Published on October 5th, 2011 | by Charis Michelsen2
eCarLiveDrive 2011 – Test Drive a 155mph SuperBus!
October 5th, 2011 by Charis Michelsen
The eCarTec fair in Munich this month addresses issues of energy, infrastructure, and finance, as related to electric vehicles and energy conservation technology. To get visitors in the door, the fair has announced eCarLiveDrive — a host of EVs to test drive on a 0.6 mile test course are part of the package, including a massive Dutch “superbus” prototype.
Electric mobility is no longer some abstract technological question — it’s here, it’s real, and it must not go away. While electric vehicles are part of a solution for environmental issues (limited fossil fuels, climate change, etc.), the average consumer doesn’t care. eCarTec is trying to showcase something much easier to understand instead — the spirit of fun in electric cars.
The difference between an electric car and one with a combustion engine is felt on every level — the sound (or lack thereof) in the engine, the range, the feeling of the brakes, and even just turning the machine on. The difference is most keenly felt in the simple act of driving. Robert Metzger, managing director of the MunichExpo and organizer for eCarTec, waxes enthusiastic about the experience: “EVs are just so much fun to drive! You push on the gas pedal, and the thing just accelerates without delay. That’s a great feeling. With eCarLiveDrive, we want to use that to help auto makers convince buyers of EVs at the ground level.”
The test track, which is open to the public year-round, has certainly attracted a fair number of visitors. 3,000 test drives were taken this year. Metzger hopes for 10,000 next year, and that the EV fleet can be increased to at least 100 vehicles. Currently, visitors are able to test drive a wide range of EVs — pedelecs, bikes, scooters, small cars, sports cars, and even commercial vehicles. “Enthusiasm only comes when you get to drive the car yourself,” he says. “We don’t want the ecomobile image – we want to express the sense of fun in driving.”
The highlight of the eCarLiveDrive is the Dutch superbus, a prototype representing a project currently in development at the Delft Technical University under the leadership of Professor Wubbo Ockels. Totally capable of driving on perfectly normal roads, the three-axle bus is just over 49’ long, but only 65” tall. The chassis is made of carbon, the body of fiberglass, and the wheels of polycarbonate — which helps keep its weight down to only 9 tons.
4 electric engines give the superbus about 405HP for sustained driving, but can put out over 800HP in short bursts, and the bus’s top speed is 155mph. According to the university, the bus has a range of 130 miles (possibly not while driving at top speed). Perhaps the most unique part of the bus is how passengers get to the seating area — the 23 seats plus room for a wheelchair are accessible by eight pairs of gull-wing doors!
More information about eCarTec is available at their website.
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