Follow John[embedded content] Electric-car advocates know that a seamless rush of maximum torque from 0 rpm is one of the secret advantages of using an electric motor to power a vehicle.
And that fact–most publicly shown off by the Tesla Model S P85D performance model, and now by its even faster successor, the P90D–has pretty much eradicated those tedious “slow nerdy golf cart” comments from public discussions of electric cars.
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So what does it take to build an electric car with even better acceleration than a Tesla P90D?
One way to do it is to eliminate four of the five seating positions and most of the bodywork, but hang onto the all-wheel drive that lets all four wheels deliver maximum traction to the ground.
2015 Tesla Model S P85D vs Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG at drag strip [photo: George Parrott]
As a team of students from Germany’s University of Stuttgart shows, all it takes is a powerful motor, a battery pack that can deliver maximum current for less than a minute, and … voila … you can build a Tesla beater.
Specifically, the Green Team Formula single-seat drag racing car can cover 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (0 to 62 miles per hour) in a mere 1.779 seconds.
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That’s equal to and probably slightly better than the fastest of today’s Formula 1 cars.
And it’s better, as Motor Authority notes, than the 0-to-60-mph times for the skeletal V8-powered Ariel Atom (2.3 seconds) and the plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder supercar (2.5 seconds). As for the new Tesla Model S P90D, it takes an agonizingly long 2.8 seconds.
To be fair, it would appear that the Green Team Formula drag racer isn’t street-legal, and probably couldn’t do more than a few miles even at a more normal rate of speed.
A Top Fuel dragster can do 0-to-60-mph in something like half a second, but they’re even more single-purpose than the electric drag racer (and far heavier: the German car comes in at a mere 350 pounds).
That degree of acceleration requires a carefully constructed seating position to brace the driver against G-forces significantly higher than the force of gravity.
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The only in-class competitor we can think of, in fact, is the notorious White Zombie. That’s an old Datsun 1200 economy car re-engineered as an all-electric drag racer.
Its best 0-to-60-mph time thus far is about 1.8 seconds.
Let the games begin.
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