Skip

50 MPG and 0 to 60 sub four seconds
August 19, 2005 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Hybrid supercar. The West Philadelphia High School Electric Vehicle Team has built a 300 hp hybrid car which gets 50 mpg on bio-diesel, accelerates from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds and looks sweet. That is a pretty nice high school project.
posted by caddis (34 comments total)

 
Very cool. I totally want one. Totally!

[All I did in HIgh School is lights for the Drama club. I guess there's a difference between a nerd and a useless nerd.]
posted by OmieWise at 8:55 AM on August 19, 2005


I agree with OmieWise; that car is sweet!
posted by TedW at 8:56 AM on August 19, 2005


Damn, that's amazing. (Mind you, they did apparently have some help from a few university students, but still...)

I wonder if it's possible to get that kind of performance out of the right lightweight hybrid without the "ultracapacitor" effect. Toyota's got a hybrid SUV out that gets like 30mpg and 7 second zero-to-sixty times in a heavy-ass truck with the aerodynamics of a brick, a similar drivetrain stuffed in a Honda Insight would freakin' rule.

and surely this post deserves the hotrods tag?
posted by arto at 9:02 AM on August 19, 2005


What's it based on? Looks kinda like a Vauxhall VX220 (which is based on the Lotus Elise), but not quite.

Impressive stuff, but if they made the chassis from scratch, I'm doubly impressed!
posted by LordSludge at 9:04 AM on August 19, 2005


You know you got problems when highschool kids are out performing a major industry. Got oil?
posted by ewkpates at 9:08 AM on August 19, 2005


Wow, they finally finished it. I remember someone telling me about this when it was just a concept. I've been wondering what the first company to pull off a hybrid supercar would be; turns out they all got beat by a bunch of kids.

Oh, and the car is a K1 Attack kit. Yay obscure knowledge!
posted by Stunt at 9:12 AM on August 19, 2005


...of course now that I go to the second link I notice that the very first image is tagged "K1 Attack". Bah. Damn you obscure knowledge; I'll harness you for the powers of good one day!
posted by Stunt at 9:15 AM on August 19, 2005


I remember... I took my SATS at West Philly High. They were doing construction in the room and all the kids were talking on their cell phones.
It comes as a complete surprise to me that West Philly High is in the news for anything beyond the occasionally criminal proceeding...

You know you got problems when highschool kids are out performing a major industry.
I mean, if the kids at West Philly High are solving energy crisis issues, you know that it's got to be the easy, obvious thing to do.

Also, I had no idea that the Philly school district had the budget for this sort of project. Last I heard, they were in some serious financial trouble (like, the State was assuming control).
I'm not even sure that we had current textbooks when I was enrolled in the public school system in Philadelphia (although that more than 15 years ago).
posted by Jon-o at 9:25 AM on August 19, 2005


The automotive academy at the school was saved by these students winning a Tour de Sol award.
posted by caddis at 9:29 AM on August 19, 2005


Wow, when I was in High School, the playground is where I spent most of my days. Chillin' out, maxin', relaxin all cool,
And all shootin' some b-ball, outside of the school.

Nice work.
posted by C.Batt at 9:38 AM on August 19, 2005


That is awesome! I'd totally drive one of those to work everyday.
posted by fenriq at 9:47 AM on August 19, 2005


I should get these kids to put that power system into my '67 Camaro, which currently can't match that 0-60 performance with a 350 V8 at 370 HP, and gets a whopping 11 MPG city on a GOOD day. (Don't worry, I don't drive it much, it's more of a show car toy - I commute via motorcycle.)

Hats off to these kids, bravo!
posted by zoogleplex at 10:07 AM on August 19, 2005


I wonder how many of these cars you'd need to get the weight of your '67 Camaro.
posted by smackfu at 10:17 AM on August 19, 2005


Wow. And the kit only costs like $70,000... This will save us from Peak Oil!
posted by drstrangelove at 10:17 AM on August 19, 2005


drstrangelove: $70,000 is the price for a fully assembled model. I don't think you can actually buy one and drive it legally in the US.

I believe the Kit which includes body panels and frame costs about 15-20K. You need to supply your own engine transmission, and more though.
posted by aaronscool at 10:45 AM on August 19, 2005


These kids deserve some fan mail.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:23 AM on August 19, 2005


These kids deserve some fan mail.

They'll be getting it. Along with an AUC recruiter.
posted by Rubbstone at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2005


Wow. And the kit only costs like $70,000... This will save us from Peak Oil!

Yeah, it's not like there are cost savings associated with mass production or anything. Doom! Doom I say!
posted by junkbox at 11:47 AM on August 19, 2005


New biomass car - awesome
Biomass as an energy source - still a net loss, from what I recall
posted by afroblanca at 12:27 PM on August 19, 2005


You know you got problems when highschool kids are out performing a major industry. Got oil?

The kids don't have to worry about NHTSA, the EPA, the insurance industry, litigation, etc...
posted by Kwantsar at 12:35 PM on August 19, 2005


New biomass car - awesome
Biomass as an energy source - still a net loss, from what I recall


I think that *corn*-derived ethanol is extremely inefficient, but *cellulose* is better, right? Here's a Wired article. I'm not convinced it's a sustainable long-term solution either.

However, to make sure humans survive long enough to reach a long-term sustainable solution, ethanol seems like a decent possiblility.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:36 PM on August 19, 2005


Nice.

At first I thought it was an Elise variant, but I remember seeing that shape before ... indeed, the rather comically named K-1 Attack.

Oddly enough, I was discussing this with some other car buddies of mine, and here's what I was wondering:

Could you put a bio-diesel turbine engine in a car to power the charging system and have the drive provided by DC motors at all four wheels?

Turbines are much more efficient than reciprocating engines (as well as smaller & lighter) and I believe they can be run on bio-diesel kerosene derivatives (that also help with supply chain problems).

Having electric motors can actually be pitched as a performance enhancer AS WELL AS an environmentally friendly thing.

A few years ago Road & Track had a cover story on an engineer that made an electric Honda CRX that had 0 - 60 times in the mid 2 second range. The battery life was laughable (range of 40 - 50 miles) but it could easily trounce sport bikes, let alone cars. Electric motors produce all of their torque from 1 RPM on upwards, so acceleration is phenomenal.

I tell you, you start putting an eco-friendly power-train with these kind of performance figures in cars, and people will notice.

You start RACING them and ...
posted by Relay at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2005



Man, when I was in highschool, I was chuffed just learning to drive and passing physics with a gentleman's d
My hat's off to these kids.

You're going to see a lot of these performance hybrids, many that only use the battery for extra power. The engine these kids used is already fairly efficient-- I have it and it gets a over forty in most circumstances, but that is still a great savings and much more marketable than my VW. Very, very cool post.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:10 PM on August 19, 2005


Don't you just blow out a lot of your precious battery charge away doing one of these starts, so not only do you lose mileage, you're worse off than with a normal car after those couple of minutes of extra boost, especially since you're moving all that extra weight of capacitors and extra motors.


You know you got problems when highschool kids are out performing a major industry. Got oil?

Ummm, Opel Eco Speedster was a diesel-powered performance prototype with similar performance back in 2003.

About the Hybrid K-1 Attack:
Under normal driving conditions, the vehicle will solely be powered by the diesel engine. Therefore, the ultra-capacitor pack stores only enough energy for a few minutes of blazing acceleration.

Well, it sounds to me that this is just a diesel-powered sports-car with a booster-pack of capacitors and electric motors. For a major car-manufacturer this would be technically trivial but probably problematic economically, since all that extra stuff means plenty of extra cost.
posted by lazy-ville at 3:13 PM on August 19, 2005


Oops. Sorry about the double formatting.A Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster will do 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and get 30mpg while a Lotus Elise will do 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and get 40mpg. While not as impressive as 4 seconds and 50mpg, you can actually buy both of these cars and they're probably just as fast or even faster on actual roads, even if the K-1s electric booster gives it superior straight-line performance.
I don't think gas turbines are more efficient than IC engines in automobiles without significant heat recovery systems. Of course, coupled with an electric drivetrain, the turbine could be run optimally at all times, but so could an IC engine.
posted by lazy-ville at 3:36 PM on August 19, 2005


Oops. Sorry about the double formatting.A Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster will do 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and get 30mpg while a Lotus Elise will do 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and get 40mpg. While not as impressive as 4 seconds and 50mpg, you can actually buy both of these cars and they're probably just as fast or even faster on actual roads, even if the K-1s electric booster gives it superior straight-line performance.
I don't think gas turbines are more efficient than IC engines in automobiles without significant heat recovery systems. Of course, coupled with an electric drivetrain, the turbine could be run optimally at all times, but so could an IC engine.
posted by lazy-ville at 3:42 PM on August 19, 2005


Oh shit. I am an idiot. I'll be going to bed now
posted by lazy-ville at 3:43 PM on August 19, 2005


Well, it sounds to me that this is just a diesel-powered sports-car
It's bio-diesel.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 7:48 PM on August 19, 2005


Pretty sexy. That engine bay looks a little cramped... do you have to remove the entire monocoque to change the oil?

And that suspension is awesome. I've never seen side-mounted shocks before. Anyone know how those work?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:44 PM on August 19, 2005


Relay, I've had almost exactly that thought.

Some years ago (ten years ago?) I remember reading of an experimental car being built by a major maker with an electric transmission, that is, a locomotive-style motor+generator+motor setup with per-wheel motors. The reasoning was that you lose a lot of energy and gain a lot of weight in the heavy iron gearboxes and shafts of a traditional transmission. (I'm always surprised at how energy-inefficient gears are.) With an electric transmission and per-wheel motors, you do away with a lot of gearing, shafts, the differential, etc.

Likewise, I remember reading (probably via Metafilter) about a turbine-powered car built in the '50s. Most of its deficiencies (sluggish response to the accelerator, etc) seem like things that would be perfectly solved by an electric transmission and a bank of supercaps.

Large gas turbines are supposed to be efficient, but I don't know how much you can scale them down before losing that efficiency. A car might need, what, 50 kW sustained output? 100 kW? And it has to fit under the hood...
posted by hattifattener at 11:57 PM on August 19, 2005


(Oh, for electric sports cars, there's also the tzero. I've read that it's dead, though.)
posted by hattifattener at 12:00 AM on August 20, 2005


It's bio-diesel.

Bio-diesel is just biologically produced diesel fuel. The engine is a normal diesel-engine.
posted by lazy-ville at 6:44 AM on August 20, 2005


And that suspension is awesome. I've never seen side-mounted shocks before. Anyone know how those work?

I'm guessing it works sorta like a sideways version of mountain bike (and probably some motorcycle) rear suspension--the A-arm lookin' things pivot off of an axis underneath the shock, parallel to the direction of travel, and transfer the up & down forces of wheel travel into longitudinal forces on the shock/spring. There's probably more to it than that, though, to keep the wheels located front-to-back and side-to-side, and to keep the wheels from tilting (camber-wise). Here's some photos of a 1979 Arrows F1 rear suspension that looks kinda similar in principal.

I'm the furthest thing from a trained engineer, though, so if anyone's got a better idea of what's going on, pipe up!
posted by arto at 7:41 PM on August 20, 2005


Actually, looking at that F1 you link to, it appears that with a reinforced tube chassis like that, you could really effectively transfer the rotational forces from high-speed turns to the central body of the car. That is, the middle "tube" contains your drivetrain, engine, and passenger, which take the brunt of the G-forces, while the wheels remain relatively flat, ergo no roll when you turn. Pretty cool idea, actually.

And yeah, suspension tuning must be a bitch with those puppies (speaking as someone who's spent nearly 8 hours getting the camber and toe just right on his car).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:39 AM on August 21, 2005


« Older Remember Kelo!   |   Holo-Hobby Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post