for speed and agility if anything. They can also help to stabilize cars and make them handle better, but that's not an issue on anything you'd drive on the street...

Fastest Student Built EV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37610440)

What is the world land speed record for electric vehicles? 175MPG just sounds way too low.

The Buckeye Bullet 1 claims to hold the US record speed for battery electric vehicle at 314.958 mph and the international record at 271.737 (http://www.buckeyebullet.com/BB1.html). Since both of those are higher and its an electric vehicle how is Brigham Young University's vehicle different? Under Vehicle Story, the buckeye bullet site mentions it was retired in October 2004 and the records were in the EIII class; is Brigham Young University's vehicle in a different class? If so isn't claiming the world land speed record for electric vehicles a bit of an overstatement if the buckeye bullet was faster earlier?

No disrespect is intended; I'm honestly curious.

Re:Fastest Student Built EV? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 3 years ago | (#37610566)

"In it's weight class" is the qualifier here.

BYU? (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 years ago | (#37610644)

I expect he thanked all of his wives for their support.

Re:BYU? (2)

dbrueck (1872018) | about 3 years ago | (#37611090)

Dear user 894406,

We regret to inform you that Mormons stopped practicing polygamy in the late 1800s. Therefore, your humor is behind the times by over 100 years. Once a joke is more than a century out of date, it loses too much of its zing and backfires (cf. asking a Catholic, "how them Crusades goin'? Har har!") While not keeping up is somewhat of an inalienable right on the internet, we do ask that in the future you make sure that any outdated humor is still below the 100 year threshold.

Sincerely,
- The Management

P.S. For your convenience, listed below are some newer-but-outdated memes/jokes to consider. While still behind the times, they are new enough so as to not trigger a warning from the system. Thanks!

Dancing baby!
Will it blend?
Bert is evil!
The Tron guy
O RLY?
Numa Numa
Don't Tase Me, bro!
Rick Roll
Star Wars kid

Not it did NOT break the land speed record! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37611204)

Ohio State's Buckeye Bullet variations hold both the US and world records, with the Buckeye Bullet 1 once recording a speed of over 321MPH.

This BYU car from the article set the record for it's weight class of vehicles under 1100lbs.

Phosphates (1)

goldspider (445116) | about 3 years ago | (#37612100)

Nothing says "green" like phosphates.

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