The plug-in aficionados of the Japan Electric Vehicle Club hit the track this weekend in a Daihatsu Mira Van with a 74 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery to see how far they could go on a charge. The last time the crew attempted this feat in November 2009, they managed to squeeze out 345 miles before running out of juice.

This time out, the members reduced some mass with new features likes a carbon fiber seat and even lower rolling resistance tires from Toyo. The van used the same Sanyo battery as the previous record drive and continued rolling for an amazing 623 miles before running out of electrons.

Seventeen drivers participated in the 27.5-hour drive with an average speed of just under 25 miles per hour. While getting over 600 miles on a charge is certainly impressive, we aren't likely to see many 74 kWh batteries in production vehicles any time soon thanks to their prohibitive cost. Plus, the driving style on the closed course was doubtlessly extremely conservative, which doesn't bode well for real-world driving. Regardless, it's quite a feat. A tip of the hat to Paul!

[Source: Electric Vehicle News]