We've always been fond of the Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car) eight-wheeled electric car, which was designed and built by researchers of Keio University in Japan a few years back. Seriously, how can you not like such an interesting machine, especially since the Eliica is capable of some serious performance figures – how 'bout a top speed of 230 miles per hour, acceleration to 60 in 4.1 seconds and a range of 200 miles via an advanced lithium ion battery pack?
Last we heard, Keio University was looking for corporate sponsorship to put the Eliica into small-scale production. We're not sure what's up with that these days, but Popular Science reports that the team behind that project has branched out and turned its attention to an electric shuttle bus using similar technology with the hopes of having volume production underway in 2011.
Using a similar flat-floor platform as the Eliica with a body built by Isuzu Motors, a 120kW lithium ion battery developed by Toshiba and a charging infrastructure from Tokyo Electric Power Company, the group projects a 93-mile range from the shuttle bus. Typical buses in Tokyo reportedly average about 75 miles per day, so that should be plenty of battery capacity to complete its mission. Cost is expected to be in the same range as a common diesel bus if 500 units are made (including the battery) but with running costs that are a tenth of its oil-burning competitors.