Queensland University Students Develop the Electron Electric Car

June 25, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Students at Queensland University of Technology (Australia) have developed an electric car that costs about one cent per kilometer to run. Named the Electron, the car was built by electrical systems students. It is a converted Ford Festiva, capable of reaching 110kph with a range of about 80km. Driven by a 13kW, three-phase ac induction motor, the car is powered by a 144V, 77Ah sealed lead-acid battery bank. The original five-speed gearbox has been retained, but the clutch has been removed. The driver shifts to a higher gear by moving a lever. The car also has an energy-efficiency rate of 60 percent, compared to a 19-percent efficiency rate for a gasoline-driven car.

Dr. Kame Khouzam, the project leader, commented that the Electron is a perfect second vehicle for many families. “In the future, I can imagine that a family will have one electric car for short distances like going to work, school or the shops, and one conventional vehicle for longer distances.”

Queensland Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer has concurred, “It is a lot quieter than the four-wheel drive I use in my electorate in Cape York Peninsula. It would make an ideal second family car around town.”

The Electron is registered to be driven on Queensland roads. There are no plans, however, for it to go into production.