In his appearance on The Late, Late Show last week, three-time British Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton was asked if he’d ever try his hand at the up-and-coming Formula-E discipline of motor sport.
Formula-E uses electric cars, rather than traditional fuel-powered ones.
I wasn’t surprised that a lifelong speed junkie like Hamilton rejected the idea. For him, the velocity and noise are the juice, not the silent hum of an electric car.
But a group of students in Switzerland are trying to bring more of a “cool” factor to electric racing.
In fact, they recently broke a world record and say their motor is even better than those used in professional Formula-E racing.
Attention, Petrol Heads
On the face of it, the name Formula Student doesn’t exactly sound sexy. Certainly not anywhere near the realm of Formula 1.
But the engineering design competition doesn’t lack intelligence or technical prowess.
It’s a chance for 500 student teams to draw the attention of “petrol heads” by showcasing new designs.
And the AMZ team at ETH Zurich has done just that.
Even though their electric designs go up against fuel-powered counterparts, it doesn’t deter the mechanical engineers.
As team chief Daniel Hentzen says, “We think it’s important to prove that an electric car can compete with combustion cars when it comes to handling and the fun that you get when you drive this car. So the acceleration that we have would be unthinkable in a combustion car.”
Unthinkable… but not impossible.
Zero to 60 in 1.7 Seconds
Last year, they managed to build an electric car that can actually accelerate faster than fuel-powered cars.
In fact, its Grimsel car broke the world record for acceleration in electric cars, shooting from zero to 100 kph (62 mph) in a mere 1.785 seconds.
This year, their Fluela car combines innovation, speed, and low weight. Thanks to a largely carbon fiber design, Fluela weighs in at just 173 kilograms (381 lbs).
Describing the car’s capabilities, Fluela driver Japhet Schmid says that “the aerodynamic package is quite unique.”
See for yourself below…