Students who built an electric car that can accelerate faster than conventional fuel-powered cars hope to impress 'petrol-heads'. Jim Drury met them in Switzerland.
The makers of AMZ's Fluela want to make electric cars cool. It was designed and built by students at ETH Zurich, who say its electric motor is superior to those used in professional Formula E racing. Each year AMZ enters a new car in Formula Student, an engineering design competition for 500 student teams. Even though it's up against some fuel-powered cars, AMZ consistently tops the rankings. SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL HENTZEN, MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT AT ETH ZURICH AND HEAD OF FLUELA FORMULA STUDENT RACING TEAM, SAYING: "We think it's important to prove that an electric car can compete with combustion cars when it comes to handling and the fun that you get when you drive this car. So the acceleration that we have would be unthinkable in a combustion car." Last year AMZ broke the world record for acceleration in electric cars. SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL HENTZEN, MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT AT ETH ZURICH AND HEAD OF FLUELA FORMULA STUDENT RACING TEAM, SAYING: "Last year we set a world record with Grimsel, which is the car before Fluela, so this car accelerated from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in just 1.785 seconds in the space of 26 metres." Made mainly of carbon fibre, Fluela weighs just 173 kilograms. And what does its driver think are Fluela's best features? SOUNDBITE (English) FLUELA DRIVER AND ETH ZURICH MECHANICAL ENGINEERING STUDENT, JAPHET SCHMID, SAYING: "I guess the four-wheel drive with the self-developed motors. Also the aerodynamic package is quite unique, and we have adaptive dampers here at the front and with these we have more mechanical grip than with traditional dampers." The team hopes to persuade 'petrolheads' that electric cars are no gimmick. They're already planning next year's model, confident they're on the fast track to success.