EV Smashes Range Record With 1,599-Mile Drive On 15.5kWh Battery

Electric Vehicles / 4 Comments

The battery is seven times smaller than that of a Mercedes EQS.

German students from the Technical University of Munich have obliterated the world record for EV range using a homemade contraption called muc022. The TUfast Eco team traveled an astonishing 1,599 miles on a single charge. For context, the longest-range production EV in the US only manages 520 miles on a single charge (it's the Lucid Air).

The Air's range comes from a 112-kilowatt-hour battery back, so presumably, the students used something pretty big, too, right? Wrong. The battery they used is rated at just 15.5kWh, or roughly seven times smaller than the battery you get in a Mercedes EQS Sedan. So, what tricks did the team use to achieve the feat?

Solar panels seem like an obvious choice to extend range, but the record was set indoors, specifically in an empty hangar at Munich airport. Instead, the team focused on the fundamentals, namely weight and aerodynamics. The car weighs just 170 kilograms (roughly 375 pounds) without a driver, and its drag coefficient is rated at Cd=0.159.

Looking back to production cars, the slipperiest production car in the world is claimed to be China's YangWang U6 (Cd=0.195). Even if that claim is false, the next slipperiest is the Lucid Air with 0.197. Whichever figure is the best, muc022 comprehensively outperforms the competition.

This project car is powered by a 400W permanent-magnet synchronous motor and eclipsed the previous world record of 999.5 miles on the fourth day of driving. Two days later, with the students having slept in cots in the hangar, the EV's juice finally ran out after 99 hours of driving at an average speed of 16 mph. Its efficiency was calculated at 103 miles per kWh. Production cars, at their best, only manage 5 mi/kWh, so the achievement is truly remarkable.

This comes just days after Swiss students smashed the EV acceleration record with a sub-1-second 0-62 mph time. Again, weight and aero were the biggest factors in the achievement.

While this range record was set in controlled conditions (unlike the real-world record Mercedes set last year), it goes to show that the biggest benefits to the cars of tomorrow aren't in adding power and size but in maximizing efficiency. Funny - those are the same traits that make great combustion cars, too.

ETH Zurich

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