Students of the Swiss universities ETH Zürich and Hochschule Luzern have set a new acceleration record with their electric race car: 0 – 100 km/h in just 1.513 seconds.

The Formula Student team of the Academic Motorsports club Zürich (AMZ) has bettered the previous record set by the German University of Stuttgart, a 1.779s. The new record was set at the military airport of Dübendorf near Zürich, Switzerland.

The car, named ‘grimsel’, is designed and built by 30 students to compete in the Formula Student categories. Its lightweight design, weighing just 168 kg, and an unparalleled electric drive train producing 200 hp and 1700 Nm of torque forms the basis of its new record attempt.

The Swiss team is no stranger in setting records. In 2014 they set a 1.785s on the scoreboard, only before it was bettered by 0.006s by their German rivals soon after.

“We knew we were able to do it, but the simple question was how. Our last record was 1.785s and it was then beaten by the team from Stuttgart by just six thousand of a second. We know we had to beat that,” Jonas Abeken, Vice President of AMZ Racing told ElectricAutosport.com.

“At that time, the record wasn’t done as serious as possible because we had to focus on the new car for the Formula Student season as well. So we knew we could do better. We started testing and we realised it wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be,” he added.

AMZ_Racing_record_2016_4

Key to success

One of key ingredients to its success is the power to weight ratio. “The power to weight ratio is really important and also the grip levels. 140kW of power was available and we were able to put all of that on the ground. 140kW and the weight of 168 kg can result in something good.”

But that wasn’t the only thing. After thorough testing they found out how to accelerate even faster. “For the grip we used race tyres and we actually found out that one of the most important things is the control over the motors; how to control the slip ratio of the wheels, how much torque to power the motor at what time. Of course there are other secrets, but this is basically how you can make the car that fast,” he explained.

Useful record

For this attempt they didn’t use any artificial ‘track glue’ to increase grip. They figured out how to maximise the car’s grip with the instruments and components they’ve got. “We were not really limited by grip. In the end we said we want to use our time optimising the controllers instead of learning how to deal with ‘track bite’ [track glue]. And it would be more useful to us as we can use our gained knowledge for the Formula Student project, that’s really important,” he said.

Asking if the car could go even quicker, Abeken responded that it might be possible but with the current car they seem to have reached its limits. “It’s hard to say”, he figured. “Probably we could go quicker but it would require a lot of testing. Right now, as far I have seen, we’re are at the limit of our components. We should improve a lot of areas to be able to go even faster.” 

The record is currently being validated and it seems a matter of time before it will be announced officially.

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Tim is co-founder of ElectricAutosport.com and works in international motorsport. He found his passion for sustainable racing by joining world's first competition for hydrogen electric vehicles in 2008. He does not doubt on the possibility of a break through of electric racing. And that deserves a platform to keep up to date and to interact. Tim operates on behalf of Formula Blue Media.

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