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Japanese electric car ‘goes 300km’ on single charge

Japan’s Keio University professor and auto venture SIM-DRIVE president Hiroshi Shimizu unveils the prototype model of electric vehicle SIM-LEI, which is expected to go on sale in 2013, in Tokyo on May 18, 2011. The SIM-LEI, equipped with high-performance in-wheel motors, achieved 333km of driving distance, twice as long as the current electric vehicles with normal capacity Li-ion batteries. – AFP picJapan’s Keio University professor and auto venture SIM-DRIVE president Hiroshi Shimizu unveils the prototype model of electric vehicle SIM-LEI, which is expected to go on sale in 2013, in Tokyo on May 18, 2011. The SIM-LEI, equipped with high-performance in-wheel motors, achieved 333km of driving distance, twice as long as the current electric vehicles with normal capacity Li-ion batteries. – AFP picTOKYO, May 21 – Japanese developers have unveiled an electric car which they said can travel more than 300 kilometres before its battery runs flat.

Electric vehicle specialist SIM-DRIVE, which hopes to take the car to market by 2013 but gave no projected cost, said its four-seater “SIM-LEI” had motors inside each wheel and a super-light frame, allowing for 333 kilometres of motoring on one charge in a test.

Its designers say they hope the prototype, a joint project among 34 organisations including Mitsubishi Motors and engineering firm IHI, will be sold to car manufacturers for mass production.

Automakers such as Nissan, which launched its all-electric Leaf last year with a 160-kilometre range, are gambling that electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions will catch on and, some time in the future, start to drive traditional petrol-guzzlers off the road.

Electric cars still face key hurdles such as costly batteries and the lack of conveniently-located recharging points, which limits their operating radius. – AFP

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