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.
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.