• Dec 29th 2008 at 3:58PM
  • 16
Click above image for a gallery of the Eliica

There simply has to be a word missing in the most recent press release about the unusual eight-wheeled Eliica electric car. The release ends with the line: "The team would like to receive corporate sponsorship to build 200 of the four-passenger vehicles for an estimated price of 30 million Yen or approximately $255,000." If the word "each" isn't attached, then we're talking $1,275 per vehicle - or about $159 per wheel. That's quite a bargain for a car that can go 230 mph on lithium ion batteries and has a 200 mile range. On the other hand, a quarter million for a vehilce with questionable sales value doesn't exactly sound right, either.

In any case, the Eliica idea has been kicking around since 2003 from the mind of Dr. Hiroshi Shimizu, who's been building electric cars for 20 years. The car is a project from Keio University. We've previously seen the car blow by a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo on the drag strip and had a more in-depth introduction to the vehicle in this video.

[Source: EVWorld]


SYNOPSIS: Eight-wheeled electric car continues to pursue speed record and production.

Dr. Hiroshi Shimizu built his first electric car more than 20 years ago, converting a gasoline-powered sedan to electric drive.

An environmental engineer by training, he became increasingly interested in pushing the boundaries of electric car technology; the most recent manifestation being the Eliica, a powerful, eight-wheeled super car with a 230 mph (370 km/h) top speed. Each of the eight wheels is driven by a 60kW (80 hp) electric motor.

First conceived in 2003, Shimizu and his engineering students built a pair of Eliicas for an estimated $320,000. One version is considered a "speed" model; the second, the "acceleration" model. The goal of the Keio University team is to set the world speed record of 400 km/h (250 mph).

Both models utilize lithium ion batteries and have a working range of 200 miles (320 km).

Interest in Dr. Shimizu's efforts apparently has been recently rekindled as the government of Japan recognizes the importance of electric vehicles. The team would like to receive corporate sponsorship to build 200 of the four-passenger vehicles for an estimated price of 30 million Yen or approximately $255,000.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like the concerpt behind this car, and of course there are the people who arent willing to step out of their conservative cacoons like the first guy.

      Honeslty, when will people l;earn how to accept and embrace CHANGE. Its a good new direction for caqrs, and although it may not be standard, its still a pretty cool vehicle, minus the design flaws in the front.

      Theres a reason it doesnt have 4 wheels, that would make it just an ugly car, but this is an UGLY car with 8 wheels.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I saw the Japan TV show about a year ago on HDNet ( best tv channel ) it was great! ev are the way 2 go better than a hybrid this man knows his sh@t too! what upset me was how the Corp in China were ready to jump on the project ( But Dr. Hiroshi Shimizu ) not to make the deal but US car makers ummmm what the hell ??!! call this man! & stop making Caddy Hydrids yeah that doesn't even sound right lololol GM had an add on during th nfl playoffs boasting about the Caddy Hybrid but at the end of the add they were pushing a price break on the NON hybrid Caddy !!! yeah I we gave these chumps 8 billion what a F'n waste!
      • 6 Years Ago
      It made me immediately think of the Tyrrell P34


      Unlike the Tyrrell, which somehow looks cool, this car is just hideous.
      • 6 Years Ago
      cross between Tyrrell p34 & Thunderbirds (show) car form the sixties, didn;t some else make, or was that 6 wheeled car! I could see as a motor-electric-home, but I do agree, if it could do 80-90mph & travel 200-300 miles on a charge & charge takes less than 15min. that would be great!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Very reminiscent of FAB1 form the UK 1960's animated series " Thunderbirds."
      • 6 Years Ago
      The price is high, but hey, it is a limousine with supercar performance! They sure could sell some at that price, I'm not sure if they could sell 200 of them.

      The 8 wheel design gives it excellent traction and handling, but it does increase the cost and the rolling resistance. It uses 1 motor per wheel, not a "wheel motor" but mounted inboard and connected by a short shaft. 80 hp x 8 motors = 640 hp! If they went for a more modest 4 wheel version, it would still pack a respectable 320 hp.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If 8 wheels works, then it works. Function over form is fine by me. Personally I think a "real car company" would just screw the pooch with this technology. I would love to see this car in production assuming it wasn't 250k USD in cost.

      If they got a version working that went 70 MPH and had a 200 mile range then that would be awesome.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll bet Bridgestone is thrilled to be the sponsor of the eight-wheeled car! The Michelin and Goodyear guys are asking themselves, "Why didn't we think of that?"

      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the car is very handsome and would make a great event car. If the inside was "very" comfortable with high end amenities I could see it being used for events, picking people up and taking them about town. Perhaps for hotel guests, I would rather be picked up with this then a three block long white limo any day.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I saw the Discovery show about this car and I still don't understand why it has the twin wheels on each section. Yea, it might be faster, but damn if it doesn't make it uglier and non-production ready.

      He should sell/license the tech out and let a real car company put together a car that could sell and be appealing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Since electric cars do not have engines, one should replace the word "wheels" with "cylinder-engine" to get over the number 8 headache. If the car seems ugly with 8 wheels, then it is probably because many years of car design have trained you to see 4 wheels as normal and more on a car is abnormal.

        Mankind went from horse to car, I think they can handle the switch to caterpillar-looking vehicles too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        at first one has to consider the purpose of this car. it is not about selling it in the markets (and if they would, i think they would change the look, just to achieve some points in oil-car monopoly) it is about proving to the world that it can overcome people claims that say that electric cars is not efficient or "exciting" enough which is Shirumizu's goal of this project.

        car companies does not like this car nor did they like the california's EVs in 1996 just because of bargains with OPEC.

        the only thing that made it costly is batteries. they are the most expensive part of the Eliica because an industry of batteries is not expanded enough to make them with low production costs. what ive heard, is that there's some kind of independet from the car monopoly chinese company that creates electric taxy cars with new gen low cost batteries. i do not know details but if japanese eliica and chinese batteries would come together we in the matter of time will be able to see the fully electric car with acceptable cost and good performance (even if we dont need it (the perfomance)) :)))

        sorry for english
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would love the 8-wheels also to be able to brake this thing...
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm pretty sure they weren't able to get enough horsepower out of each wheel in order to achieve the high speeds they were aiming for with the car, necessitating the 8-wheel design (though I wonder if they could have gotten by with 6 or something).

        Considering that the vehicle has been able to hit 230 mph, I don't think the $255,000 price is exorbitant. But yeah, the 8-wheel design definitely reduces the market for the car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Mulad

        That's the point. The 8 wheels gets you 230+ mph. I only need 80-100mph so I don't know why they can't drop some of the wheels? Half the speed, half the wheels :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      "On the other hand, a quarter million for a vehilce with questionable sales value doesn't exactly sound right, either."

      In all fairness, the same could've been said about the Tesla Roadster. Plunking down $100K for an electric Elise is probably seen as "questionable" to some folks too. Or any number of garage built "supercars" (the Europeans are good for their "entrepreneural" spirit).
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