We'll let everyone ponder that philosophical question as we report that the world's fastest-ever speed by a electric car on ice was reached this week.
Finland-based Nokian Tyres promoted its wares by having test driver Janne Laitinen take the electric car called the Electric RaceAbout (E-RA) across a really cold six-kilometer (3.75-mile) test track on Lake Ukonjarvi in Inari, near the northern tip of Finland. If you don't believe us, we've got video proof after the break.
Laitinen and his 375-horsepower E-RA reached a speed of 156.64 miles per hour. The car was riding on Nokian Hakkepeliita 7 studded tires, which the company said exhibited "relentless grip and stable handling necessary at extreme speeds." The E-RA was built by Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.
The E-RA actually topped out at 161.59 miles per hour, but the 156.64 mph figure is being used because it's the average top speed that was recorded for time trials of the E-RA going in opposite directions. No word on how fast the car was going sideways.
Laitinen also set the Guinness World Record for speed-driving on ice last March when he took a gas-powered car – also equipped with Nokian Tires – on the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden up to 206.05 miles per hour. The record had been previously held by a bunch of drunk guys in a Camaro in Minnesota.
The E-RA garnered attention last August when it it completed a lap at the famed Nürburgring in Germany in nine minutes and forty seconds and was, of course, a Progressive Automotive X-Prize contender. We got to test drive the car at the 2011 Michelin Challenge Bibendum, but not at such high speeds. Now, hit the jump for some high-speed electric ice-melting action.
NOKIA, Finland, March 22, 2012/PRNewswire/ --
Test driver Janne Laitinen from Nokian Tyres [http://www.nokiantyres.com ] reached a speed of 252.09 km/h (156.64 mph) in the E-RA electric car [http://www.raceabout.fi/era ] on the ice of Lake Ukonjarvi in Inari. The record, achieved on 17 March by the world's northernmost tyre manufacturer and the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences' high-tech E-RA (Electric RaceAbout) vehicle, is unique.
The top speed of this uncompromising sports car with a total of 280-kW electric motor reached over 260 km/h (161.59 mph) in the freezing weather. The relentless grip and stable handling necessary at extreme speeds were ensured by regular production Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 [http://www.nokiantyres.com/tyre?id=12091290&group=1.01&name=Nokian+Hakkapeliitta+7 ] studded tyres (225/40R18).
- Testing in demanding conditions forms an essential part of our winter tyre development. We feel that the record and co-operation in the E-RA project are great ways to gain new experience and continue our progress at the peak of development. This is a true source of inspiration for developers of tyres, whose greatest challenges include optimising the safety characteristics and low rolling resistance, which greatly affects the range of electric vehicles, says Matti Morri, Technical Customer Service manager for Nokian Tyres.
The test was carried out on a six-kilometre track and it was performed according to the regulations of the Guinness World Records organisation. However as a class does not yet exist for this type of record, the Guinness organization was not involved in certifying the test and it is therefore not an "Official Guinness World Record".
The time and speed for the one-kilometre distance was measured in both directions. The record is an average of these two measurements. The vehicle takes a flying start, and the allowed time frame is one hour. The tyres must be commercially available and approved for road traffic in the country in which the record attempt takes place.
The official Guinness World Record for driving on ice is also held by Nokian Tyres and test driver Janne Laitinen. The speed record [http://www.nokiantyres.com/fastest-on-ice ] achieved on the ice of the Gulf of Bothnia in March 2011 with a petrol-powered car is 331.61 km/h (206.05 mph).
Breaking boundaries speeds up development
The electric car E-RA is a display of skill by Finnish students and the development partners. The car has been built from scratch, using the latest technology in electric power trains and battery systems. At a minimum, the vehicle consumes only 14.5 kWh per 100 km, corresponding to 1.6 litres of fuel.
- With the record experiment, we wanted to show that the electric car is reliable both in freezing weather and at high speeds on slippery ice. Breaking these barriers speeds up the technological development, and this ultimately benefits the consumers, says Sami Ruotsalainen, leader of the E-RA team.
Nokian Tyres developed the world's first winter tyre for the winter frost in 1934. Two years later, the Nokian Hakkapeliitta [http://www.hakkapeliitta75.com/en ] was born for the Nordic winter; it is currently one of the world's best-known brands of winter tyres. The company is the only tyre manufacturer in the world focusing on products and services that facilitate safe transportation in northern conditions.
Watch a video of the record: http://youtu.be/Ix8TN4jMAeo
E-RA (Electric RaceAbout) - http://www.raceabout.fi/era