0 to 100 km/h in 1.785 seconds: Grimsel gobbles EV acceleration record

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Grimsel has claimed a new world record for acceleration in electric cars: 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 1.785 seconds (Photo: AMZ Racing)

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Students from ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts have claimed a new world record for electric car acceleration. Piloting their EV dubbed "Grimsel" from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 1.785 seconds in less than 30 meters, the students smashed the previous record of 2.134 seconds set by the Delft University of Technology in 2013.

Set at the military airfield in Dübendorf, Switzerland, and awaiting official ratification by the Guinness World Book of Records, the new record was made even more amazing by the fact that it was set by students who also designed and built the vehicle themselves as part of the Formula Student team at the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ).

Developed in less than 12 months by a 30-strong team of students at ETH Zurich and Lucerne University, Grimsel is constructed from carbon fiber, has a total weight of just 168 kg (370 lb) and generates around 147 kW (200 hp). Driven through an integrated planetary gearbox, the cars four individual AMZ M4 wheel hub motors produce 37 kW (50 hp), transmitting a tire-shredding 1630 Nm (1200 ft-lb) of total torque at the wheels.

Though not as powerful as some in-hub electric motor systems we've seen, Grimsel still needs to employ a substantial electronic system of traction control and torque distribution to precisely control each wheel hub motor, minimizing wheel spin and maximizing vehicle acceleration.

The chassis is a one-piece carbon fiber monocoque manufactured by the team that's very light and very strong. It has a torsional stiffness of 4500 Nm/deg (3319 ft-lb/deg) achieved at a weight of only 18.3kg (40 lb) including roll hoops. The vehicle rides on 190 mm (7.5 in) wide tires and one piece carbon fiber rims, all held together with pushrod suspension on the front and rear axles.

As an on-going racing venture, as well as a platform for ultra-fast electric vehicle development, the team has celebrated many successes at the Formula Student international competition during the recent European summer. Competing against more than 500 teams, AMZ has achieved three overall wins and an average of 920 points out of a possible 1,000, making Grimsel the team’s most successful vehicle.

With two of the victories in Austria and Spain, the team also achieved the two highest scores in the European history of Formula Student.

The video below shows a virtual assembly of all of the components that make up record-setting electric race car.

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