Imperial College London

UK first for electric supercar team in lead up to world record attempt across the Americas

Back light of Racing Green Endurance car

Students in an electric supercar are the first to drive an all-electric vehicle around the M25 twice on one charge <em> - News Release</em>

Adapted from an Imperial College London News Release
Friday 28 May 2010
By Colin Smith

Students driving an electric supercar last night became the first to drive an all-electric vehicle around the M25 twice on one battery charge, creating a UK record, in the lead up to the team’s attempt to cross the Americas in July this year and create a new world record.

The Racing Green Endurance (RGE) team, from Imperial College London, drove two laps around the M25 in their specially modified electric Radical SRZERO supercar. This broke the current record held by a team in an electric car, which did one lap around the M25 on one battery charge.

The M25 journey forms part of a long-term strategy by the RGE team to test the performance of SRZERO before they embark on a trip across North and South America in July. The team plan to be the first in the world to drive an electric vehicle the entire length of the Pan American Highway, which is the longest road on Earth.

The team, which comprises undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni from Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering, aim to travel 26,000 kilometres along the Pan-American Highway, starting at the northern tip of Alaska and finishing at the southern tip of South America. Part of the project will see them assessing the performance and endurance capabilities of electric vehicles over long distances. They also hope that driving their car across two continents will raise awareness along the way about the benefits of electric vehicles and dispel the public perception of electric cars as slow and unattractive, with a limited range.

Alexander Schey, RGE Project Manager who is a fourth year undergraduate from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, says:

“We’ll face all sorts of engineering challenges during the drive from North America to South America. There are no emergency breakdown services in the jungles of Colombia or the frozen wastes of Alaska, so we need to do as much testing as possible of the car before our Pan-American journey begins. By driving the car around the M25 twice, we’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone, further testing the SRZERO’s endurance capability while hopefully going further than any other all-electric car has managed before around the M25.”

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In the video (right), the team talk about why they have developed the SRZERO. They also discuss how they are preparing before their trek across two continents.

The team designed, integrated and installed the different components into the electric vehicle, including two motors that were designed and built by an Imperial spinout company - EVO Electric. The electric motors are ultra-light weight, which reduces the car's load and increases its energy efficiency.

The Racing Green Endurance project runs alongside the wider Imperial Racing Green initiative (IRG), which is training students to become the engineers who will develop the next generation of zero emission vehicles in the future. The IRG project is an initiative of the Energy Futures Lab, which is the College’s hub for interdisciplinary energy research.

Inside the RGE car

Under the 'bonnet' of RGE's all electric supercar

Professor Nigel Brandon, Director of the Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London, says: “The need to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions has never been greater. To meet current government targets by 2050, we need to refine a range of technologies including electric vehicles, which will help us move towards a low carbon economy. Apart from being great fun, we hope that the Racing Green Endurance project will show the world the leaps and bounds that electric vehicles are making. This project is also helping the next generation of UK engineers to gain valuable experience in the field, which is vital for their careers and the future of the British manufacturing.”

-Ends-

For further information please contact:
Colin Smith
Press Officer
Imperial College London
Email: cd.smith@imperial.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)207 594 6712
Out of hours duty press officer: +44 (0)7803 886 248

1. Racing Green EnduranceRGE is sponsored by Radical Sportscars with the chassis and engineering support, as well as Thundersky who supplied the 56kWh battery pack. KPMG gave financial, logistics and PR support and Frazer Nash contributed the Battery Management System. Other sponsors include EVO Electric, National Instruments, Continental Tyres, Rinehart Motion Systems, Hellmann Logistics, Energyexcel, Absopulse, Anderson Power Products, Artic Consultants, Ferraz-Shawmut, Conec, Gigavac, Hella, Hillstone Loadbanks, Image Wheels, Samco Sports, Simtek UK, Quaife Engineering, Max Parts, and Ubershot.

Link: http://racinggreenendurance.com/

Twitter: @RGEndurance

2. About Imperial College London

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Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, en gi neer ing and bu siness, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the b enefit of all continues today, with current f ocuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve health in the UK and globally, tackle climate change and develop clean and sustainable sources of energy.

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