Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Electric cars at blazing-fast speeds

Electric cars can already compete on some racecourses with the world's best petrol-powered cars.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Already noted for saving gasoline and having zero emissions, electric cars have quietly taken on an unlikely new dimension –– the ability to reach blazing speeds that rival the 0-to-60 performance of a typical Porsche or BMW, and compete on some racecourses with the world's best gasoline-powered cars.

Speaking at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), electric vehicle pioneer John E. Waters said that relatively recent advances in engineering and use of lithium-ion batteries are producing electric vehicles (EVs) capable of leaving traditional internal combustion engine race cars in the dust.

"Experimental electric cars already have achieved sustained speeds of more than 180 miles per hour, and established world speed records above 300 mph," Waters said. "Electric cars have inherent advantages in efficiency and torque over gasoline-powered vehicles. Energy storage-to-torque on an EV platform is above 90 percent efficient, compared to less than 35 percent for internal combustion engines. I have no doubt that battery-powered race cars will be attracting race fans in the immediate future."

Waters pointed out that race cars and racetracks do more than thrill an estimated 90 million motorsport fans in the United States alone. In addition, they have served historically as testbeds for new automotive technology, the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.