Electric Car Breaks Record: 0 to 62 Mph in 1.5 Seconds

June 29, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

Record-breaking Formula Student electric car
Photo credit: ETH Zurich / Alessandro Della Bella

And sets new standards in lightweight construction. 

In an impressive record-breaking performance, an electric car — dubbed the “grimsel” — propelled from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 1.513 seconds, securing its place as the fastest known electric car in the world.

The record was set at the Dübendorf Air Base near Zurich last week (June 22). Impressively, the car was built by a team of 30 students from ETH Zurich (a STEM university) and Switzerland’s Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and the award-winning group constructed the grimsel in less than a year.

The previous world record was set in 2015 by a team at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, and their electric car zoomed from 0 to 62 mph in 1.779 seconds — another impressive accomplishment.

According to representatives from ETH Zurich, the grimsel is the fifth electric vehicle built at the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ) where the 30 students are members.

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Even before breaking the acceleration speed record, the grimsel was met with success in the international Formula Student competition back in 2014, that hosted over 500 competing teams. The Formula Student competition, the largest competition for engineering students, takes place annually on race courses around the world.

Remarkably, the grimsel scored 920 points out of a possible 1,000, making it the AMZ’s most successful vehicle, according to the ETH Zurich press release.

Not only has the grimsel locked down the title of the fastest electric car in the world, it also “sets new standards for lightweight construction and electric drive technology,” the release states.

The car, weighing in at just 370 pounds (168 kilograms), is made of carbon-fiber materials. For reference, the average American car weighed a whopping 4,009 pounds (1,818 kilograms) in 2010. The grimsel also boasts four-wheel drive, and the researchers say that each of its wheel-hub motors has the capacity to generate 200 horsepower and 1,254 foot-pounds — a foot-pound is the unit of energy that is required to raise 1 pound a distance of 1 foot.

The car’s ability to accelerate so quickly may be courtesy of the grimsel’s traction-control system, which regulates each wheel’s performance individually.

To see the record-breaking grimsel in motion, check out the video below.


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