Electric vehicles seen as future racetrack competitors

Sept. 9, 2013 at 7:35 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Already noted for saving gasoline and having zero emissions, electric cars have a new goal, a U.S. expert says -- success on the world's racetracks.

Electric vehicle pioneer John E. Waters said the ability to reach blazing speeds that rival the 0-to-60 performance of a typical Porsche or BMW means electric cars can compete on some racecourses with the world's best gasoline-powered cars.

Waters made the remarks at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis.

Recent advances in engineering and use of lithium-ion batteries are producing electric vehicles capable of performance rivaling traditional internal combustion engine race cars, he said.

"Experimental electric cars already have achieved sustained speeds of more than 180 miles per hour, and established world speed records above 300 mph," Waters said.

"Electric cars have inherent advantages in efficiency and torque over gasoline-powered vehicles. Energy storage-to-torque on an EV platform is above 90 percent efficient, compared to less than 35 percent for internal combustion engines."

Races have served historically as testbeds for new automotive technology, as high performance fosters wider public acceptance of the technology to be found eventually in consumer cars, he said, and the same is likely to happen with electric cars.

"I have no doubt that battery-powered race cars will be attracting race fans in the immediate future," he said.

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