Electric vehicles records are dropping like flies these days, as more and more vehicles push the boundaries of what’s possible for electric cars, boats, and planes.  The latest to fall:  the record for longest drive ever in a battery-powered vehicle (no recharge) was broken last weekend by a new, experimental electric vehicle called “Schluckspecht” (“heavy drinker” in colloquial German).

Developed at the University of Applied Sciences in Offenburg, the car – which is not pretty – does a solid Energizer bunny routine, going and going and going for 1631.5km (1013.77 miles) without needing to recharge the battery.

The test drive took place in Boxberg at the Bosch corporate test track, where a team of four drivers made the record run alongside a camera-equipped pace car. The 36 hour and 12 minute drive (which didn’t exactly break any EV speed records) was also monitored by European testing agents from TÜV Süd.

This world record follows the team’s successful participation in the South-African Solar Challenge 2010, in which the Schluckspecht drove 626.6km (389.35 miles) on public roads – farther (at the time) than any other electric vehicle.

The Schluckspecht boasts little in the way of creature comforts, a fact which helped reduce overall weight and was no doubt helpful during its record-setting drive. However, the engineering behind its design also played a large part in its success, as the Schluckspecht was built from the ground up specifically to chase battery-powered vehicle records in a lab belonging to Ms. Sunmin Lee from Pforzheim University. The body was shaped with “pure aerodynamics” in mind, and – since the vehicle makes use of two wheel-mounted hub-motors – without the need to accommodate an internal engine or transmission.

The chassis (below) is also all-new, specially developed for this kind of experimental EV in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute EMI, and the innovative support structure allows for a markedly lighter vehicle that optimally divides loads among a total of 14 lithium-cobalt battery packs, with help from the battery management system developed at the University of Offenburg.

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The new record beats the previous record of 1003km (623.23 miles), which had been held by the Japan Electric Vehicle Club. Dr. Ulrich Hochberg, of Offenburg University, was very enthusiastic about the vehicle’s success, calling it a sign of the high level of teaching, research, and development present at the university, which has been developing fuel-efficient vehicles with their Schluckspecht vehicle for 14 years.

The universities involved hope to foster the freedom necessary for students and researchers to carry out R&D programs that carefully consider new concepts far ahead of market demand, and test future models of low-energy vehicles. Team Schluckspecht attributes their world record to the unique combination of research capacity, technical ability, and student involvement at the university.

Source:  Oekonews.at;  Photos:  Team Schluckspecht.