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-Sexier electric vehicles – without the range anxiety

This year’s IET Christmas Lecture reveals how a team at Imperial College designed an electric car fit for one of the toughest motoring challenges

The SRZero electric vehicle
The SRZero electric vehicle proved itself on the ultimate road trip, powering 26,000km down the Pan-American Highway. Photograph: Imperial College London

Electric cars still have something of an image problem. Aside from questions about whether they are as green as their manufacturers claim, for many motorists there is a more basic problem – they’re just not cool.

The SRZero is one of several initiatives designed to improve electric vehicles’ image. It’s an all-electric, 400bhp “supercar” with a top speed of 200kph, a range of 400km, and can accelerate from 0 to 100kph in seven seconds. The SRZero is, in essence, a modified version of Radical Sportscars’ SR8. It retains that vehicle’s chassis and bodywork, but instead of a combustion engine it has two Evo Electrics motors – and some serious battery power.

It also looks pretty eye-catching. Designed and built over nine months by a team of engineering students at Imperial College London who call themselves Racing Green Endurance, the stated aim was to prove that electric cars could be sexy, while competing with combustion engines on their own turf (or should that be “tarmac”?). During road-testing in South Kensington, the team say they liked nothing better than pulling away from Ferraris at traffic lights.

Not ones to do things by halves, the team at Imperial decided to prove their point by taking the SRZero on the ultimate road trip – 26,000 kilometres down the Pan-American Highway, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

At the Institution of Engineering and Technology Christmas Lecture at the University of Surrey on Wednesday night, team leader Alexander Schey will talk about some of the engineering challenges involved in taking an electric vehicle on such an epic journey.


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