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Electric car world record on single charge – but it’s pointless

Thu, 27 May 2010

The Japanese Electric Vehicle Club did 632 miles in this Electric Daihatsu Mira Van

When car endurance records are set they feel relevant only if they are real-world records. Records set by a car you can buy doing something you could do. A bit like Tom Ford’s run to Munich and back in a BMW 320d ED last week when he managed over 1,000 miles on a single standard tank of fuel.

But records like the one just set for the longest distance travelled on a single charge are totally pointless. On the face of it the record set is impressive. The Japan Electric Vehicle Club drove an electric Daihatsu Mira Van for 632 miles on a single charge. Very impressive. But look at the facts.

The endurance run was done on a closed circuit oval track. The average – and no doubt constant – speed was under 25mph. It used special reduced rolling resistance tires provided by Toyo. There was liberal use of carbon fibre, including the seats. And the battery pack was a whopping 74 kWh. To give some prespective, the Nissan LEAF EV has a battery pack of 24kWh.

So this record is a bit like saying the BMW 320d ED can manage 3,000 miles on a single tank of fuel. Which it can if you fit a tank three times the size of a normal one. And if you ran it on a closed oval circuit at a constant 25mph with special tyres and lots of carbon fibre it would probably get pushing on 5,000 miles.

So we have a record set on controlled and enclosed roads at a constant speed and doubtless in perfect weather. And then to make the record even less credible you use a battery source 3 times the average for a vehicle of its type.

That was worth the effort then.

By Cars UK