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Transportation Earth Toys

Green GT's All-Electric Supercar Unveiled 196

Mike writes "Swiss auto company Green GT recently released the first details on a svelte all-electric supercar that is being heralded as the most powerful electric race car ever built. Designed with the 2011 Le Mans race in mind, the Twenty-4 will boast a sleek carbon fiber chassis and twin 100-kw electric motors totaling 400 hp — enough to push the vehicle from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat, and to a top speed of 171 mph. GreenGT's head engineer Christophe Schwartz has stated that 'The GreenGT Twenty-4 design study could become our 2011 Le Mans Prototype electric racer, or it could even become an electric road-going supercar. There is a possibility to do both!'"
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Green GT's All-Electric Supercar Unveiled

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  • 24 hour charge?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <semi_famous@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:46PM (#28099711) Homepage Journal
    What interests me is how they'll power the car in a 24-hour race. There don't seem to be details on that.

    According to their site, there's a large solar-powered charging station (100 square meters of photovoltaic surface) which can be used to charge the car between races, but unless they're seriously loading the thing with batteries, they're either going to need long pit stops for charging or the ability to swap out battery packs as fast as other cars can pit for fuel.

    On the other hand, with their target date two years out and the rapidly evolving electric car scene, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some hot new prototype hitting the car show circuit around then that blew their doors off.
    • My vote goes to the swappable battery packs
      • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:5, Informative)

        by caffeineboy ( 44704 ) <skidmore.22@osu. e d u> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:49PM (#28100613)

        This is how it was done in SAE formula lightning. []

        There is a video of the WVU team doing a pit practice here []. These are college kids, probably engineers and not mechanics. A real pit crew could do it in much less time.

        • Yeah, they aren't going to win too many races with a pit time of 1 minute +
          • by Tanktalus ( 794810 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:59PM (#28100753) Journal
            Well, not against gas-powered cars, but in an all-electric race, perhaps... (if anything gets electric cars kick-started in the public consciousness, it'd be an all-electric indy or something)
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by k-vuohi ( 973009 )
              Saying "We'll do an all-electric race because, let's face it, they're not that good against the fossile fuel powered ones" may raise public consciousness, but not a desire buy one. Still, 400hp from an electric car is getting there.
            • An electric car will do pretty well. It can provide a good weight to horse power ratio. One of the challenges in electric cars, is battery life. Discharge a lead acid battery more than 10%, and it's life goes from years to weeks. In a race, you don't care about battery life past the race. And with some engineering, a battery swap could come down to a reasonable pit stop.

              But the sex-appeal of something that does not rock the stands, or throw a flame is really low.

        • by vikstar ( 615372 )

          I saw a f1 team roll a new nose cone on a trolley. It would probably be much easier to develop a trolley to swap out the batteries in one motion. First trolley grabs the batteries and moves them out of the way, second trolley with the new batteries rolls up to the side and slides them in. Sure it probably can't be done right now this very minute, there would be problems to overcome, but c'mon, a battery trolley with rails is beyond human capacity? (no pun intended).

    • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alta ( 1263 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:58PM (#28099863) Homepage Journal

      Done right, I can see a mechanical battery change process... Much faster than gasoline fuel.

      1. Pull up to red line.
      2. 4 clamps grab wheels
      3. car is left up in the air 2 ft, while spent batteries fall out, exit passenger side on conveyor belt.
      4. new batteries come in at same time, put in proper position.
      5. Car drops, latching in new batteries
      6. clamps release wheels.
      7. 0-60 in 4 seconds.

      I could see a see a 4 second pit stop here.

      Skip the 'lifting' process, and have them drop into a recess and you get rid of the GForce limitations on the driver. But you also make it so the system is embedded in the ground or the driver goes up/down a ramp.

      Then again, remember how they want to shoot microwave power from space? Imagine if your power is beamed to you from the center of the track. (sounds dangerous)
      And then instead of restrictor plates, you get resistor plates.

      • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:05PM (#28099967) Journal

        It's been a while since I watched that race, but from memory I think Le Mans pit stops aren't the 4-second in-n-out with four fresh tyres and a full tank that you get in Formula 1. They last a bit longer than that.

        • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:09PM (#28100037) Homepage

          How much is "a bit longer"? Several pre-production cars have already demonstrated 10 minute charging, while BYD claims it on the production F3DM. If you have a really crazy cooling system and, say, a 250kW Aerovironment PosiCharge charger or 300kW Norvik MinitCharge charger, you should be able to do ~5 minutes per ~120 miles.

          • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:5, Informative)

            by dk90406 ( 797452 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:25PM (#28100225)
            20-30 seconds for tire change. About a minute if the car needs refueling as well. They are not allowed to change the tires while fuel is being pumped.
            • And, if they can get more time between stops than on the gas engines (quite possible with regenerative braking) or some form of weight advantage (not sure about weight rules at Le Mans), this car could scream.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            How much is "a bit longer"? Several pre-production cars have already demonstrated 10 minute charging, while BYD claims it on the production F3DM. If you have a really crazy cooling system and, say, a 250kW Aerovironment PosiCharge charger or 300kW Norvik MinitCharge charger, you should be able to do ~5 minutes per ~120 miles.

            This car has two hundred-kilowatt motors in it. If you use a 250 kW charger to charge batteries that you're then discharging at 200 kW, you need to spend 45% of the time charging.

            Take a look at the air intakes on that car. It doesn't need air to burn, so those intakes have to be entirely for cooling airflow. Yow.

            • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:4, Informative)

              by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:34PM (#28100377) Homepage

              Even racing supercars don't come close to running at 100% throttle nonstop -- and when they do slow down for turns, regen puts power back into the pack. Li-ion regen in the Roadster, for example, is around 65-70% efficient if I recall the numbers correctly. So you only lose 30-35% of the energy expended on an accel/decel cycle; the rest of your losses are primarily aero and rolling. Aero, which should be the primary loss mechanism, will depend heavily on how much downforce there is.

              I agree, though, in that it's probably not practical for the race unless the pit stops are long.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              I disagree on the air intakes - generating downforce and brake cooling are also the reasons the air intakes are there. I'm sure those motors do produce heat - but I will bet it's still much less than an equivalent combustion engine.
            • by b0bby ( 201198 )

              Take a look at the air intakes on that car. It doesn't need air to burn, so those intakes have to be entirely for cooling airflow.

              FTA: "The car was designed by five students from the CCi du Valenciennois school." In other words, it's just as likely that the air intakes are there to look cool... Also, my French isn't the best, but from the green-gt site it looks like they are planning to build a prototype this spring, then maybe add hydrogen as a fuel source fall 2009, then make 20 or 25 cars by the end of the year. I'll believe it when I see it.

          • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:4, Informative)

            by ckthorp ( 1255134 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @05:25PM (#28101099)
            Audi took almost a 1 hour stop for maintenance and still took 3rd.
      • lemans pit stops usually involves replacing tires, break system (disks, pads, etc.), sometimes even the pilot is replaced. no need to rush when you have 20-16 hours to catch up with the other cars.

        • If you are making three times as many pit stops as the other cars you'd better be three times as fast as they are. Should only take a few seconds to change batteries, though.

      • There's a lot of braking in those on-street races. I wonder if they're putting in technologies from hybrids like regenerative braking, possibly some sort of system to capture some of the energy lost on tight turns, etc... and recharging the battery for fewer stops.

        If an electric wins the Le Mans, or even has a pretty good showing, the whole industry will start to re-gear overnight. When Joe Six-Pack says, "Gas-only sucks! I want the kind of hybrid technology that'll make me feel like a winner!!", it'l
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by need4mospd ( 1146215 )
        Let's see, grabbing the car by the wheels to lift it? Batteries falling out of the car from 2ft? Dropping a car down 2ft onto the fresh set of batteries? Then you go on about microwave beams shooting around the track?

        You're looking to make this race exciting aren't you?

      • You know, thinking about an electric car possibly winning Le Mans makes me realize just how quickly the general public's mentality regarding the importance of petroleum-based fuels for transportation could change.

        I've heard many times from gearheads how they'd never be caught dead in one-a them electric-battery toy cars, that gasoline is king, etc. As soon as Kyle Bush takes one for a spin in the brickyard, that's gonna change. Obviously, there won't be an electric car running in a NASCAR race because of

        • by LandDolphin ( 1202876 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @06:38PM (#28101931)
          They should really make a race where you can enter any stock car. But what would you call such a race?
          • Um... Stock car race?

            There are many classes of racing, many of them very close to stock production with the addition of safety equipment.

            However not having a top speed of 250MPH kind of takes the appeal out of it.

            I have a friend that races in a mazda miata class.

            But it's important to remember that a motor racing hobby is much more expensive and addictive than say Heroin.... (er maybe not quite more addictive)

        • I've heard many times from gearheads how they'd never be caught dead in one-a them electric-battery toy cars, that gasoline is king, etc.

          I'd be quite happy to drive an electric car, *if* it had exactly the same operational parameters as my petrol car. That is, 400-500 miles per "tank", recharge in under five minutes, payload of around 800kg for a maximum all-up weight of about 2200kg + 1300kg trailer, 0 to 60mph in less than 15 seconds and a cruising speed of at least 90mph.

          Forget 0 to 60 in four seconds,

        • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @07:21PM (#28102457) Journal

          Electrics can and do kick serious but in drag racing, barely streetable Corvettes and Vipers getting hole-shotted of the line and their doors blown off in the traps by something that looks like what your Grandmother might drive to the grocery store make an impression too! Check out White Zombie [] or 0 to 60 in under a second []

        • > As soon as Kyle Bush takes one for a spin in the brickyard, that's gonna change.
          > Obviously, there won't be an electric car running in a NASCAR race because of the
          > narrow rules...

          "IndyCar" rules are at least as restricitve as NASCAR rules. "IndyCars" all have identical powertrains and *governors*.

    • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:00PM (#28099901) Homepage Journal

      How about Supercapacitors []?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How cool would it be if they put a slot with 2 metal strips either size of it all around the race track, and powered the car via that?

      • VERY cool. Especially the crashes.

        "Oh, that's gotta hurt - I just hope the driver doesn't get out of the car!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sandbags ( 964742 )

      well, it doesn't have to run for 24 hours on one charge, the other race cars are lucky to run 70 minutes on a tank of gas...

      If it can make 150 miles, when they pull in to swap the tires, and jack it up, they could also drip the batteries from the under carrige and replace them en masse.

      high performance charging system run on generators pit-site could bring those Li-Ti or Li-Su batteries to full charge in 30 minutes...

      My concern is the 400HP total... most of it;s competition does 0-100 in about 8 seconds, a

      • Unlike the gas buggies, the electric will deliver most that 400hp to the wheels.

      • Re:24 hour charge?? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ZosX ( 517789 ) <.zosxavius. .at.> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @11:18PM (#28104607) Homepage

        Ahhh grasshopper. You are confusing horsepower with torque. A diesel engine with 100hp can create hundreds of pounds of torque. Horsepower doesn't tell the whole story and is not representative of how much torque the engine can produce, which varies with engine speed. A typical car has a torque curve that starts out gradually climbing and then reaching its maximum around 3000-4000 rpm (just an example here people) and begins to flatten and decline towards the red line, say at 6000 RPM. That means that this engine is only outputting peak torque at the maximum point in the curve. An electric engine has a purely linear torque scale. At 1 RPM it is generating 500lbs of torque. At 6000 RPM it is generating 500lbs of torque.

        "The torque of an electric motor is independent of speed. It is rather a function of flux and armature current." - Wiki

        Coupled with a continuously variable transmission (ala Prius) electric engines are both highly efficient and insanely powerful. If we can get past the hurdles of energy storage, which clearly dominates this discussion, then internal combustion engines will start to look as antique as the coal fired steam engine. I mean seriously. Which is more elegant, a giant motor, a shaft of metal surrounded by magnets and a coil of wire which is like 95% efficient or an insanely complex machine made of thousands of moving parts and components, which including a whole lot of small motors is only like 23% efficient at best? Never mind all the crap you had to go through to get the fuel that only yields 23% efficiency. Oh and forget about the terribly messy process of getting some black tar that was supposed to probably stay in the ground for a few million more years to cook down and refine into gasoline. (And people wonder why they haven't been building new refineries in the United States, maybe those people should have one in their backyard) I mean geez, solar panels are starting to exceed those kind of numbers already.... To hell with spending money on how to suck out the last few drops of oil from some sandy shoals. We should be spending all of our money on figuring out how to cleanly produce electricity. Our very future depends upon it in more ways than one. where do we have a huge source of energy close by?

    • I assume they'll use the new rapid charging battery tech. Pump the solar panels into some very big capacitors, then unload them into the batteries. []

  • Nice car (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:51PM (#28099757)
    Pity about that short extension cord.
  • Looks like Plasma Boy and his White Zombie [] have a competitor out there. (AFAIK, he uses hot-swappable battery packs as well, and only goes full out on the quarter mile).

  • 2x100kW (Score:5, Informative)

    by Marcika ( 1003625 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:59PM (#28099871)
    Just to point out: TFA must be erroneous or don't know what they are talking about. Two 100kW engines add up to a total of 200kW, i.e. 268hp - far short of the claimed 400hp.
    • Based on my almost non-existent understanding of French, it looks like each engine produces 2*100kW. Why it is reported this way, I do not know.

      • Re:2x100kW (Score:4, Informative)

        by dmatos ( 232892 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:16PM (#28100109)

        It looks like a bad Google translation. The original French:

        2 moteurs triphasés synchrones de 2 x 100 kW linéaires (2 synchronous tri-phase motors, each 2x100kW linear)

        The Google translation:

        2-phase synchronous motors of 100 kilowatts x 2 linear

    • I mean god, lets all get into the 19th century already people.

      Also... It's The Torque Stupid
      And 0-60 in 4 seconds is slow anyway...

      HTH etc

      • I can apply hundreds or thousands of foot pounds of torque by standing on a long lever. However, I cannot produce more than about .09 horsepower for any length of time. Uniform torque through the power band is important for good acceleration unless you have a continuously variable transmission, but other than that the maximum power and efficiency is what matters (and motors are far better at providing constant torque than internal combustion engines). 0-60 in 4s is rather slow for a supercar, but if it can maintain a higher efficiency by regenerative braking it may have a chance. Electric motors can usually handle 150-200% of their rated power for short bursts, like accelerating out of a turn using the energy regenerated from breaking coming into it.

    • by wren337 ( 182018 )

      Without knowing for sure, I would guess the motors are 100kw rated by the manufacturer, and they're over-volting them by 30-40%.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      TFA is even worse than "Sears Horsepower". Take this link for example: []

      By some miracle, Sears can pull "1.5 Hp" using "only 8 amps at 115 volts". Truly a miracle of perpetual motion.

      So, I figure, using "sears horsepower" they could calculate 200000 / ( ( 8*115) / 1.5 ) = some 326 Sears Horsepower for their little car.

      Sears horsepower used to be the absolute peak of scummy non-scientific marketing, second only to "music

  • 2 x 100kW != 400 HP (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Subject says it all, well almost.
    100kW == 134HP

    • Twin 100kW motors so 268HP. No metion of how many sets of twin 100kW motors. If it only hits 171 then it's going to have to get out of the way of the Prototypes like Mercedes and Audi who can hit 250 on the Mulsanne. Don't expect it to have a podium finish. But still impressive if the car lasts 24 hours. Lots of things can and do break.
  • 2 x100KW != 400HP (Score:3, Informative)

    by phatvw ( 996438 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:02PM (#28099933)
    1KW ~= 1.34 HP
    200KW ~= 268HP
    400HP equivalent?
    They need to explain that a bit better in the article and on the product website []
  • There are potential technology applications that could really enhance performance.

    a) regenerative braking to store power would extend fuel performance even if regular fuel performance was identical to regular car. draw back would be battery cost. Best performance would be small quick draw thin film back to absorb curve braking and allow additional out of curve power spike

    b) independent 4 wheel drive. a lot of electronics required but would be able to improve road grip and reduce tire wear

    I don't see electro

  • Jack Bauer (Score:3, Informative)

    by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:04PM (#28099951) Journal
    If they're calling the car "Twenty-4", will Jack Bauer be driving it?
  • The hideous Eliica [] already exists and blows it away, the Wrightspeed X1 [] toasts it at least on accel (and the economy-canceled production model, the SR-71, was expected to be able to beat a Bugatti Veyron in 0-60), while Shelby Supercars [] is working on the Ultimate Aero EV [] which should blow them all away.

    • How well do any of them do when running for 24 hours straight? The Le Mans is designed to test reliability of the cars as well as their speed.

      It's one thing to be able to run the shortest lap time. It's another to put in the most laps over a long period of time. Different design criteria, different cars.

  • Old tech. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This has been done among Universities for several years. If I remember Ohio State and Oklahoma won a lot of the races with these cars.

    The races were short, it could only run for 8-10 minutes depending on the load without changing battery packs. A quick release mechanism was designed where all 32 batteries could be changed in 10-13 seconds.

  • Heat Problems? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:06PM (#28099999)

    Why the big air scoops on this car? Do they have a heat problem? They almost look like they are placed for tire cooling more than anything else.

    You would think that they would try to make this the sleekest wind-cheatingest car they could instead of grabbing huge chunks of air.

    • Why the big air scoops on this car? Do they have a heat problem? They almost look like they are placed for tire cooling more than anything else.

      You would think that they would try to make this the sleekest wind-cheatingest car they could instead of grabbing huge chunks of air.

      Wind-cheating? The purpose of race car design isn't to reduce drag, the purpose is to generate maximum downforce.

    • Re:Heat Problems? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:19PM (#28100163) Homepage Journal

      You hit it, the cooling is for breaks and tires, as well as down pressure.

      Every once and a while in the NASCAR races they'll show you a camera view from inside the wheel well. You can see when the driver hits the breaks the rotors literally become red-hot from the friction of trying to slow the car down.

      Now imagine that same situation, with wider tires and faster speeds on tracks with significantly more braking.

      Odds are though, that the frame they are starting with is from some company that produces frames for indy or some other circuit cars. Just as the Tesla Roadster is actually a Lotus frame and body. So the cooling requirements will likely vary significantly from the function of the imaged vehicle.


    • by Myrv ( 305480 )

      Two Possibilities:

      1) They're for the brakes. Their configuration seems to support this possibility. Brakes on F1 or Lemans or similar cars will glow red hot on some corners making brake cooling a priority. Of course assuming they use some form of regenerative braking the load on the brakes should be reduced which brings us to:

      2) Electric motor cooling. 100kw electric motors will get quite toasty if not cooled.

    • Actually, since they are shown in both up an down positions, my bet is that they are air-brakes, supplementing the regular braking system.

      • by Molochi ( 555357 )

        Aren't variable aerodynamics banned, though?

        • There have been cars with air brakes in the Le Mans before (in fact, they were introduced there), although the rules may have changed since then. And depending on the exact definition, air brakes may or may not count as variable aerodynamics: They intend disrupt the aerodynamics, not change it into a new form.

  • 0-60 in 5 seconds and top speed of 171? that's about the same performance numbers as my family sedan (a chrysler 300C SRT-8) which is DECIDEDLY not a supercar! i did not know my 5-passenger luxury sedan was a viable candidate for lemans.

    • Whatever it is, you probably couldn't race one "continuously" for 24 hours and I about guarantee that it handles like dogshit compared to an actual LeMans car.

      • by pezpunk ( 205653 )

        do lemans cars get pit stops? if so i see no reason it couldn't. handling, of course, is about what you'd expect from a 4000lb car.

        but my point was 0-60 in 4 seconds and 171mph is not supercar territory, unless this is 1986.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

          The acceleration is fine; most supercars do not have the best possible acceleration because it would interfere with top speed (e.g. gearing issues.) The top speed, however, is less than 200 mph, which is pretty much mandatory for a supercar today.

    • by Krneki ( 1192201 )
      Until you try to corner with you little bus. And it was 4 sec not 5.
  • 1) They are way underpowered, even compared to the 2008 front runners.
    2) There currently is NO electric car class at all
    3) LeMans is by "Invitation only", not just anyone can show up and race.

    ~2008 specs for the front runners:

    Audi R10: 650 hp-1100 Nm-925 kg
    Peugeot 908: 700 hp-1200 Nm-925 kg
  • 171? (Score:3, Informative)

    by spoop ( 952477 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @05:05PM (#28100839)
    171 mph top speed jumps out at me as very uncompetitive at Le Mans. The Circuit de la Sarthe [] is a long track with a lot of straights, especially the Mulsanne Straight. Last year, the cars in the GT2 class which I assume this will compete in (the slowest class) topped out at 182-186mph for the most part. Source: []
  • Fastest? (Score:2, Informative)

    by teoryn ( 801633 )

    "...the most powerful electric race car ever built."

    Maybe for a certain class of race car, but The Buckeye Bullet [] broke 300 mph years ago, and the new model will have been tested before this Green GT car is built.

  • I haven't followed the research closely, but it seems like the majority of stories are about high-end electric race cars when the real money would be in much more modest family sudans or commuters. I'd love to see an endurance racing challenge where manufacturers had to hit real-world benchmarks (hauling around mom, kids, and groceries equivalent in weight for X miles or X hours).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Qzukk ( 229616 )

      endurance racing challenge

      Every 15 minutes the driver will have to announce whether or not they are there yet?

  • If EESTOR was for real AND has produced prototypes, now would be the ideal time to bring it out for use. Put it in a decent car and see what happens.
  • twin 100 kW motors = 400 HP?

    What an idjot.

    This is actually about 268 HP. []

    Its pretty bad when they can't even do the basics.

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