May 28, 2010 Students driving an electric supercar are attempting to be the first to drive an all-electric vehicle around the M25 twice on one battery charge, in the lead up to the team's attempt to cross the Americas in July this year and break a world record.
The Racing Green Endurance (RGE) team, from Imperial College London, aim to drive two laps around the M25 in their specially modified electric Radical SRZERO supercar. This would break the current record held by a team in a Tesla electric car, which did one lap around the M25 on one battery charge.
The M25 attempt forms part of a long-term strategy by the RGE team to test the performance of SRZERO before they embark on a trip across North and South America in July. The team plan to be the first in the world to drive an electric vehicle the entire length of the Pan American Highway, which is the longest road on Earth.
The team, which comprises undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni from Imperial's Faculty of Engineering, aim to travel 26,000 kilometres along the Pan-American Highway, starting at the northern tip of Alaska and finishing at the southern tip of South America. Part of the project will see them assessing the performance and endurance capabilities of electric vehicles over long distances. They also hope that driving their car across two continents will raise awareness along the way about the benefits of electric vehicles and dispel the public perception of electric cars as slow and unattractive, with a limited range.
Alexander Schey, RGE Project Manager who is a fourth year undergraduate from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, says:
"We'll face all sorts of engineering challenges during the drive from North America to South America. There are no emergency breakdown services in the jungles of Colombia or the frozen wastes of Alaska, so we need to do as much testing as possible of the car before our Pan-American journey begins. By driving the car around the M25 twice, we'll be able to kill two birds with one stone, further testing the SRZERO's endurance capability while hopefully going further than any other all-electric car has managed before around the M25."
The team designed, integrated and installed the different components into the electric supercar, which can accelerate from zero to 100 km per hour in seven seconds, reaching a top speed of 200 km per hour. The car has an average running cost of one penny per mile and a range of approximately 400 kilometres before the battery needs recharging.
The Racing Green Endurance project runs alongside the wider Imperial Racing Green initiative (IRG), which is training students to become the engineers who will develop the next generation of zero emission vehicles in the future. The IRG project is an initiative of the Energy Futures Lab, which is the College's hub for interdisciplinary energy research.
Professor Nigel Brandon, Director of the Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London, says: "The need to reduce the UK's carbon emissions has never been greater. To meet current government targets by 2050, we need to refine a range of technologies including electric vehicles, which will help us move towards a low carbon economy. Apart from being great fun, we hope that the Racing Green Endurance project will show the world the leaps and bounds that electric vehicles are making. This project is also helping the next generation of UK engineers to gain valuable experience in the field, which is vital for their careers and the future of the British manufacturing."
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