More than twenty years ago, Dr. Hiroshi Shimizu made his first electric car by converting a gasoline-propelled sedan to electric drive.
Trained as an environmental engineer, Mr. Shimizu became progressively more interested in going beyond the limits of electric car technology; and the Eliica is the latest evidence of this - a potent, 8-wheeled super vehicle with a maximum speed of 230 mph (370 km/h).
A powerful 60kW (80 hp) electric motor propels each of its eight wheels. Initially envisaged in 2003, Shimizu together with his engineering students made two Eliicas at an estimated cost of $320,000. One variant is considered a "speed" version; while the second is considered the "acceleration" version.
The objective of the team at Keio University is to attain the world speed record of 400 km/h (250 mph). These two versions employ lithium ion batteries and have a working reach of 200 miles (320 km).
Curiosity in Dr. Shimizu's efforts clearly has been lately renewed as the Japanese government became aware of the significance of electric-powered vehicles. The team would like to get corporate sponsorship to make 200 of the four-passenger Eliicas for a projected cost of 30 million Yen or just about $255,000.