An experimental car made by students just set a 0-62mph world record that would leave most hypercars in their dust ─ and without the help of a combustion engine.
The car is called Grimsel (named after a Swiss alpine pass) and was built by students at the Swiss universities of ETH Zurich and Hochschule Luzern. The aim? To smash the 0-62mph (0-100kmh, metric fans) record in an electric vehicle within a 75-metre distance.
To do this, Grimsel’s makers gave it four motors that weigh 3.4kg apiece, one in each wheel hub, for a total output of 200hp. A little puny, admittedly, but then the combined torque is 1,254lb/ft ─ around 130lb/ft more than the 1,479hp Bugatti Chiron – and it weighs just 168kg.
With maximum torque available instantly, it’s no wonder the experimental race car blasted from standing to 62mph in just 1.513 seconds ─ a second faster than the aforementioned Chiron and around 1.5 seconds faster than a Nissan GT-R.
Even the Tesla’s all-electric Model S P90D is substantially slower, taking 2.8 seconds to 60mph, but then it does have a lot more weight, seven seats, a windscreen and air-conditioning to carry.
Observant viewers may wonder what happened to the spoiler seen at the start of the video. The answer is that it was removed after completing a 0-62mph run of 1.57 seconds. Reducing the drag helped eke out a bit more acceleration.
Achieving such mind-blowing acceleration was no easy feat. Almost every part was developed by the team, with just three parts (including the tyres) and some of the electric stuff sourced elsewhere.
Not only that, the attention to detail in pursuit of speed is staggering. How many race cars are there that have adaptive suspension just to help use all that torque? Grimsel’s makers reckon it is the first and only one to do so.
Besides allowing the team to maximise performance, the unique design meant weight could be saved in as many areas as possible. Its monocoque shell, for instance, weighs a mere 14kg.
Grimsel’s previous record of 0-62mph in 1.785 seconds was set in in 2014, snatching away the honours from Delft University of Technology’s record of 2.134 seconds.
AMZ Racing’s Formula Student competition has been running since 1981 and the first competition took place in Europe in 1998. A new class for electric cars was introduced back in 2010 in a bid to prepare young minds for an electric future.
More than 600 teams from around the world submit their self-constructed race cars in a competition that puts every entrant’s engineering prowess to the test.
Impatient types can skip to 2:50 for the actual run or watch a separate video released later, which we have also embedded. It’s a pretty anti-climatic finish, admittedly, and many views on YouTube have complained about it. But let it not detract from an impressive achievement.