On this date in 1896, an electric car won one of the first automobile races in the United States. Amidst jeers from the crowd to “get a horse!” the ur-EV built by the Riker Electric Motor Company slowly completed five laps around a horse racing track in Cranston, RI. It took 15 minutes for the car to go about five miles.
One hundred and fifteen years later, Toyota Motorsport’s P001 (above) broke the lap record for EVs at the Nürburgring last week, becoming the first electric car to break the eight minute barrier on the 12.92 mile Nordschleife circuit.
With 520V lithium-ion batteries powering twin electric motors that put out 590 pound-feet of torque, the 2,138-pound P001 rocketed through the Green Hell in 7 minutes, 47.794 seconds — well under the previous record of 9 minutes, 1.338 seconds.
It may be depressing for EV proponents to see how little their beloved technology has come since the Cleveland administration, but Toyota engineers are still impressed with the performance of the P001.
“There’s no doubt that electric motorsport can be every bit as thrilling as traditional racing and it was an amazing sensation to watch the TMG electric vehicle fly past on the Nordschleife, with only the sound of wind rushing past and tyres squealing,” said Rob Leupen of Toyota Motorsport, GmbH (TMG). “But this is not the end of the story for TMG and I hope we will see our electric powertrains in action on the track again soon.”
In other words: Don’t believe an EV can deliver just as much excitement on the track as a gasoline-powered car? Get a horse.
Photo: Toyota Motorsport. Video: JapaneseSportCars
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/