Sim-CEL Electric Concept Quicker Than Slug-Like Looks Suggest

Follow Antony

Not to be judgemental, but getting people interested in a vehicle that looks like the Sim-CEL probably won't be the easiest of tasks.

Beauty is more than skin deep, but it's still the first thing you notice--and the slug-like vehicle above is a vehicle to appreciate on engineering, rather than aesthetics.

Created by Japanese firm Sim-Drive, the CEL (Cool Energy Link) is the third in a series of quick, efficient electric prototypes.

And maybe we are being unfair on the Sim-CEL's looks. It's certainly unusual, but like Sim-Drive's other prototypes the bodywork is optimized for aerodynamic efficiency.

As Autoblog Green reports, a drag coefficient of 0.199 backs this up. A smooth shape and rear wheel spats contribute to those aero figures. It's not dissimilar from Volkswagen's XL1 production car then, if a little less restrained in its detailing and physically much larger.

Unlike Sim-Drive's original prototype, the CEL has only four wheels, each of which utilizes a 65 kilowatt (87 horsepower) electric motor. That's some high performance potential, with the 0-62 mph acceleration benchmark completed in 4.2 seconds--Tesla Model S Performance territory.

Range on the Japanese economy cycle is 201 miles, though we're used to seeing those numbers tumble even further than we do European ones--on the same cycle, a 2013 Nissan Leaf is rated at 141 miles of range, nearly double that of EPA figures.

Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic panels are used to keep weight down to a modest 3,483 pounds, and Sim-Drive hasn't forgotten that electric vehicles need to be high-tech either--the headlights use laser technology for 50 percent extra vision at night.

It's only a concept at this stage, more of a design and powertrain study than a serious pre-production prototype. And while we like its aerodynamic shape, we expect that any future production version would be a little easier on the eye.

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Comments (10)
  1. Aerodynamics give a beauty lasting and real. Fighter jets have a beauty to them. Their design is function. Pollution is ugly. Improving efficiency means getting "used" to different looking cars.

    Personally I find the Aptera car gorgeous, which is a car designed from the ground up to be aerodynamic, yet safe, practical, fun to drive, and extremely high mileage.

    In the words of the American architect Louis Sullivan,
    "It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic,
    Of all things physical and metaphysical,
    Of all things human and all things super-human,
    Of all true manifestations of the head,
    Of the heart, of the soul,
    That the life is recognizable in its expression,
    That form ever follows function. This is the law."

  2. Slug-like looks? Really? They still need to tweak the looks, but the overall form is driven by good engineering. Low aerodynamic drag is how you get much longer range out of a smaller battery pack.

    This car is picking up right where the EV1 left off, and I hope they can get to production model(s) as soon as possible.

    Neil

  3. I have a rather more useful 2 seat sportwagon all composite body/chassis at least 2x's stringer than steel yet it only weighs 235lbs without using CF. Even a steel one is only 500 or so.

    All up in 150 mile real world range at 70 mph it won't weight 1,050lbs!!

    Why does this one and the VW, weigh so much?

  4. Actually, it looks rather cool- like a cross between the original Honda Insight and the now defunct Aptera.

  5. I think this car actually looks decent. IMHO, it is better than the XL1 b/c it doesn't compromise performance.

  6. No, seriously, and i just read Jon's comment, and still, although i tend to approve different styles and everything... This car is just ugly, no more. It looks as pretty as the EV-1 from GM (which was a good looking car though) after it has been compacted. On a more serious thought, it has no caracter lines, its just like a badly shaped water dropplet with no more than wheels. The XL-1 has caracter, aggressivity. This car is more like : "Oh, don't mind me, i'm just there, although you don't want me to...". And the headlights, UH!!!

  7. I watch this guy's articles and I really wonder if he is really for the advancement of transportation at all.

  8. Antony,
    I guess we have different tastes.
    Based strictly on appearance, I would take that car over the Leaf, Volt and iMiev any day.

  9. I think it looks pretty awesome. Is a vehicle that looks like a brick somehow better? Besides, slugs are well know for their ability to slice through the wind...

  10. It's why they're so fast!

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