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Prius envy: Toyota EV race car sets record

Posted by Bill Griffith  September 1, 2011 02:08 PM

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You can file this under Prius envy: A Toyota prototype has set a one-lap record for electric cars at Germany's famed Nurburgring race track.

A lot of us who once raced slot cars always looked at our cars and thought: Put a bigger version of this little electric motor into a bigger version of this car, and I bet it’ll go really, really fast.

Over the past decade, Toyota has made a fortune selling the world on the Prius as a fuel-efficient machine. Manufacturers who’ve gone the performance route with their hybrids and EVs — Tesla, the discontinued Honda Accord hybrid — haven’t found that kind of success.

The Toyota, looking like a prototype race car and built by Toyota’s Motorsports Division, covered the track in 7:48, more than a minute faster than the prototype Peugeot EX1 earlier this year. The two electric motors on board generate 375 combined horsepower and the car has a top speed of 162 mph. Providing the juice is a newly-developed lithium-ceramic battery pack (and we know has a range of at least 13 miles, the length of one lap on the 'Ring).

You have to doubt that they’ll do an aftermarket kit for the Prius, but one never knows…

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
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Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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