January 8, 2009 What's the land-speed record for an electric eight-wheeler? It seems we're soon going to find out. A team of electron-heads at Japan's Keio University have built two of these oddly-shaped supercars, powered by Lithium-Ion batteries and an 80 horsepower electric motor for each wheel. Top speed is expected to be in excess of 230mph, with 0-60 times around 4 seconds already recorded. Power's not an issue, then... What about range? The Eliica's claimed 200 miles per charge puts it right at the pointy end of the field. While each of the prototypes has cost around US$320,000, the team plans to produce 200 units with the right backing.
The Eliica (an abbreviation of "Lithiom Ion Car") has already demonstrated very sprightly acceleration - it's quicker to 60mph than a Tesla Roadster or Porsche 911 Turbo - but it's top speed that the team is most focused on. The current land-speed record for a street-legal car is just over 250mph (that's around 400kmh in the new money) and the Eliica team are hoping they'll beat that mark.
How the eight wheels, and their extra rolling resistance, will help in this endeavour is anyone's guess, but the car's aerodynamics (by far the biggest concern when trying to accelerate at speeds above 200mph) look plausible.
And if it doesn't manage to take home a record, at least there should be a place for the Eliica in Hollywood when they remake Ghostbusters.