The control technology for the driving dynamics designed at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences for Electric RaceAbout has been announced in the US.
The world's fastest street-legal electric car also captured the coveted Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record in Germany, during testing. Racing driver Markus Palttala crossed the finish line on 22 May in the street-legal electric cars category at the new record time of 7:49.04.
The electric car's steering system was announced in California by Drako Motors on 6 August. Metropolia had sold the software licence of the four-motor electric car's steering system in the summer of 2014 to R-Motor, which later changed its name to Drako Motors Inc.
“We are pleased that the world class technology created in Metropolia is now utilized in American electric vehicle development industry in Silicon Valley. Helsinki Metropolia UAS is an innovative and multidisciplinary RDI partner for finding solutions to industry’s demanding future challenges,” says Pekka Hautala, Head of User-centered Design and Production in Metropolia.
Dean Drako, CEO of Drako Motors believes that the Drako DriveOS steering system will be introduced into many electric car models in the near future.
”The steering system controls each wheel independently and therefore provides excellent turning and stability characteristics, which have been mutually exclusive with conventional drivetrain solutions,” says Leading Engineer Sami Ruotsalainen.
The world's fastest street-legal electric car, Electric RaceAbout (E-RA) recaptured the coveted Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record in Germany after a four-year interval.
“We spent the last four years in active pursuit of this record. We never went on the track just to do our best but to reclaim the record. We are overjoyed about our achievement," says Project Manager Ville Eskelinen of Metropolia.
"It's quite a feat that a Finnish university of applied sciences has the expertise, willpower, ability and determination to develop a faster and better electric sports car than the automobile giants of the world," says record driver Markus Palttala.
"Nordschleife is the world's most demanding track and all professional drivers want to hold a record there in any category. A record in electric cars is a particularly fine achievement, because we are talking about a growing and highly competitive category."
"The car is a real powerhouse and thanks to its steering system it handled really well even in tight corners," says Palttala.
The last time E-RA was attempting to break the record was in October 2014, and at that time the greatest challenge was battery cell overheating. Power had to be cut down during the lap, leaving E-RA 10 seconds behind the record set by Mercedes SLS AMG Coupé Electric Driven for street-legal electric cars.
During spring 2015, new battery cells were added to increase the battery voltage.
"The power derived remained the same compared to the previous autumn, but the current was reduced, minimising the battery overheating problems. This also increased battery capacity by about 10 kWh,” explains Mr. Eskelinen.
To prevent the traction motors from overheating, the team also focused on designing the electric motors' air cooling system, resulting in air intake and outlet manifolds at the ends of the motors.
Throughout the years, the electric car has been designed and built by Metropolia's experts and students in cooperation with a number of partners. This time the team that achieved the record consisted of not only Leading Engineer Sami Ruotsalainen, Project Manager Ville Eskelinen and alumnus Otto Pietikäinen but also IT student Janne Ylänne, automation engineering student Sami Tirkkonen and automotive and transport engineering students Ioannis Soultanis and Janne Hulkkonen.
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
User-centered Design and Production
Head of Department Pekka Hautala, tel. +358 50 048 3786
Project Manager Ville Eskelinen, tel +358 40 548 5341
CEO Dean Drako, tel. +1-650-740-4334
E-RA / Drako Motors
Leading Engineer Sami Ruotsalainen, tel +358 50 528 8648
Previous articles about E-RA: