As you set off in your shiny new Tesla Model 3, you’ll be congratulating yourself on having bought one of the most efficient EVs available – delivering a real world 5 miles / kWh.
But what if a car could be 4 times as efficient at an astonishing 20 miles / kWh?
Well there is, but for now it’s strictly a prototype limited to 50mph and acceleration is probably…. think 2CV. Students from Cambridge University have built an ultra-efficient electric car that runs using only as much power as it takes to boil a kettle (2500 watts).
The Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) student society built the four-seater car, named Helia, to be as efficient as possible. The car’s streamlined aerodynamic design and lightweight construction significantly enhance the overall energy efficiency, using power from high performance lithium-ion battery packs produced in collaboration with Silverstone-based Danecca.
The battery pack has much higher energy density than most production vehicles, which gives Helia more than double the range of a Tesla Model 3, while being only a quarter of the size. This translates to a range of 900km (or 560 miles) – the distance from London to Edinburgh.
The car is mostly carbon fibre which delivers a kerb weight of only 550 kilograms. Whilst it has solar panels on the roof it charges in the same way as any typical production battery EV.
CUER’s programme director, Xiaofan Zhang, said the achievement was possible because electric vehicle (EV) technology had developed so far in a short space of time.
“Currently there is a lot of news about the decline of the UK’s automotive industry, but working with our partners has shown us that there is a very strong network of automotive companies.”