This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 11, 2009

Supercar Manufacturer Unveils All-Electric Powertrain

Photo of a low-slung, wedge-shaped sports car, with its gull-wing doors open and pointing upward.

When it is launched later this year, the Ultimate Aero EV will aim to be the world's fastest electric vehicle in production. Enlarge this image.
Credit: Shelby SuperCars

The manufacturer of the world's fastest production car, the 1,287-horsepower Ultimate Aero, has developed an all-electric powertrain for the vehicle. Shelby SuperCars (SSC) has no relation to the legendary automotive designer Carroll Shelby, but it earned respect in the automotive world in 2007 when it set a record by driving its Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo at an average top speed of 256.18 miles per hour (it's an "average" top speed because the car must be driven down the same road in opposite directions, and its top speeds from both passes are averaged to remove any advantages of wind speed or road inclination). Despite the company's fascination with large, powerful engines, it's also a true believer in electric technologies, and it is building the Ultimate Aero EV to prove the electric vehicles provide more linear power and overall performance that internal combustion cars.

The Ultimate Aero EV drivetrain will feature twin motors capable of producing 1,000 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque, enabling it to rocket to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds, reaching a top speed of 208 miles per hour. The system will have a range of 150-200 miles, but its onboard charging system will allow for full battery recharges in as little as 10 minutes. The car will feature a three-speed automatic transmission, and the entire electric drivetrain will be liquid-cooled, allowing it to be run full-out for extended periods of time without overheating. (You can be sure that the BBC's "Top Gear" boys will be testing that claim soon.) SSC plans to roll out its first full-scale, pre-production Ultimate Aero EV by mid-2009 and deliveries to customers may start before the end of the year. And to follow on the success of its Ultimate Aero, the company also hopes to claim the title of "World's Fastest Production Electric Car." See the SSC press release.