For post-apocalyptic racing
Australia first gave the world the windy washing line, now there’s this solar-powered sports car
FIRST there was the Stella Lux, a car designed by a group of Dutch students to be powered by the sun, which Wheels dubbed the most important automotive development this century.
Now there is the Immortus, a car that aims to take the somewhat rough and ready effort by the students from the Eindhoven University of Technology a step further with bespoke luxury.
Built by the Melbourne-based electric vehicle technology startup EVX, the Immortus forms part of the new outfit’s vision “to make self-powering cars the future of transportation”.
CEO Barry Nguyen states on the EVX website that the Immortus was inspired by postapocalyptic movies and designed to exhibit a toughness that no other car has.
“The ability to run on the power of the sun and store the energy for later use make it a car of practically infinite endurance. As long as the sun shines, the Immortus lives,” said EVX.
For now, however, the team of 11 workers, lead by a former physiotherapist, a design engineer and intellectual-property lawyer, aims to sell “limited numbers” of their bespoke solar-powered passenger sports cars as well as affordable aftermarket automotive products to convert petrol cars into plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Looking good, on paper
The solar-powered sports car has a power to weight ratio of 40 kW to 250 kg, with space for two people and their hand luggage. Fully laden, it can take its fivemetre-long body from 0-100 km/h in less than seven seconds, which should be good to outrun most zombies. But that is not all. “The advanced aerodynamics and chassis design allow it to feel and drive like a truly nimble and balanced sports car.”
It has a combined battery and solar range of over 550 km at an average of 85 km/h and a top speed of over 150 km/h
EVX says that depending on the conditions, the Immortus can run on an unlimited range on solar alone at over 60 km/h.
The devil in the detail
What EVX does not say is how the Immortus’s batteries will remain immortal in a world where Charlize Theron lookalikes roam in figure-hugging leather. (We all get to choose our own postapocalyptic futures, okay?)
As Toyota has now repeatedly stated as part of its campaign to explain the company’s aboutturn on developing electric cars, batteries will, for the next decade at least, remain the Achilles heel in the evees, giving their owners shorter and shorter ranges. But who knows, in the next Mad Max sequel, Immortan Joe may turn out as a gangster made good, and choose to drive around in the Immortus, rather than that methanol-smoking skorokoro in the current movie. Its post-apocalyptic vision aside, EVX does have more realistic goods to sell, developed while designing the technology platform for the Immortus. These include:
• a hybrid retro-fit kit concept that enables current petrol cars, light trucks and fleet vehicles to be converted from petrol powered to plug-in hybrid. In addition, the motor makes the car go faster and turns it into a fourwheel drive;
• a lightweight, air-cooled battery box with multi-industry applications; and • regenerative shock-absorber technology that recharges batteries from absorbing the bumps on the road with multi-industry applications.
“The hybrid retro-fit kit concept has recently attracted interest from a prominent Melbourne-based OEM auto parts manufacturer. This is a promising sign for EVX, which is poised to disrupt the $34 billion aftermarket parts and $9 trillion global auto industries. We look forward to exhibiting at the Sema trade show to develop new global partnerships, seek further customer feedback and attract presales for our breakthrough products,” said Nguyen.
He adds that the company is looking for investors. He said the global custom car and specialty equipment market is estimated to be worth $33 billion, and demand for electric cars globally “is experiencing fast growth, hitting 740 000 vehicles sold in 2014”. Depending on spec, the Immortus will sell for over R4,7 million.
The Immortus, a solar-powered car with which Australian-based company EVX thinks you can dice Immortan Joe if the Mad Max movies become reality … naah, we don’t think so either.