A car that can drive from London to the Highlands on one charge and accelerate to 50mph using less energy than other electric vehicles has been unveiled by Cambridge students. The four-seat Helia has a carbon-fibre chassis and body panels and weighs in at 550kg (1,200lb) – compared to the Tesla Model 3’s 1,800kg. The Helia, when fully laden, can reach 50mph using 2.5kW, the power needed to boil a kettle, and up to ten times less than is needed by consumer electric cars. The Helia achieves its performance at such energy efficiency because of its lightness, streamlined design and components such as low rolling-resistance tyres. It has a single-charge range of more than 560 miles, without using the 5 sq m of solar cells on its roof. Its range – the distance by road from London to Inverness – is double that of the Tesla Model 3 on a battery a quarter as big. The car was created by the Cambridge University Eco Racing team, which comprises 20 undergraduates and Xiaofan Zhang, the programme director, who have worked in partnership with British vehicle manufacturers.
Times 1st Nov 2019 read more »