E-RA electric car reaches final of international vehicle design competition


An electric car designed by Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences is still in the race for the 2 million euro prize in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE vehicle design competition final in the United States this July. Their electric car, Electric RaceAbout, or E-RA for short, was one of the few that got through the second knockout qualifying stage with flying colours.

"We’re entering the final with confidence and believe we have a realistic chance of winning, but everything has to go right and we have to be able to repeat our feat in the qualifying stage," says Project Manager Sami Ruotsalainen.

Metropolia’s three-year electric car project has helped create a network of electric car expertise in Finland and success in an international product development competition has shown that Metropolia has the top know-how when it comes to electric cars in Finland.

"Finland has good technical facilities for the design of electric cars, and Metropolia’s target is to continue to be the catalyst in electric car Metropolia design and introduction," says Mr Ruotsalainen.

Fastest wins

With almost one hundred teams having entered the race, Electric RaceAbout has already left behind most of them and proceeded in the top eight in the alternative side-by-side-seater category.

"Only two teams with a university-level background remain in the competition. We are up against no more than four serious now, all from the United States, and their vehicles are of modern design – for example, three-wheelers – unlike our more traditional E-RA," explains Ruotsalainen.

"Electric RaceAbout was one of the few cars that got through the qualifiers with no penalties. In terms of energy consumption, we came third or fourth in our category."

The knock-out stage contained three energy consumption tests, a range event, and safety tests including braking, acceleration and accidence avoidance maneuver.

Energy consumption is not an issue in the final once certain values have been reached, now it is just a matter of speed. The final race is about 160 kilometres long with nine stops.

Acclaim for precision and technical expertise

"Our 14-man team is highly professional and operates without any hassle. The car runs excellently and has received plenty of acclaim, particularly its detailed solutions and high level of technology," says Ruotsalainen.

Electric RaceAbout’s racing number is ten.

The X PRIZE Foundation’s mission is to promote vehicle product development towards energy-efficient and environmentally sound alternatives and to help them being mass-produced for the benefit of consumers.

The final will be arranged on 19–30 July with the winners announced in September 2010. The competition has three categories, and the prize money totals USD 10 million.

Further information

For further information, please contact Project Manager Sami Ruotsalainen, tel. +358 (0)50 528 8648.

Electric RaceAbout, Pictures of E-RA and Partners (bottom of page)

X PRIZE Progressive Automotive competition

Degree Programme in Automotive and Transport Engineering

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