Eight-wheeled Japanese electric supercar shooting for 250mph land speed record
The Eliica eight-wheeled electric supercar
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.
About the Author
Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.
All articles by Loz Blain
Hey! That's a 2009 version of the 1950's (sic) Citreon Goddess!
I wonder if this lot are as far ahead of the herd as Citreon were back then?
160HP (what's a horse power?) a wheel soon, and 'normalicy' will achieved for the frightened.
Must buy a ticket in the lottery.
This is, of course, a luxury limozine, but there is a drawback to going that fast in Japan. It is an island! There isn\'t a road straight enough and long enough to enjoy cruising at half the speed of gossip. That car would be great in Hollywood, Ca, or Austrailia or the autobond in Germany. It doesn\'t seem like the right car for Japan
. And with 8 motors, 4 times as many as it needs, does it still operate on one cent per mile like our electrics? Just curious. Wade.
The professor here knows exactly what he is doing.
The car is brilliant.
It is the safest, smoothest, fastest automobile in the world.
Bill Allison, the famous suspension designer who designed the Packard Torsion Ride suspension that Jay Leno extolls in Jay\'s Garage, continued in his retirement to design suspensions and wind engines. He concluded that 8 wheels has the lowest rolling resistance by building models and letting them roll down an inclined plane. In order it was 4, 6, and 8, with 8 rolling 4 times farther than the 4 wheeled vehicle.
He became convinced that if the pairs are bogied that you have the smoothest and safest configuration with the least rolling resistance.
Those who think that 3 wheeled vehicles have the least rolling resistanc have not performed the simple test and hence are kidding themselves. Rail cars hav 8 bogied wheels and least rolling resistance is the reason that locomotives can pull such long trains.
So it is exciting to see the Professor build these vehicles and I may have met him or one of his associates at the Detroit Auto Show when they were showing the 16 passenger vehicle that traveled 200 mph. I couldn\'t find the linkage and asked him and he smiled and said \"hydraulic\".
Bill also perfected the wind engine achieving the theoretical maximum efficiency of 59%. So why are we throwing all that energy away?
Stupidity and the lemming instinct is the answer.
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning