What's got eight wheels, does 370 km/h and doesn't use gasoline? The Eliica!View gallery - 14 images
November 7, 2005 It’s not that long ago that we wrote up the eight wheeled KAZ (Keio Advanced Zero-Emission Vehicle) which set the world speed record for an electric car at 311km/h and we were mightily impressed. But things have moved quickly at Keio University and Professor Hiroshi Shimizu and the team have now developed the next generation of the KAZ, which is named the Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car). Last year the Eliica reached a top speed of 370 km/h at the Nardo test track in Italy, and the team’s goal is to beat the top speed of the world’s fastest production car (the Bugatti Veyron) and build a limited run of 200 production units, therefore becoming not just the fastest electric car in the world, but the fastest production car.
Though it looks to be limousine length, the Eliica actually only seats the driver and three passengers – small consolation is that at an approximate US$320,000 a unit in prototype form, the car will still be in a limousine price range when manufactured in production quantities.
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The Eliica was shown in two guises at the Tokyo Motor Show recently – one a roadgoing prototype and the other a record-breaking speedster.
Naturally enough, the Eliica roadgoing prototype aims to offer the ultimate environment and safety standards – power will be available by plugging into the mains electricity where it will take 10 hours to take on a full charge which should offer the 2,400kg Eliica a range of 200 kilomtres.
The final configuration of the Eliica is supposed to be either a four seater sedan that outperforms a sport car, or a sport car that offers the space and ride comfort of an SUV or "cross-over vehicle".
The 370km/h record-breaker was also on show in Tokyo boasting an acceleration time from 0 to 100km/h of 4.1seconds and 0 to 160km/h of just 7.0seconds.
There's a blog about the Eliica but alas, it's in Japanese.
Drive magazine’s Peter Lyons has actually driven the Eliica.View gallery - 14 images