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

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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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