The Metropolia Electric RaceAbout may not exactly be a household name yet, but the electric prototype developed by a 25-member student team from Helsinki's Metropolia University of Applied Sciences has kicked up quite a storm blazing across the Nurburgring circuit and set up a new electric vehicle lap record for road legal vehicles.
Established in the year 2001, the RaceAbout Association from the Helsinki-based Polytechnic was looking for a way to create an electric vehicle that could address the need for a change in motoring styles. Sporty and desirable, the 2-seater Electric RaceAbout (E-RA) was developed and built by a team of 25 engineering students and 2 faculty members from the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences located in Helsinki. Using the best lithium battery system in the market, the all-wheel/rear-wheel electric vehicle provides an efficient and simple driving experience taking the pure battery-propelled electric vehicle genre to the streets like never before.
The all-wheel driven Metropolia Electric RaceAbout is fitted with four motors (each wheel is driven by an individual motor) running on efficient and powerful 33 kWh lithium-titanate batteries. The motors were produced by AXCO Motors and developed in collaboration with Lappeenranta University of Technology. A leading electric drive manufacturer from Finland called Vacon provided the team with motor controllers.
The nifty, little Metropolia Electric RaceAbout proved its EV mettle to the world when it set a new electric vehicle lap record for road legal vehicles while testing on the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit last month. With Ralf Kelleners, a German racecar driver, at the wheel, the Electric RaceAbout sprinted about the 20,832 km full lap, with speedy sections known as a Grüne Hölle (Green Hell) that set the bar for vehicular performance for automakers and drivers across the globe, in just 8 minutes and 42,72 seconds with a top speed of 148 mph (238 km/h) and an average speed of 88 mph (142 km/h) through the lap. In another test later, Kelleners got the E-RA to reach an average speed of 152 mph (244 km/h) as well.
For the lap record setting sprint, the Electric RaceAbout needed 25.6 kWh, which resulted in 123 kWh per 100 km or 1230 Wh per km energy consumption. The previous electric vehicle speed record was set at the Nürburgring Nordschleife by the Peugeot EX1, which clocked 9.01:33 for a full lap.
What’s not so good?
For the time being, the vehicle remains a prototype. And though it has established its performance credentials through this record setting performance and other showings at events like the Italian e-miglia, the Automotive X-Prize, and the Michelin Challenge Bibendum. The masses can benefit from the technology used in the E-RA, only if a patron with deep pockets decides to back the project or if a major automaker decides to adopt the electric sprinter and mass-produce it.
The prototype vehicle was fitted with standard testing gear only, though it was fitted with high performance road tires from the Nokian Z G2 range. The E-RA used 245/40 ZR 18 tires in the rear and 225/40 ZR 18 tires in the in front. The lightweight Metropolia Electric RaceAbout features a full carbon fiber, composite body.
Things to watch out for:
The registered and road legal prototype vehicle E-RA developed by the Metropolia team proves that an efficient and high performance car can be propelled by an electric powertrain and very effectively too. When run in normal traffic, the E-RA endures minimal losses and requires modest energy consumption to deliver a top speed of 244 km with an average energy consumption of 145 Wh/km.
Price and availability:
There is no word about the price and possible showroom launch of the Electric RaceAbout at the moment since the car is merely a prototype.
Sami Ruotsalainen, the project director at RaceAbout says:
We are paving the way for creating an electric car industry in Finland. Now the industry will gain more expertise and develop rapidly in our country. Apart from the batteries and their charging system, all other essential technology used in the car, such as electrical technology related to power generation, is the product of Finnish expertise.Top Speed says:
The E-RA has turned out to be a real menace out on the track, setting the new EV record at the Nurburgring.The bottom line:
The whole definition of personal mobility changed ever since the first motor car was introduced to the public 120 years ago. And though advocates are speaking against the kind of emissions and planet-threatening effects the massive number of cars on the streets have, the automotive industry shows no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future. It is in this context that endeavors like the E-RA show their real potential. A pure electric vehicle, the
E-RA looks to fulfill the addictions of the gas-guzzling speed maniacs; and vehicles like these prove that we don’t necessarily need to rely on big automakers or expensive imported oil to get around the town.