Electric car powered by tiny battery sets new driving range record

Despite being powered by a battery a quarter of the capacity of a Tesla Model 3’s pack, this electric car has set a new driving range record – eclipsing the previous benchmark by almost 1000km.

A team of German students have set a new electric-car driving range record, covering almost 2600km on a single charge – without solar panels and using a comparatively tiny battery.

The team – named TUfast Eco and composed of students from the Technical University of Munich – built their single-seat electric-car with the intention of setting a new battery-powered vehicle range record, with the previous benchmark standing at 1608km.

Conducted in a hangar at Munich airport, the previous record fell after four days of driving the "muc022" electric car – but with its battery still holding charge, the team continued for another two days.

After 99 hours of driving across six days, the electric car ran out of charge and made it into the record books with a total measured distance of 2573.79km – almost 1000km more than the previous record.

The new record is also about 1900km greater than the longest driving range of any road-legal electric car currently on sale in Australia, that title held by the Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor – which claims 654km of range on the European WLTP test cycle.

However, while the Polestar 2 utilises a 82kWh gross/78kWh usable battery to achieve its driving range claim, the TUfast Eco team's electric-car is powered by a relatively small 15.5kWh battery pack.

According to the team, the muc022 electric car weighs just 170kg without a driver – a Polestar 2 weighs about two tonnes – and is powered by a 400W electric motor.

While the team didn't specify how fast its electric car was travelling on its record-breaking run, a quick calculation indicates it was driven at an average speed of 26km/h – spread across eight drivers.

Despite its low driving speed, the muc022 was built to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible – with its sleek panels giving it a drag coefficient of 0.159Cd. For context, the most aerodynamically-efficient, mass-production electric cars on sale today quote about 0.20Cd.

The new electric-car driving range record comes less than a week after a team of Swiss university students claimed to have set a new electric-car acceleration record, with their battery-powered vehicle sprinting from 0-100km/h in less than one second.

With driver Kate Maggetti behind the wheel, the Mythen electric car accelerated from 0-100km/h in a time of 0.956 seconds, more than half-a-second faster than the existing record.

The sprint was also completed in a distance of just 12.3 metres, with its driver subjected to an average force of 2.96G – almost three-times their own body weight.

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