All-electric car breaks through eight-minute barrier in test

An all-electric car has broken the eight-minute barrier for a single lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife test circuit in Germany.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH’s (TMG’s) time of seven minutes 47.79 seconds markedly lowers the previous all-electric record set by the Peugeot EX1 earlier in the year (9:01min) and places it in the company of some prestige combustion engine performance models.

TMG speculates that the powertrain could form the basis of future single-make electric motorsport series and the company will begin commercial sales of this technology in 2012.

‘Electric motorsport brings very different issues compared to traditional motorsport,’ project leader Alastair Moffitt told The Engineer.

‘Our initial testing showed that battery and motor cooling was a major performance factor and we could make some adjustments that optimised the power output while still keeping the components within a safe operating range.’

The TMG EV P001 is based on a modified Radical chassis that uses two electric motors to achieve a top speed of 260km/h (160mph) with 800Nm of torque.

‘We learned a lot in terms of how items such as the motor-control unit and battery-management systems need to be set up for flat-out driving. Changing the tolerances or safety margins in the powertrain software was a very useful way to optimise performance and deliver better lap time,’ Moffitt said.

The EV P001’s time is still some way from the petrol Radical whose chassis it based on — which holds the Nürburgring production record at 6:48min. But rather than aiming for new records Moffitt said his team will focus on developing a race series. 

‘Clearly our lap record achievement shows that TMG’s electric powertrain has both performance and durability, which we believe makes it ideal for an all-electric championship,’ he added.