Electric racing car breaks world record

June 23, 2016, ETH Zurich
The Formula Student team of the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ) today achieved a world record. Credit: ETH Zurich / Alessandro Della Bella

The Formula Student team at the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ) accomplished its mission today: the grimsel electric racing car accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in just 1.513 seconds and set a new world record. It reached the speed after covering less than 30 m of track at the Dübendorf air base near Zurich. The previous world record stood at 1.779 seconds and was set last year by a team at the University of Stuttgart.

The record-breaking Formula Student electric was developed and built in less than a year by a team of 30 students at ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. grimsel is AMZ's fifth electric vehicle and sets new standards in lightweight construction and electric drive technology. Thanks to the use of carbon-fibre materials, grimsel weighs just 168 kg. The four-wheel drive electric racing car has four specially developed wheel hub motors that are capable of generating 200 hp and 1700 Nm of torque. A sophisticated traction control system regulates the performance of each wheel individually, allowing the car's acceleration to be increased even further. No large-scale production car - even one with a combustion engine - can reach an acceleration comparable to the grimsel.

AMZ's most successful vehicle

grimsel celebrated considerable success in the international Formula Student competition back in the summer of 2014. With over 500 teams competing, Formula Student is the largest competition worldwide for engineering students and takes place every year on race courses around the world. With three overall victories and a points average of 920 out of a possible 1000, grimsel is AMZ's most successful vehicle. The success of the grimsel also contributed to AMZ's first place defence in the Formula Student world rankings, which they have held since 2013.

Explore further: Electric car revs to world record in Switzerland

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2.5 / 5 (4) Jun 23, 2016
The real reason the electric cars can break these speed records is not due to the electric motors.

The acceleration of a traction machine is limited by the traction the driven wheels make with the road.

The traction is artificially increased by aerodynamic suction to the road and the use of 'sticky' tyres.

Ordinarily a car of unlimited power on regular tyres with no aerodynamic downforce, will achieve a 0-100km/hr of about 3 seconds.

I laugh when the latest supercars costing a million or so dollars seem to all perform about the same in this regard.
5 / 5 (3) Jun 23, 2016
a car of unlimited power

Which is a theoretical consideration. Real cars come with a limited power to weight ratio and limited torque, which puts a limit to how fast they can accelerate.

If you've got one HP per one kg at the wheel, you can add about 730 Joules per second, which means you can reach 100 kph in about 0.53 seconds. The reason why it always takes at least twice as long is because you would need infinite torque at launch to meet the necessary conditions, and that's not possible even if you had infinite traction.

Assuming you keep a constant maximum torque, the power grows linearily as you're going faster until you hit the maximum power output. That produces an acceleration curve that starts out constant and then tapers off.

Electric cars have the advantage of being very light when you only need enough energy onboard for a single run.

1 / 5 (1) Jun 28, 2016
A top fuel drag car does it in about 0.3 seconds. Doesn't really matter if a long distance race car does it, unless it can KEEP doing it over distance.

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