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Schluckspecht EV travels a world record 1,000 miles+ on a single charge


August 16, 2011

The world record-breaking Schluckspecht E electric vehicle at the Bosch test track

The world record-breaking Schluckspecht E electric vehicle at the Bosch test track

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The "Schluckspecht E" electric vehicle built by a team at the University of Applied Sciences in Offenberg, Germany has broken the world record for the longest distance traveled on a single charge. The world record attempt was made at the Bosch test track in Boxberg with the vehicle traveling a total distance of 1631.5 km (1,013.76 miles), breaking the previous record of 1,003 km (623 miles) set by the Japan Electric Vehicle Club last year.

While the Schluckspecht E beat the previous record by more than 600 km (373 miles), what's even more impressive is that the feat was accomplished using existing rechargeable battery technology. The impressive range of the vehicle is due to the fact that it was designed from the ground up using lightweight materials in an aerodynamic shape. The 320 kg (705 lb) single-seat vehicle is driven by two wheel hub motors integrated into the wheels that are powered by 14 lithium-ion battery packs.

The aerodynamic and weight efficiencies of the vehicle are highlighted by the fact that the battery capacity of the Schluckspecht E was just 23 kWh, compared to the previous record holder's 50 kWh. Additionally, the Schluckspecht E achieved an average speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), while the Japan Electric Vehicle Club's Mira EV averaged 40 km/h (25 mph).

The total time of the record breaking journey was 36 hours and 12 minutes, with the vehicle's drivers having to contend with sometimes-rainy conditions. This latest achievement builds on the Schluckspecht team's previous success in completing the South African Solar Challenge 2010, when the vehicle traveled 626.6 km (389 miles) on a single charge.

We're not sure if the use of the name Schluckspecht, which is apparently colloquial German for "heavy drinker," refers to a characteristic of the team members or to the original Schluckspecht I, which the team introduced in 1998 and ran on a gasoline engine. Either way, the Schluckspecht team has no doubt been toasting their success in claiming their world record.

Source: Oekonews via Gas 2.0

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

I do not want to see how far I can go at 28 mph. I understand this is a record attempt for a specific goal but electric vehicles will never be practical until they can go something like 500 miles at highway speeds.

Commuter cars can get away with maybe a 75 -90 mile range at highway speeds but is everyone going to have to own several cars so they can fit the car to the trip on hand? Electric cars are far from being practical as an all round car for the average family or even single driver.

Also there is the bigger question of where does that electricity come from. The people that push electric here seem to forget where that power comes from. Coal and oil fired power plants? Hydro electric will have more and more problems as the lakes behind the dams silt up. Nuclear has it\'s own issues. So far wind/solar are not even close to practical on huge scales. Even when you consider line loss you can see that power is best taken advantage of when it is produced at the source/use end. Because of this the internal or external combustion engines will still be with us 100 years from now.

It may not be burning oil products. It may be used as a generator form hybrid propulsion but it WILL be part of the mix. Do we REALLY see 747 sized airliners running on electricity?

In many areas the power grids are at or near capacity now. What happens when a million people plug in their electric cars? Right now and in the hear future electric cars will be no more than glorified golf carts.


Cute but it brings to mind the question \"so what?\" So we have a car that will never be a production model that is running under conditions that are nothing like the real world (less than 30 mph????) that uses a fairly standard battery pack to crawl 1000 miles on a charge...as long as the driver hasn\'t eaten too much I assume. What new was learned? Any interesting technologies I\'m likely to see in my next vehicle? What was the point in the exercise?

Bryan Paschke

I think this would help promote ev\'s if they could get the range to extend to (almost or nearly) that of gas powered vehicles; IMO.


Yeah while the whiners whine - 1600K - while it's AVERAGE speed was like 40K or 28MPH, that is not that far below most street legal speeds, over most commutes, and with that kind of a range and a daily recharge etc., using a solar power car port etc.,

THIS IS PRACTICAL day to day people transport.

I really hate the attitude of people citing 1600K at 40K an hour = epic failure; without even having enough of a brain cell to see that 95% of all trips are 20K or under (or something like that) and so few, so very, very few of all people ever actually drive 1000K or 600 miles in one hit, on an annual basis - I'd estimate it to be like 0.5% or something - and then they rationalise it as THE ONE REASON why this whole achievement is worthless.

Mr Stiffy

@Mr. Stiffy: I suspect we\'re looking at a cultural divide here. In the US, a 30 mile each way commute is considered fairly light and 600 miles at a time is hardly an unusual weekend drive (I drive at least 600 miles at least 4 times a year, usually more often). Furthermore, you can\'t get ANYWHERE from the suburbs without being required to hit highway speeds (60mph ) at some point.

A practical car for the US WOULD need 60-80mph speeds and either a 1000 mile range or a 300-400 mile range with an 80% recharge time of less than 30 minutes. Without both of these requirements, at best two cars would be needed, one ICE based, one electric.

My average commute is 25 miles each way, most of it at highway (100kph) speeds. I average 100-200 miles for one day on weekends, and I travel 400 miles each way several times a year to visit relatives...and everything other than the daily commute often requires 100 lbs of gear and a couple passengers...so, yes, I have somewhat higher requirements than the average European driver. It comes with the larger country.

Bryan Paschke

The design of the vehicle is good; the Cd must be low and the CdA must also be low. If the LEAF body could be converted to this style and the weight reduced by 500 Kg, I believe that it could attain about 200 miles per charge at normal highway speeds.

An agency in Honolulu is beginning to rent out LEAF vehicles. They are starting with 7 but expect to end up with about 20-25 after a year.

Adrian Akau

It makes me laugh when people say well the power comes from a dirty source it would be polluting there instead, the amount of pollution is a tiny fraction when sourced from some of the dirtiest supplies. Have a look at the KWH used for the distances above then work out the power in a gallon of petrol. How much do you use in a week? These cars are development tools already achieving great efficencys. I have to agree that a real world practical electric car needs to be sold one that means people don\'t have to have 2 cars and we aren\'t quite there yet, though getting closer all the time.


its\' good to know that when and if gasoline becomes 30 dollars a gallon, that you can choose to get around for almost no money if you are willing to travel 28 miles and hour instead of 60 miles an hour

Facebook User

Bryan: The point is: A smaller battery with a more efficient platform (lighter, lower drag) will get much better range. This should be obvious to the engineers but it is not. Why? Only one EV gets it: Aptera. Why only one small start up company when all the big competition have 100 times the resources? My guess is that the EV department is being held back by upper management. Why? I don\'t know. Any ideas? And why did all the established companies go with the smallest step toward an EV possible? For example, they all chose to build an ICE with an electric assist (HEV). No plug in(PHEV). If you\'re going to put millions into development why not make the first step a plug in? And why use the old ICE platform? If Henry Ford used this approach he would have started with a house drawn carriage with an ICE assist. Am I missing something here? Are they stupid or dragging their feet?


The real issue is that Electric vehcile should be runing on infrastructure that allows them to pick current as they go. Unfortunately that means building new infrastructure (and the associated safety issues with electricity). It is a bullet that once bitten removes on of the the major obstacle of complaint about these vehicles.

With a reserve charge range of 100km that mean the grid only needs to be along the major routes and not continuous through the cities where trips tend to be relatively short.

On the other hand, cummutes should be short journeys and should be done by bike or on foot. Cities and societies should not designed in such a way that people have to commute more than a few km to work. The \"American\" model of urban design is a sustainability failure. It is well past time to accept it and move on to those models that do work.

Robbie Price

when I key my trip computer on my Audi Avant it shows my average MPH @ Yes 28mph for my local commutes during the week, on the weekend after a reset, well umm illegal speeds ;) Bill

Bill Bennett

where to start where to start. The naysayers say it does not fit what we have come to \"expect\" and, more to the point, to DEMAND. Some, myself included, say that people must get with a little attitude adjustment here. It\'s like a kid learning you don\'t get cake and ice cream every meal.

Mr Stiffy, you said it so much more agreeably than I would say it! I for one am all into sub 25 mpg vehicles. We call them bicycles, even though I am advocating tricycles with 2/3 seats and a trunk and heater....anyway, it is no secret that commutes not often but usually average below 30, so all the need for speed is really not a cogent argument, not reality based, just jackass hoof dragging fantasy...(is that a disagreable enough a description?!)

And , Robbie: \"Should be designed\" is neither the present nor the near future reality of our lifestyles and settlement patterns. We must work from where we are and \"prove\" the viability of these \"crazy notions\" we get for fixing things. Proof means \"just doing it \"in the real world and in view of the less forward thinking, in view of those \"last adaptor\" mentalities who only start considering after it has become ubiqitous. Human nature issues, not the superior logic will be the factor that wins acceptance.

So the real issue is just doing it, just getting all examples out there that we can. This car is a one seater, it is too low for comfort. In the 30\'s there was a most aerodynamic for its time American car that was SUV tall. It was slippery yet tall enough for comfortable entry and seating posture. It was PRACTICAL! The current Luge board with motor is the truly insane design constraint, IMHO.

I am excited by this conceptual exercise. which tells me that a 23 KWh battery pack is well capable of going from Seattle to the Colombia Gorge Concert Stadium (175 miles, 3200 foot pass) as I have set for a trip-goal. That should make it a pleasure for the 2 passengers and their camping gear! Easy pedalling too!

Ohj and for those who must have 60 mph available....this can be done with small 4-6 seater commuter bike busses. Is that something you can envision? lead, follow of go extinct!

Walt Stawicki

A small reality check - this car, made in a 2 seater version, with a not overly huge amount of luggage space say a modest shopping trolley\'s worth of volume and weight - with a car port covered in sun tracking solar cells, would meet nearly all peoples needs for reliable medium range (?) transport, nearly all the time.

And if your into longer trips, get the bigger battery option/s, and get more solar cells on the car port, and \"buy\" some power at recharging stations along the way.

Shit - if it had 3m2 of solar cells stuck on it giving say 600W - it could recharge it\'s self when parked in the street or greatly extend it\'s own range.

A LIGHT weight car with a very low Cd, in average conditions on average roads at average speeds - is not going to take much power to actually keep it moving.....

Like this - as it stands - and even with extended options like more batteries, more solar cells on the car port - is not going to be all things to all people - all the time.

But with an onboard charger - what if you could drop your fuel consumption to 10%, of your current vehicles use?

And even this could cover the needs of almost all people, all the time, in nearly all climates, everywhere - just to drop the global fuel consumption down to an average of 5% of the current demand?

As Mr Tight Arse of the year award - I\'d be the first one to stick my hand up for this!

Mr Stiffy

I applaud the record they were able to make but in the field of aerodynamics it seems the body could have been even more aerodynamic! The teardrop shape seems to be the best with it\'s round front and pollywog tail in rear. I bet next time they can do even better and for all the naysayers out there, this vehicle was designed to break a record, not haul groceries or commute to work so just get over it!

Will, the tink

\"Schluckspecht\" is probably a pun on the vehicle being electric and very efficient. \"Schluckspecht\" in german can also be used on a car that \"drinks\" a lot of gasoline and thus gets poor mileage.

It\'s a nice name.


And I thought getting 200 miles out of my e-assist bike on a single charge (with lots of pedalling) was something.

John Clary

Great achivement, even if of very narrow application, near zero relation to real world passenger lifes and transports situations.

A Copenhagen, Denmark, taxi company, TAXA3x35, has set for their strategic aim and firm business operation plan, that they will transform their feet of taxi\'s to electrical power, completing transformation by year 2020 !. Current buy-in\'s are contacts to \'Better Place\' and NISSAN, with the very fine \'LEAF\', pure electrical 4 door, 4 seater.

Søren Algreen-ussing

There are a lot of ignorant people out there who are totally missing the point. This car is more efficient than anything before it. Who knows what it\'s top speed is? It can obviously go faster than 28 mpg! At that speed the aerodynamics really don\'t come into play. The solar electric can do about 70 mph during the peak of the day without the batteries helping. if you had 1/4 of that solar power and a good battery pack you could drive most of the day without stopping assuming your motor and controller were efficient We see proofs of concepts all the time but people cannot see past their own selfish needs and a gas guzzler would rather spend 30 cents a mile to operate his inefficient gas car or truck instead of 1 or 2 cents per mile to run an electric car. Electric cars have the best acceleration per horsepower. some will do 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds. The Eillica of Japan is an 8 wheel monster limosine with a great range and it cruises at 230 miles an hour, which is kind of redundant for island roads.

People like these Germans prove that they can make things work, I sallute them for their ingenuity. By scaling down their concepts we can show a regular car getting a reasonable 300 mile range at highway speeds, and solar assist would be great on a minivan with lot\'s of head room. Wade.

Ronald Cooper

As a lifelong advocate for vehicle efficiency I applaud this effort. They have gone ten times the distance that a Nissan Leaf is supposed to go with roughly the same size battery. Of course a flat course, ideal speed for the aerodynamics of the vehicle and no traffic lights would get the Leaf a long way towards that distance as well, and it is suitable for a large part of the general populations daily and family driving conditions.

By the way, the aerodynamics do come into play at 28mph. Here is an example. An ordinary bicyclist puts about half his/her energy into pushing air out of the way at about 10mph. That process goes to five times the effort when approaching twenty miles per hour and doubles again by the time 27mph is reached. My aerodynamically faired recumbent bicycle is probably similar in Cd to the \"Schluckspecht\" and I rode it across the U.S. in 2000 at a typical 20mph when riding flat ground. 28mph was what I reached when I added roughly equal electric drive power to it on a flat course racetrack event some years later.

Paul Gracey

This may be the year (2012) that Pikes Peak is won by an electric car. I do not think electric car are practical for most people at the moment but when battery reliability is improved and the costs come down they will definitely have a place. The 24 hour record is probably the most relevant to most people and that currently stands at over 1000 miles with battery charging allowed.

Stephen Colbourne

Mostly Everyone who has commented have made good points, all except for the whiners who do not get the idea that what these guys at BOSCH have done is to push & define the "envelope" a bit. An aerodynamic car built of light & strong materials can carry most everyone as far as they TYPICALLY need to go every day and in some cases, for many days. Where the charge comes from is really not relevant. Yup, it matters to cut down on coal & oil power but for the time being simply using less and using well it a big step forward. Over the next several years a new class of lithium based batteries will emerge that ALL should have at least 3 times denser power, charge & discharge up to 10 times faster, have ZERO heating and burning issues, and should have a life span something like 5 times greater. As this evolves so also will an array of solar cell technologies, along with sharply better biomass sources, along with more wind & wave generators, and finally, a smarter sturdier grid system. So, where the juice comes from will, over time, matter less. However, being able to get around town quick, cool, & cheap can and should happen now.

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