Does it get hot in there?

We always get a lot of interest when we have Trev on display. The questions we were asked at our recent day in Rundle Mall were typical. Here are some of them.

Does it get hot in there?

In October 2007, two UniSA students drove Trev from Darwin to Adelaide in ambient temperatures around 35°C. Both survived. One of them has come back for more, and will be driving Trev for part of its tour around the world.

Like any car, Trev can get hot. When it is moving, air flowing through the car from an inlet in the front provides some relief. We also had a small fan in the car for our trip across the Australian outback. (We took it away from the driver to provide additional cooling for the motor controller, but we will put it back.)

The air conditioning systems used in conventional cars are not suitable for low-energy vehicles—they use more power than Trev driving at 100 km/h. We are still looking for efficient, effective ways to keep the driver comfortable.

How fast does it go?

Trev was designed to fit in with normal urban traffic, including on freeways. It has a top speed of over 100 km/h, and accelerates smoothly up to 100 km/h in around 10 seconds.

How far will it go?

When we drove from Darwin to Adelaide, we could travel up to 120 km at 90 km/h before we had to stop and recharge. Recharging took about an hour, and we were able to travel about 500 km per day. For Zero Race, we are increasing the range to over 250 km so that we don’t have to stop so often. For urban use, however, a range of 100-150 km is plenty.

Where are the solar panels?

Our experience with solar racing cars inspired us to build Trev—if you can drive across Australia without using fossil fuels, you should be able to drive to work and back. But if you have a photovoltaic panel, it will be more effective on the roof of your house than on the roof of your car. Trev is a pure electric car, and can be recharged using clean electricity from solar, wind or other renewable energy sources.

What type of battery does it use?

We are using lithium ion polymer cells. There are thirty-six large cells connected in series, giving a battery voltage around 130 V. The estimated life of the batteries is 250000 km.

How safe is it?

You will be less vulnerable in Trev than on a bicycle or motorcycle. Trev is also less ‘aggressive’ towards other road users than most conventional cars. The occupants sit within a rigid tub structure that will provide some protection during a crash. But heavy vehicles will have a greater impact on Trev than Trev will have on them.

Did you see where my husband went?

No.

Our next appearance will be at the final stage of the Tour Down Under. Come and see us, and ask your own questions.

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