Urban Transport

Eximus IV claims world's most energy efficient vehicle title

The Eximus IV neither makes steam nor does burnouts, but hey, this sure is a dramatic photo of the world's most efficient vehicle
The Eximus IV neither makes steam nor does burnouts, but hey, this sure is a dramatic photo of the world's most efficient vehicle
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The Eximus IV team prepares for their attempt
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The Eximus IV team prepares for their attempt
Using just 0.603 Watt-hours per person per kilometer, the Eximus IV is laying claim being to the world's most efficient vehicle
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Using just 0.603 Watt-hours per person per kilometer, the Eximus IV is laying claim being to the world's most efficient vehicle
Railway tracks provide low rolling resistance
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Railway tracks provide low rolling resistance
The Eximus IV neither makes steam nor does burnouts, but hey, this sure is a dramatic photo of the world's most efficient vehicle
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The Eximus IV neither makes steam nor does burnouts, but hey, this sure is a dramatic photo of the world's most efficient vehicle
A little creative photography might give you the impression that Eximus IV is flying along the track. Realistically, you could comfortably keep up with it on a bicycle
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A little creative photography might give you the impression that Eximus IV is flying along the track. Realistically, you could comfortably keep up with it on a bicycle
The energy contained in just a teaspoon of gasoline would take you 75 km in the Eximus IV, making it the world's most efficient vehicle
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The energy contained in just a teaspoon of gasoline would take you 75 km in the Eximus IV, making it the world's most efficient vehicle
Team Levitas from Chalmers working on its inexpensive maglev rail project
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Team Levitas from Chalmers working on its inexpensive maglev rail project
The Levitas machine can carry 160 kg now, and keeps a distance of 2 mm from a standard rail line
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The Levitas machine can carry 160 kg now, and keeps a distance of 2 mm from a standard rail line

Once a year, the Delsbo Electric contest in Sweden challenges students to create and improve on the world's most energy-efficient vehicles. This year's champ, the Eximus IV, smashed the competition and all previous records with an electric equivalent of 687 MPGe (0.34 l/100km).

Team Eximus, a joint effort between Dalarna University and Chalmers Technical University, has become a bit of a legend in the Delsbo contest, setting new world efficiency records every year from the team's debut in 2016.

The contest takes place on rails, to minimize rolling resistance, and requires contestants to drive some 3.36 km (2.08 mi) carrying six passengers with an average weight of 50 kg (110 lb) per person – a great excuse to get some kids from the crowd involved in the final runs.

The energy contained in just a teaspoon of gasoline would take you 75 km in the Eximus IV, making it the world's most efficient vehicle
The energy contained in just a teaspoon of gasoline would take you 75 km in the Eximus IV, making it the world's most efficient vehicle

Eximus IV's success this year is due to extreme lightweighting and aerodynamics, the team using ultra-light aircraft materials together with a new motor and wheels, and carrying out "extensive wind tunnel testing" despite the fairly slow pace of the "race" you can see in the video below. It wouldn't be difficult to keep up with these things on a bicycle.

But in terms of energy efficiency, they're pretty staggering. Eximus IV's new record is 0.603 watt-hours per person per kilometer. For the entire six-person sled, the efficiency works out around 687 MPGe, or 0.34 l/100km.

Another notable entrant this year was team Levitas, from Chalmers Technical University, which won the HHK Innovation Award with its small, inexpensive take on a maglev system that works on regular train tracks. The team was able to demonstrate a vehicle that can carry a 160-kg (353-lb) weight while keeping a distance of 2 mm (0.08 in) from the tracks.

Team Levitas from Chalmers working on its inexpensive maglev rail project
Team Levitas from Chalmers working on its inexpensive maglev rail project

While team Eximus takes the glory of the main prize this time around, the work the Levitas team has been doing could lead to revolutionary improvements in the affordability of maglev rail systems.

"What these guys have done is a potential game-changer for rail travel," says Paul Bogatir, HHK Cluster Manager and chairman of the Innovation Award jury. "Chalmers has createda cheap, well-functioning magnetic levitating train with an impressive control system. Thestudents even hand-wound some of the magnetic coils to keep costs down. The world shouldstand up and take notice – this is big."

Check out the competition in the video below.

Source: Delsbo Electric

Delsbo Electric 2019 - Battery Powered Rail Vehicle Challenge

5 comments
Daishi
.63 Wh per person per km works out to 3.78 Wh per km for all 6 people combined or 2.34 Wh/mile in freedom units which seems really low compared to electric cars that use 200-300 Wh to go a mile. I think the EPA uses 33.7 kWh to represent the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline for their MPGe calculation but doing the math with that figure gives me a number off of the page for MPGe. A car that uses 320 Wh per mile is about 105 MPGe based on (33.7*1000)/320= and at 2.34 Wh/mile that figure is (33.7*1000)/2.34= 14,401 MPGe. I'm definitely getting an MPGe figure higher than 687. To get that figure I think they would need to be around 49 Wh/mile using the EPA figures here: https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/decoding-electric-car-mpg.html
jerryd
Not very good. My 800lb EV trike pickup does just 350mpge that and it uses a MC front wheel at road speeds. And as Dasishi says, it's more like 50wthr/mile to get 687mpge. I did like the Maglev one though.
Brooke
The Delsbo contest is rigged in that they specify carrying 660 lbs of passengers on railroad tracks. Once the vehicle is up to speed the weight of the passengers has no effect on the energy efficiency assuming the track is level. This is clear to me since I'm studying what is involved in getting my M-360 electric Trike to climb hills. When lifting weight it takes a horsepower to lift 550 lbs one foot in one second. Railroad tracks have the lowest rolling friction know, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_resistance#Rolling_resistance_coefficient_examples
Bob Stuart
Two years in the wind tunnel might replace two hours of browsing streamlined bicycles.
Kpar
Team Levitas is onto something big, methinks. I have a close friend who is an engineer on a modernization program for the Chicago EL, and the limitations placed upon them by the existing plant (in place structures/technology) are horrendous- pretty much eliminating any attempts to reduce sound levels (see the original Blues Brothers movie to catch my drift!). Converting to a maglev system on existing rails IS a game changer IMHO.