Automotive X PRIZE competitor Illuminati Motor Works Q & A

6. Your design is based upon older model cars. Other than looks is there a practical reason for this?

Nate:

Most people don’t realize the level of refinement in today’s modern automobiles, they are works of mechanical art, and the power available from today’s engine makes them capable of pushing bricks through the air easily. Some of the first cars didn’t have that kind of power and to achieve high speeds they needed to be very aerodynamic.

Kevin:

Styling is important, so is performance. In the 1930’s and 40’s vehicles were power limited and with the expanding and improving roads, think paved instead of dirt or gravel, vehicles were able to travel at higher speeds safely. However do to the limited power of their engines in order to achieve higher speeds car designers had to incorporate improved aerodynamics into their designs, by decreasing aerodynamic drag the vehicles were able to go faster on less power which also means less fuel. If you want to build an efficient vehicle you must take into account all factors which consume fuel, although historically aerodynamics were improved to increase overall vehicle top speed we’re using them for decreased fuel consumption, the fact that our low aerodynamic drag will allow Seven to exceed 200MPH is just a little added bonus. And yes, we really like the looks of the older vehicles.

7. While cost is a big factor in any vehicle purchase. With an electric range and charge time is always a concern. What is your current range prediction for your vehicle “Seven”?

Kevin:

We’re installing a 30kw battery pack into Seven, which will give us a range of over 500 miles on a single charge.

8. Charge times rely upon the voltage source. Could you explain this a little further and give us the charge calculations for your car?

Nate:

It is hard to understand why these cars take so long to charge. Charging an electric car with a low voltage charger is like drinking through a stir straw. A High voltage charger is like a much bigger straw allowing you to drink much faster. That is where the high capacity chargers come in, it is like a bigger straw for electricity. Charge times sure do depend on voltage Iggy, but they also depend on current. Voltage x’s current equals power, so to get more power you need a higher voltage and/or higher current source, like the plug for an electric stove or drier. Our car will run at 307 volts and up to 300 amps, that’s 307 x 300 = 92,100 watts or 92 KW. Energy storage is also rated in KW, our vehicle KW energy storage rating is 30, so if you have a 220 household outlet that you can pull 30 amps from…220 x 30 = 6,600 watts or 6.6 KW, so our 30KW battery pack could be charged from this outlet in about 4 ½ hours.

9. Does your team feel you can have a practical car that also reduces our dependence on fossil fuels? I’m asking this because many times we see some fairly extreme concepts when it comes to fuel-efficient vehicles.

Nate:

Yes our car is practical, but it is a little different, if you could get 100MPG from a normal car I think it would have been done by now.

George:

The car could provide a means to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it is designed to be much more fuel efficient than the vehicle now on the market; however it will be up to the American people. Our intent is to make the vehicle attractive and functional, to the American public.