"The Lady is
"Not Bad for Less than $1 Worth of Electricity"
By Bill Dube' (all pix
except otherwise credited)
The electrics are now giving the gas-guzzlers a run for their money in the
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Jeri Unser broke the record for an
electric-powered vehicle set last year by Tim Eckert in the ER2. Compact
Power - http://www.compactpower.com
- and LG Chem teamed up with Sanborn Racing -
this year to produce the ER3.
The lighter body, lighter driver,
improved aerodynamics, and some mechanical improvements in the ER3 made a
big difference. Jeri's time of 14:33.120 trimmed nearly half a minute off
the previous record on a very slippery track. The course was so slippery
that Jeri nearly lost it at Heitman Hill and was forced to back up the car
to get it back on the road!
The ER3 ran the course faster than many
of the fuel-powered cars. Some of the competitors engines simply quit
working the sparse air at 14,000 feet near the finish line. Since the ER3
uses Compact Power (LG Chem) Li-Ion batteries for power, it was completely
unaffected by the altitude, a major advantage in this race.
Since the ER3 is nearly silent, the
crew put a sound system on the car to
produce an engine-like noise to make sure that spectators lining the
course would be aware that the ER3 was coming down the track. This sound
system was programmed to make a buzz or whine that was proportional to the
speed of the car. It seemed to fool everyone as most people at the track
were very surprised when I revealed that the sound was artificial. This
was a big improvement over the annoying siren used on the ER2.
Some time ago, I had suggested that
they install baseball cards to slap against the wheel spokes, but they
opted for the electronic equivalent. It is worth noting that the sound the
electronic system made was a very good reproduction of the baseball card
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