Okay, so this is just weird, but it is interesting. It's an electric car -- the Eliica, short for Electric Lithium-Ion battery Car -- that can do 0-60 in four seconds is faster than a Porsche 911 Turbo, and accelerates at 0.8 Gs. It's also around 5 meters in length, 2400 kg in weight, and has eight wheels. Yes, it's made in Japan. The 10 hour recharge (and the price, over $300,000) are the primary drawbacks.
I, for one, am now waiting with bated breath for the inevitable showdown between the all-electric Eliica and Toyota's hybrid-electric supercar, the Alessandro Volta, which also boasts 0-60 in 4 seconds acceleration. Gentlemen, push your Engine On buttons...
This is actually a bigger deal than you let on. It was designed by students at a Japanese university (Keio). It has a 180 mile range, and incredible handling due to the eight wheels, each of which has it's own in-hub electric motor. It's a clean slate concept that I would guess is only expensive because it's not being mass produced. If it were, I think it would radically change the automobile. It has the basics the car of the future will have, outperforms current cars in every way, yet is mechanically way simpler. It's waiting only for a better battery technology. Personally, this is something I think will surely come along because so many people are working on it--zinc/air, vanadium, there is lots happening in the field. Get it up to a 300 mile range, and bingo, we're there.
The only drawback besides the battery is that the 8 wheels means it's a bit long for Europe and Japan. There is a companion minivan/bus style model that is totally wild--reminds me of the cat bus in the movie Totoro.
Detroit should be ashamed it took a bunch of students to come up with this!
Here's a better photo:
Yes the number of people who say "I hate electric cars", or at least have written them off, is a good sign something will happen here.