Toyota electric race car prototype live photos - Copyright High Gear Media
And while major automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz are dabbling in the field of road-going cars with their respective e-tron and E-Cell projects, Toyota is looking to also be one of the first to develop a fully fledged electric race car.
That’s where the electric race car prototype you see here comes into focus.
As previously reported, the prototype is set to attempt a new electric car lap record of the Nurburgring-Nordschleife, a record which currently stands at 9:01.3 as set by the Peugeot EX1 electric concept car earlier this year.
Toyota is hoping to break the 8 minute barrier.
However, it goes beyond just bragging rights. The prototype has been developed by Germany’s Toyota Motorsports GmbH (TMG), an independently run skunk works of sorts, which was formerly responsible for Toyota’s Formula 1 efforts.
Toyota F1 knowledge used for electric race car prototype
All of TMG’s resources and knowledge are now going to develop future technologies such as this electric race car prototype.
In a recent interview, TMG’s communications officer Alastair Moffitt revealed that much of the technology hidden underneath the Radical SR3 race car shell of this prototype has been derived from the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) developed during Toyota’s F1 days.
A pair of electric motors sourced from Evo Electric provide the motive force and are rated at a combined 280 kW (375 horsepower). They send drive to the rear wheels via a single speed gearbox and when at peak power will accelerate the 2,138 pound prototype from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds and see it reach a top speed of 161 mph. You'll note that this is the same acceleration figure for the Tesla Roadster.
The complete driving range at moderate speeds is 124 miles, although at race speeds this will be much lower. Powering the electric motors is a special lithium-ceramic battery supplied by Li-Tech.
Oven used to bake carbon fiber components
The long-term goal of TMG is to establish itself as a leader in the development and manufacture of customer electric race cars, and in fact, sales of this prototype race car’s drivetrain to private customers are scheduled to begin as early as next year.
[Toyota Motorsport GmbH]