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Electric Car Faster Than A Ferrari or Porsche

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the quite-a-cart dept.

741

jumpeel writes "CNN's Business 2.0 has photos and video of a Silicon Valley-made electric car with a 0-60 acceleration rate that's faster than a Ferrari Spider and a Porsche Carrera. From the article: 'In fact, it's second only to the French-made Bugatti Veyron, a 1,000-horsepower, 16-cylinder beast that hits 60 mph half a second faster and goes for $1.25 million.' The X1 is built by Ian Wright whose valley startup WrightSpeed intends to make a 'a small-production roadster that car fanatics and weekend warriors will happily take home for about $100,000 --a quarter ton of batteries included. The X1 crushed the Ferrari in an eighth-mile sprint and then in the quarter-mile, winning by two car lengths.'"

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Obligatory bash quote (1, Offtopic)

AEton (654737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270515)

<kritical> matts: bikes go faster than cars...a bike at 60 mph is a lot faster than a car at 60 mph
<matts> kritical: um no...
<kritical> matts: um yes
<kritical> my sisters sport car at 60 mph goes faster than my dads explorer at 60 mph
<kritical> a bike at 60 mph will blow by a car at 60 mph

source [bash.org]

Interesting, but not new (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270521)

a Silicon Valley-made electric car with a 0-60 acceleration rate that's faster than a Ferrari Spider and a Porsche Carrera.

Any engineer worth his salt can tell you that electric motors put out a hell of a lot more torque than gasoline engines. Gasoline engines are restricted by the tolerances of their mechanical parts, even if the engine is capable of producing more horsepower under load. That's why raw horsepower figures are often a poor indicator of a vehicle's acceleration.

Diesel Locomotives [wikipedia.org] were making use of this fact long before the electric sports car showed up. By transferring the power from the Diesel Engine to an electric transmission, modern locomotives are able to smoothly apply power curves of well over 300KW without any of the slippage or rough starts associated with the Steam Engine.

Honestly, this entire story isn't anything new. The TZero [forbes.com] was trouncing expensive sports cars long before the X-1 was introduced. The only difference I can see here is that the owner of the X-1 appears to be looking to build a replacement for Formula-1's rather than creating a slightly more practical Porche type of vehicle.

More info on TZero [wikipedia.org] (The article has links to the TZero outaccelerating several fancy sports cars.)

Re:Interesting, but not new (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270593)

Any engineer worth his salt can tell you that electric motors put out a hell of a lot more torque than gasoline engines

No kidding. Just ask Dr Emmett Brown.. Step 2 here is plutonium, lightning or a big ass battery :-P

Re:Interesting, but not new (0)

nharmon (97591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270813)

...or a bunch of stuff from McFly's garbage can.

Re:Interesting, but not new (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270791)

By transferring the power from the Diesel Engine to an electric transmission, modern locomotives are able to smoothly apply power curves of well over 300KW without any of the slippage or rough starts associated with the Steam Engine.
My friends actually built a vehicle doing that for a parade at our university in Stockholm, Sweden. I filmed [nyud.net] them riding it. That way they could put it in reverse without a mechanical mess. You see, it works by contracting and extending the wire between the head and the tail, and at the same time applying brakes at the proper places. Similar to the real animal! :-)

Re:Interesting, but not new (1)

3D Monkey (808934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270795)

I have to agree with the parent here because not only is the theory not new, the idea of a commuter car that can go 100 miles and charge in 4.5 hours isn't very new either, that's pretty close to the spec on the EV from GM if I remember correctly.

I think it'd be really fun/economical/treehugging to have an electric car, but the infrastructure still sucks, and the technology isn't advanced enough for most people, especially those willing to pay $100,000 for a car.

Now, if this guy marketed his race car and formed a new league around Fourmula "E" racing.... then he might have an idea worth somthing.

Seen it before (5, Informative)

thanuk (620203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270531)

That's not a new car - that's the Ariel Atom with an electric motor in it. http://www.arielmotor.co.uk/ [arielmotor.co.uk]

No Shit, Sherlock! (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270539)

The problem with electric cars was never performance, it's range. And this car doesn't solve that problem, although the range isn't that bad either (100 miles). Being an open car, it's not exactly a daily driver though.

Also, if you look at the pictures this is actually just an electric Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk] , which is also faster than a 360 Spider or Carrera GT.

Don't get me wrong -- this is cool. It's just not nearly as revolutionary as the article writer thinks it is, and it certainly won't "save the planet--fast!"

300 miles per charge (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270575)

For ACP's machine.

Re:300 miles per charge (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270624)

I was going to point that out too, and 300 miles is fine for normal daily commute--even for a couple days. The problem comes in when you need to make a longer trip--like a vacation or visiting relatives. What we need is a hybrid car where the electric engine is the primary one and gas (or hydrogen) is the backup, rather than the other way around (since I'm pretty sure all hybrids right now depend on gas if you're going over 35 or something like that). Or if they can get an electric car that can do 600+ miles per charge (although I've done trips where I've driven a good 800 to almost 1,000 miles before finally calling it a day... but still, I'd be willing to call it a day at 600 or so miles for a longer trip). And then, of course, hotels would also need to provide some means of cars recharging over night...

Re:300 miles per charge (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270768)

You can get an add-on trailer for the ACP which generates electricity to drive/charge it. Fill up at any gas station.

Because it's fully electric you can use anything which can produce electricity. Hell, you could have a wood powered steam engine powering the generator on the trailer and cut down trees as you go. Run electric and piss off the environmentalists at the same time.

It's actually quite an elegant idea, modular power generation and it means the car itself should be serviceable for the forseeable future. 99% of journeys would be well within the 300 mile range. Hire a power/trailer for the 1 journey a year which goes further.

 

Re:300 miles per charge (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270826)

If you could charge them quickly, the 300 miles wouldn't be a problem. My gasoline powered car gets roughly that, but only takes a few minutes to fill up and be on my way again.

For electric cars to work we'll need better infrastructure. something like those propane tank exchange thingies would probably do nicely.

Re:300 miles per charge (0)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270714)

Hey, I never said some other cars didn't solve the range problem, just that this one doesn't. (Of course, 300 miles isn't enough either when you consider that it takes a lot longer to refuel than a gasoline car.)

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270616)

That's why there's the big rush to move to fuel cells. Being able to convert hydrogen to electricity at 70% efficiency or ethanol to electricity at 50% efficiency lets you use high energy fuels instead of low energy batteries. Hydrogen has greater difficulties when it comes to density, obviously, but if they can be resolved (and the tech is progressing steadily), it's a great solution (second only to having your car get its power straight from the grid).

Fuel cells aren't very heavy or bulky, but they still don't put out as much power as batteries (and they don't even approach ultracapacitors). Thus, an ideal situation would have fuel cells charge batteries or ultracapacitors, producing electricity faster than it's used at cruising but slower than it's used during acceleration.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

uniqueUser (879166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270716)

Being able to convert hydrogen to electricity at 70%
But where are you going to get the hydrogen from? Hydrogen is not an energy source but rather an energy transporter. It takes energy to generate the hydrogen. Here in the USA, most of your electricity comes from coal. We usualy use electricty to generate hydrogen. If we ever move to the "Hydrogen Economy" without some major production changes, we would be better off just creating a coal burning car.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270801)

Here in the USA, most of your electricity comes from coal. We usualy use electricty to generate hydrogen. If we ever move to the "Hydrogen Economy" without some major production changes, we would be better off just creating a coal burning car.

I hate to break it to you, but the Hydrogen car is not about the environment. Sure, it's a nice side-benefit (large power plants are more efficient, hydro and nuclear help reduce pollution, etc.), but the real reason is economics. Oil is quickly approaching a price point to where it is no longer economically feasible to power our transportation infrastructure off it.

Shifting to hydrogen would change the economic equation, and free our infrastructure from a costly choke point. All the power would be consolidated at the power plant level where the government can more easily regulate the infrastructure and provide incentives for companies to provide cheap power.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but economic considerations tend to apply a lot more pressure than the toothless protests of environmental protection groups.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270645)

although the range isn't that bad either (100 miles)

Hum, no...
FTA, emphasis mine :
"With $8 million in funding, he says, he is convinced he can put a consumer version of the X1 into production that meets federal safety standards, has a 100-mile range, and recharges in 4.5 hours."

IOW, given that money he thinks he can achieve an autonomy of 100 miles.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

uniqueUser (879166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270649)

and it certainly won't "save the planet--fast!"
No electric car will. People often think that electric cars are clean. Unless the electricity comes from a clean source (if this is even possible is debatable), the environmental impact is just further up the energy stream instead of at street level.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270777)

That's what I have been saying for years. Electric cars just pass the buck upstream, making the evil electric corporation responsible for polluting instead of the car. Now the electric company burns fuels in bulk, is able to get a better energy conversion rate, and is better able to restrict emmissions, but then you also lose energy as the electricity goes along the power lines, as you convert it in order to energize the batteries, as you store it in the battery, and as you reconvert it to locomotive power. I'd like to see a comparison of the true end result of a gallon of gas poured into a car versus a gallon of gas poured into the electric plant to eventually get to powering the electric car.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

ThJ (641955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270794)

Aren't hydroelectic plants pretty clean? Norway is almost exclusively powered by such plants. Norway is of course a small country population-wise and there's plenty of water, but it is at least a non-pollutant power source.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

davidesh (316537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270695)

rrright... people would buy this car for the range.... bwahahahaha please, if you are buying this car, you are buying it to toast your friends in their porsches. Well probably to trounce on the teeny boppers in their modded civics as well just for kicks.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270707)

It's not just not as revolutionary as the article writer things. It's not revolutionary AT ALL.
Electric motors generate peak torque at 0 RPM. Yes, they can accellerate like mad, but they use a ton of juice to do it. Then they are spent. Anyone could do this at any time. It's not news.

So it can do a quarter mile fast. Ask anyone who does open wheel racing (formula 1, etc), and they will tell you, "drag racing is for pussies". Anyone can slam down their foot and go a short distance in a straight line. No skill is involved. Only a question of money you want to spend to shave off time.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

ketamine-bp (586203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270767)

i totally agree with you on the 1st point, but for the second point.. i don't think we're talking about the technique/skill of the driver here as what's important is the car itself. Whether the car has good handling is another matter, though, of course.

Re:No Shit, Sherlock! (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270741)

The problem with electric cars was never performance, it's range.

It isn't even ranger, per se. Gas cars don't have any better range, what they can do is refuel quickly and easily.

The electric car I designed back in the late seventies was built around a central spine which contained a standard "stick pack", just like an electric R/C car. When the batteries are drained simply slide out the tray and slide in a new one.

In a commercial setting you wouldn't own your batteries, you'd lease them, and simply stop for a tray switch when needed, taking no more time than a gas fill up.

What electrics lack is "filling stations," not range.

KFG

This matters to me why? (4, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270540)

Maybe I'm just crazy... but I'm sick and tired of hearing about new and grand vehicles that could potentially reduce our dependency on foreign oil, or make the environment clean or run a bajillion miles to the gallon... I don't really care about the theoretical, research side or first builds that cost more than a single family house... I'd like to be able to find such a vehicle reasonably priced at my local car lot in sufficient shapes and sizes that I drive off with one without feeling crammed into a matchbox and as if I just shelled out far more than I could afford.

Wake me when they are affordable and widely available will you?

Re:This matters to me why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270604)

I'm sick and tired of hearing about new and grand vehicles that could potentially reduce our dependency on foreign oil, or make the environment clean or run a bajillion miles to the gallon.

Since this race car does none of these are you less sick today?

Re:This matters to me why? (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270612)

Honda Civic ?

Re:This matters to me why? (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270646)

[quote]I'd like to be able to find such a vehicle reasonably priced at my local car lot in sufficient shapes and sizes that I drive off with one without feeling crammed into a matchbox and as if I just shelled out far more than I could afford.[/quote]

Ever been in a Prius? They're surprisingly roomy. Yes, they're over 20k, but when you look at the features that come standard (just ignoring the efficiency), and the sort of warranty you get, there's not that much of a hybrid surcharge; you'll easily make it up over the vehicle's life versus a vehicle with similar features.

Go away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270670)

And what does your post have to do with the article? Get over yourself. Just because something was posted to /. does not mean it has to apply to you. Although impractical for most people, it is still cool and news for news.

*cue "but it's not cool or news for nerds" comment by asshole parent...*

Re:This matters to me why? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270735)

Because R&D always has to come first before a final product hits the market? I mean, duh... You think the Civic Hybrids just suddenly appeared out of nowhere one day?

More than a single family house? (0)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270784)

I don't really care about the theoretical, research side or first builds that cost more than a single family house...

Been to Silicon Valley lately? You'll need 7 of these cars to equal the price of your average single family house.

Re:This matters to me why? (4, Insightful)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270804)

I think we just need to charge any vehicle that gets less than 25MPG an extra 2 dollars per gallon of gas.

Seriousely. Those people that get 15 to the gallon raise the global demand by consuming far more than they need to. They drive up the price of gas.

They should pay more and the rest of us that are responsible people that give a damn should not have to subsidize their selfishness.

SUV's should flat out be banned. Trucks should be restricted as work vehicles or heavily taxed for personal use.

There is absolutely no reason why you cant get away with every personal use vehicle getting at min 25 to the gallon. I just bought a brand new corolla. 41 to the gallon, just a standard, rather roomy vehicle. There are tons of cars that use regular gasoline that get great mileage.
    There is no reason to be buying SUV's other than to look retarded (SUV's are rather ugly)

Either ban those vehicles or make them pay $5 a gallon. Let the rest of the country enjoy lower prices because we act responsible.

Re:This matters because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270810)

News for nerds... if you're not nerdy enough then you're digging in the wrong place.

but what about... (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270542)

...the looks, it looks ok, but it is nothing compared to the Bugatti and the bugatti is faster; also I'll never be able to afford either.

Re:but what about... (1)

MrHeartbreak (959513) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270696)

My take on it was "Great; batteries, cool. Speed? Fabulous. Looks like $h1t, though."

Ariel Atom? (5, Informative)

albino eatpod (242140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270544)

The chassis on that looks exactly like the Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk] . The Atom is a very slick, road-legal, car fitted with a Civic Type-R engine that's then supercharged. It produces more power-to-weight than an Enzo, I believe. They're also very cheap (It think the basic model is around £20k here). That'll also do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds (faster than the Ferrari).

Re:Ariel Atom? (1)

BLAG-blast (302533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270643)

That'll also do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds (faster than the Ferrari).

Sounds fast than the ~3second claim for the electric car as well...

Not that I don't think a fast electric car is cool, but the mis-placed bragging certain detracts from the coolness a lot...

That's not a car (1, Insightful)

new_breed (569862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270552)

It's not really fair to compare a formula 1 design electric vehicle to a 'standard' ferrari car. The way I read the summary, I imagined something more of a 'every day driving' car..what are you supposed to do when it rains?

Re:That's not a car (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270580)

The way I read the summary, I imagined something more of a 'every day driving' car..what are you supposed to do when it rains?

wear a helmet?

The Obligatory Simpsons (5, Funny)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270559)

Electric Car: "I'm an electric car, I can't go very fast, or very far.. and if you drive me, people will think you're gaaayyyyy...."

Re:The Obligatory Simpsons (1)

Ryan Monster (767204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270798)

one of us! one of us!

Warning - does not come with roof (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270562)

They're comparing this vehicle to complete passenger cars (although ultimate luxury sports cars). It would be more appropriate to compare it to something like a 7, or an Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk] , which is faster than the Veyron 0-60 anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I love electric cars, and plan to convert my own some day, but don't compare apples-to-oranges, article.

-Jesse

Nice (2, Interesting)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270563)

100 mine range and 4.5 hour recharge. I would own one, if the price was reasonable. I work a few miles from home and if I get the new job I am going for, it will be a about 30 miles back and forth to work. This car would be great. Come home, plug it in and voila, all charged. Imagine being able to have a small solar array in your backhard to charge it with too. Not bad for people that drive excessively far for work.

Re:Nice But (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270793)

"Come home, plug it in and voila, all charged. Imagine being able to have a small solar array in your backhard to charge it with too."

This has been my point when discueesing electric powered vehicles. IF you can plug it into a renewable source (such as solar) and get it to charge in a reasonable time frame (and with a system that doesn't cost you a fortune), then you've got something. But I live in an area where the vast majority of our electricity comes from petroleum powered generators. If I'm charging my car only using house current, am I not in the end actually the cause of a net greater use of fossil fuel? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm not impressed. (5, Interesting)

JesseL (107722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270564)

I've got a vehicle that quick. It'll do 0-60 in 3.5, I've gotten 50MPG cruising on the highway at 80MPH (admittedly with a little tailwind), it goes about 200 miles on a tank of gas, and it cost me $2000 used.

It's a 600cc sportbike.

Re:I'm not impressed. (0)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270757)

"And if a medium sized animal crosses in front of me while doing high-speed, it's likely I'll be maimed."

Re:I'm not impressed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270803)

"unless I took a basic motorcycle safety training course and learned how to swerve away from danger"

Re:I'm not impressed. (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270821)

Yep, but not any more so than the vehicle in the article. It's shaped perfectly to direct a deer's torso into the head of the vehicle's occupants.

It goes fast, what about far? (4, Insightful)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270570)

It may be speedy, but is this car going to be of any practical use, or is it simply going to be a novelty item, used for racing or showing off your newest toy to the other bajillionaires?

Also, as an obligatory point... Where are they getting the electicity to run this thing? Most of the US still get's it's power from Gas run power plants. It's good to see improvement in the tech though, so when we do have other methods of power generation we'll be ablt to take full advantage of them.

Re:It goes fast, what about far? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270639)

> Where are they getting the electicity to run this thing? Most of the US still get's it's power from Gas run power plants.

Try coal, actually. Power sources for generating plants are fungible. Try running a car on hydroelectric or nuclear power.

Re:It goes fast, what about far? (4, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270732)

Where are they getting the electicity to run this thing?

I see your point about then paying for electricity. I think I will just hook mine up to my gas generator and bypass that problem entirely.

Fuel comparisons? (0)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270573)

I wonder at what point we're polluting more by plugging an electric sports car in and sucking energy from the power plant than we are just filling up our reasonably fuel efficient gasoline vehicles? It would be sweet though to have an electric that races comparably with any other sports car.

Also, while I would love to have an electric or hybrid car, such vehicles are currently ignoring tow capacity despite an electric motor's distinct advantage at producing low end torque. I'd love to have an electric I can use to tow the boat. And yes I realize that I'd be using an electric to tow a gas guzzler but the boat only goes out on weekends. I drive my car every day.

Re:Fuel comparisons? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270628)

Also, while I would love to have an electric or hybrid car, such vehicles are currently ignoring tow capacity

Well, depending on the size of your boat, a Ford Escape Hybrid [wikipedia.org] should do the trick. 155HP may not sound like much, but the torque advantages of the electric motors should help offset that. (Seriously, how many people *really* run their engine at 200+ HP?)

Re:Fuel comparisons? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270819)

Horsepower isn't everything. My marine mechanic uses a 60HP tractor to move boats around on his lot. There's also the tranmission, rear end, and wheel base to worry about. The wheelbase should be adequate for reasonable towing but I imagine that rear end is not up to snuff. The CVT tranny should also be adequate but I don't know that for sure since I have yet to see one in a vehicle with any significant tow rating. This argument is all academic anyways though. Ford will not bless the Escape Hybrid for towing right now which means that any automobile accident I get into while towing with that vehicle will not be covered by my automobile insurance.

Re:Fuel comparisons? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270662)

Apparently large plant electric power generation is so much more efficient that even after the loss in power in the lines and battery you are still using a lot less oil (or coal or whatever) than you would be running a regular car. Also a gas powered generator in your electric car is more efficient than our current hybrids, but for some reason the automakers arn't interested.

Yes I could provide links to prove this, but that would make life a lot less interesting :)

Re:Fuel comparisons? (1)

7macaw (933316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270713)

Power plants' pollution (and plants themselves) are localized and any technological improvements can be applied "instantly" to a small number of power plants -- unlike the painful process of changing the whole infrastructure we have to go through when changing car fuel type.

The biggest problem is still _storing_ energy, especially in some compact enough way to be suitable for cars... and boats ;)

Re:Fuel comparisons? (5, Informative)

digidave (259925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270823)

"I wonder at what point we're polluting more by plugging an electric sports car in and sucking energy from the power plant than we are just filling up our reasonably fuel efficient gasoline vehicles?"

Automobiles aren't very fuel efficient at all. Car engines waste in excess of 30% of the energy from gasoline (http://staff.science.nus.edu.sg/~parwani/htw/c2/n ode43.html). Power plants are wasteful, but generally more efficient. When you consider that it looks like we're on the verge of building a lot of new Nuclear power plants, whose waste is easier to contain, I think plugging in your car is a decent choice. Parking lots can be like old drive-ins with the radio wire, but with electrical outlets instead.

Acceleration Range (4, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270576)

Sure, an electric motor can beat out a gasoline due to torque like we all know. However, I will not use any alternative system until:

The solution allows at least 350 highway miles per charge and can be fully recharged in 5 minutes or less.

As far as I know, no current or on the horizon electric-only system can do this. Hydrogen / fuel cell are close, but that is something that just cannot be done with chemical batteries in the mass market (I have heard of research into areas of fast charging, but I know I don't want to have to stand near an electric supply that is transferring at over 6 MW (10 gallons in 3 minutes of gasoline is just over 6.3 MW equivalent energy transfer).

Re:Acceleration Range (5, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270653)

"The solution allows at least 350 highway miles per charge and can be fully recharged in 5 minutes or less."

I think you're being a bit unrealistic here. What you describe is the typical characteristics of a gas powered vehicle. However, how many people need to drive for 6 hours and then refuel in 5 minutes (so they can drive another 6 hours)?

Most people drive less than 100 miles a day commuting and have all night to recharge. This car meets these specs just fine.

If you're driving cross country, rent a gas car.

Re:Acceleration Range (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270782)

I used to go 450 miles 10-12 times a year during college. That was the primary source of mileage on that car. In this case, a lack of range would leave me stalled out in the hinterlands of upper Michigan (and no, not the glove bit, the pointy thing above the glove) or southern Wisconsin, often in below-freezing weather. It's kind of a deal-breaker.

Pretty much, the car needs to be able to drive across a state in less than a day. Even states like Pennsylvania.

Re:Acceleration Range (1)

Uncle Op (541486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270663)

Gee. Don't you just plug it on top of your ZipZap remote and wait for the LED to turn green?

Re:Acceleration Range (1)

AnotherBlackHat (265897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270678)


The solution allows at least 350 highway miles per charge and can be fully recharged in 5 minutes or less.


I think you could solve the charge problem by having multiple battery packs.
Then it's just a matter of how fast you can change the battery.

Still have a range problem though, and there's also the cost.

-- Should you believe authority without question?

Re:Acceleration Range (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270728)

I think many people would be willing to buy a car with a long recharge as long as the range was higher. Particularly for people who own a commuter car and a driving car. A 360 mile range would take care of nearly the longest of daily commutes (probably 98%) combined with forgetting to plug it in one night.

But you really need to have a hard shell around it, and all the usual safety features that people like.

And one strategy for 'fast charging' is to have lightweight batteries that you can easily swap out. I've read about people working on that solution.

Why 5 min refuel? (2, Interesting)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270748)

I can understand wanting a short refuel time if on the road. But requiring a 5 minute recharge on an electric vehicle wouldn't be required very often. Assuming that most daily round trips are under 100 miles and most one way trips (e.g. traveling somewhere for the weekend) have recharge capablity at both ends, there are usually several hours of downtime between trips of significant length.


The 5 minute charge seems to just be a requirement left over from mandatory trips to the gas station. Most people, I think, would be Ok with 4.5 hours-just plug it in when you get home and it is ready for use in the morning. I'd even be willing to go with a shorter range than the standard 300+ miles per tank (e.g. 100 miles for a commuting-only vehicle).

Re:Acceleration Range (1)

xwin (848234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270809)

My daily commute is 60 miles round trip and so is of most people. If this car would cost $20K or so I would definitely buy it. If it can be recharged overnight in 4 or 5 hours it is good enough for today.

Modern hybrid cars give marginally better savings than small gasoline powered cars. Examples? Prius goes about 50MPG and probably even less on freeway. New Corolla goes 41MPG on freeway. Even my 10 yars old Corolla does 36MPG. Given that Prius costs almost double what Corolla does it does not tranlate to savings at the end. This was confirmed by multitude of consumer magazines.
So if someone can come up with the reasonably priced electric car that can compete, more power to them.

The extremist in me applauds ... (2, Interesting)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270579)

But the pragmatist in me goes, "Yeah, but they can make it burn a VW Golf in the quarter-mile for under $10,000?" Because that is the Goose that lays the Golden Egg, my friends.

Mmm, VW (1, Troll)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270685)

As long as it crushes the spirit of VW's target demographic* that's fine by me.

* 25 year old pasty white geekboys dressed in black with "WARDRIVER" window stickers

And how is this surprising? (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270586)

After all, it was an electric car that, for the first time, beat the 100 kilometer-per-hour speed record [about.com] . And that was at a time (early 20th century) when cars were much heavier and bulkier than what is possible now.

Most people seem to have forgotten that, prior to WWI, and the improvement to the internal combustion engine, there was a lot of debate between which engine was the best. Internal combustion won, because it offered longer range, not necessarily better performances.

DOA (5, Funny)

LaRoach (968977) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270591)

Meh. It's cute, but as soon as you add airbags, side impact beams, rollover protection, 1500 watts of stereo with a subwoofer, make it pass US crash rules, etc. it will weigh 3000 lbs and have a range of 50 feet.

Instant torque (4, Informative)

katorga (623930) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270596)

Umm, eletric motors provide instant torque with equals massive acceleration from 0. It takes a combustion engine time move to high rpms.

The best work truck you can get right now is a Dodge "Contractor" model with a 6 cyl cummings diesel and four electric motors. Instant torque combined with the long haul power of a diesel. It gets 24mpg and has an internal 20Kw generator that can power four 3000 sq ft homes. It can run on Biodiesel too. Now THAT is a hybrid.

Re:Instant torque (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270811)

show me a dealer you can buy that truck at... They never went to production on them.

From the article: (5, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270600)

Engineer Ian Wright uses processors, flash memory and software to get top performance out of standard parts.
:-) Hehe, the people at CNN really know their technology, don't they?

$100,000+ is not "Available for the masses" (2, Insightful)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270608)

Most people can't afford a $40,000 car, let alone something that's 2.5x as much. Plus, people feel that their car is less powerful if it's completely silent. Just look back to electic motorcycles, they had to add artificial noise-makers so people would accept them.

Re:$100,000+ is not "Available for the masses" (1)

davidesh (316537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270796)

I don't know where you live, but all I see around here (atlanta) probably 70% of the cars are >$40k. I see plenty of ferraris, porsches, mercedes, bmw.... you name it all over.

80k just for the engine, meh (1)

sallgeud (12337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270613)

The vast majority of that vehicle appears to be the Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk] ... a car which, with engine, can be had for $30k US. I'm sure you could get it for $20k if you wanted to do your own engine... and I don't imagine it would take $80k to get numbers nearing these... though the gadjetry looks nifty.

Not impressed (1)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270625)

Basically, they used a metric their engine is well suited to winning... and won!

Electric engines have a huge amount of torque, which helps you get off the line faster. I would be impressed if this car could do this, and still be usable later.

It impresses no one if you race someone at a light, then have to pull in to a station for a recharge.

Plus, it looks like this thing is just an Ariel Atom [google.com] ... which I believe already beats those other cars anyway

Electric vs. Top Fuel dragsters? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270627)

This is great for street car times, but for sheer speed it totally sucks. A typical top fuel dragster can do 300 miles an hour in under 5 seconds. Is there an electric version of that? When they have an electric car that can tie an 8000-hp nitro drag car, then electric cars will finally have combustion engines on the run. Otherwise, it's still combustion whipping everyone at the strip.

Who fuckin' gives a shit?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270630)

Who fuckin' gives a shit? I'm a so called "nerd" (well, I don't call myself that, but some other people do) and I like electronic devices, but '68 supercharged V8 Chevrolet Camaro will give me a hard on while these fucking toycars (no matter how fast they are) give me nothing.

A car that could save the planet--fast (3, Interesting)

llZENll (545605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270634)

"A car that could save the planet--fast"

BAHAHAHAH...

"II. Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are incapable of replacing more than a small fraction (5 or maybe 10%) of the 700 million internal combustion engine powered cars on the road due to the limits of battery technology. Dr. Walter Youngquist explains:

. . . a gallon of gasoline weighing about 8 pounds has the same energy as one ton of conventional lead-acid storage batteries. Fifteen gallons of gasoline in a car's tank are the energy equal of 15 tons of storage batteries. Even if much improved storage batteries were devised, they cannot compete with gasoline or diesel fuel in energy density. Also, storage batteries become almost useless in very cold weather, storage capacity is limited, and batteries need to be replaced after a few years use at large cost. There is no battery pack which can effectively move heavy farm machinery over miles of farm fields, and no electric battery system seems even remotely able to propel a Boeing 747 14 hours nonstop at 600 miles an hour . . .

Some promising research into new battery technlogies using lithium is being performed, but even the scientists at the forefront of this research admit, "We've got a long way to go."

Assumming these problems away, the construction of an average car also consumes 120,000 gallons of fresh water. Unfortunately, the world is in the midst of a severe water crisis that is only going to get worse in the years to come. Scientists are already warning us to get ready for massive "water wars."

Thus, the only way for us to replace our current fleet of gas-guzzling SUVs with fuel-efficient hybrids or electric vehicles is to seize control of the world's reserves of both oil and fresh water and then divert those resources away from the billions of people who already rely on them.

Even if were willing to undertake such an endeavor, the problem will still not be solved due to a phenomenon known as "Jevon's Paradox," whereby increases in energy efficiency are obliterated by corresponding increases in energy consumption.

The US economy is a good example of Jevon's Paradox in action. Since 1970, we have managed to cut in half the amount of oil necessary to generate a dollar of GDP. At the same time, however, our total level of oil consumption has risen by about fifty percent while our level of natural gas and coal consumption have risen by even more. Thus, despite massive increases in the energy efficiency over the last 35 years, we are more dependent on oil than ever. This trend is unlikely to be abated in a market economy, where the whole point is to make as much money (consume as much energy) as possible." - http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/SecondPage.htm l [lifeaftertheoilcrash.net]

Chick Magnet (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270644)

I still think it would be easier to pick up chicks with the Bugatti...

How long... (2)

Piroca (900659) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270652)


is its power cord?

Nope (0, Offtopic)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270661)

No sound, no buy.

I can see them sticking a speaker which would play back some real sounds, something like what they did on this [dansdata.com] thing, but that's not gonna do it.

Missing a standard feature (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270666)

It might be fast, but both the Ferrari and the Porsche have the edge.

Standard for both of them is the ability to make pussy fall out of the sky and into your lap.

Re:Missing a standard feature (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270827)

That sounds messy...

Re:Missing a standard feature (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270834)

Wel, yes actually, sex is messy.

But, you'll find out about that someday I'm sure...

So, tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270673)

...WHY can't we have a normal mass production vehicle at average and affordable prices? I'm getting really fucking tired of being chastised for my oil addiction while having no other choice. Not everyone can afford an expensive hybrid SUV like the Expedition and I certainly don't want an ugly, underpowered shitmobile like the Prius.

Replace F1 racing? (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270691)

Can you imagine something like F1 racing but with electric cars? Much less noise and rapid battery changing instead of refueling.

I suspect you'd have to put speakers in the cars to make the Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwww noises or it just wouldn't be acceptible.

The Tango (4, Informative)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270694)

Dont forget the tango [commutercars.com] that came out in 2004, electric and does 0-60 in 4 seconds. Also kinda neat that it came out in Spokane Washington and not backed by a bunch of Silicon Valley money men.

I want one. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270705)

Mmmm. The Bugatti Veyron. You want one. Your dog wants one. If I had the money to blow on a car, this is the ultimate. Even Jeremey Clarkson [google.co.uk] , who gets to drive all the nice cars he likes, said it was the best ever. (He says that a lot, but this time he meant it.)

Re:I want one. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270739)

PS. Top Gear do some amazing stuff. Like racing a car with a bobsled down a mountain, or a car against public transport from $south_european_country to London. Or even a plane. Google Video search [google.com]

Irrelevant (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270709)

This isn't an apples to apples comparison. The stock supercharged Ariel Atom on which this car is based will also smoke a Ferrari or Porsche. Go find the BBC Top Gear video on the Ariel Motors website. I bet the stock Ariel Atom will also beat this electric version - adding hundreds of pounds to a 1100lb car wrecks handling, and sure doesn't help straight line acceleration.

Saving the world -- fast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270715)

I'm not sure how 500+ pounds of lithium ion batteries counts as saving the world fast. How does one dispose of that much battery weight when the batteries no longer charge? I know the recycling limits in my area are usually for LiIon batteries not more than 1 pound at a time. Can the battery be divided into .002 % fractions when dead to be recycled?
Otherwise you have a rather tremendous pollution problem when it comes time for new ones...

This PROVES... (1, Troll)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270730)

This PROVES that you do not need fossil fuels to power your automobile. Within a few months, vehicles like this will come to market, and the worldwide demand for oil should plummet. Gasoline will cost five cents per gallon, AFTER government taxes of 38 cents per gallon. (Because the gasoline companies will pay YOU to take their gas.)

How about a 500 mile race (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270736)

Who's the fastest now?

Big deal, on Monster garage they built an electric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15270753)

Bel Air that ran a 14 second 1/4 miles using tool batteries. I think Wee Man is the secret.

Wake me up when... (0)

Shihar (153932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270756)

Look, these electric cars are neat for R&D, but this is like reporting that someone has cured aging in a single celled creature for a million dollars. I will be moderatly impressed when someone makes a Honda Civic (i.e. a standard small car that is still functional) with a heater, AC, and radio that has a crash survivability of any other honda civic. The car needs at least a 300 mile range when traveling at 70 mph with heater, radio, and headlights on, or it needs to be able to be charged in under 10 minutes at a gas station and have at least a 100 mile range.

In Europe there might be a small market for small insta-death on crash cars with ranges under 100 miles if they were reasonably priced. Even then, if someone is willing to throw safty to the wind and save the environment, they would already be driving a motorcycle. In the US though, until you can match a Honda civic in terms of capability, you are wasting your breath. In the US you could get away with a moderaly expensive civic sized car IF it was functional (heater, radio, doesn't kill everyone if another car taps it). Until there cars start to get within the same range of distance, performance, and safety (notice the AND, it needs them all) , this sort of stuff is just a novalty car for few very rich folks looking to add another car to their collection of cars they don't ever use.

Personally, I would be much more impressed with cheaper hybrids with bigger batteries and the ability to plug in. If you could get a car to run for the first 20 miles on the grid, then have it kick over to a gas powered engine, that would do a LOT for the environment. Then imagine if you could plug this car in or if it had a few cheap solar panals on the roof that would charge the car while you were at work. We desperatly need stuff that thinks about practicality first, the zero emissions second. Making 20 miles of a drive pollution free (besides what the grid pumps out) would go a LONG ways to cleaning up the air.

corners (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15270828)

Let's see it go around corners faster than a Ferarri.

Once in the '80s some solar car race teams came in my store. I tried to joke with them about how the steam-engine solar car had come through hours earlier but they didn't buy it :-)
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