Peraves and DuPont Combine Forces to Create an Energy Efficient and Safe Vehicle
At DuPont it is understood that it is through collaboration that the greatest innovations are born; this is why DuPont™ Kevlar® decided to sponsor the innovative battery powered vehicle called the E-Tracer®.
The Kevlar® fibre was a result of a rather innovative concept and born out of a scientific accident. Kevlar® is a fibre widely used in passenger cars, light trucks and Formula 1 racing cars to improve safety, performance and durability of automotive components. It is an innovation that helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and also when used in vehicles such as the E-Tracer® it protects the life of the driver as cockpit shell is made entirely of this resistant fibre. The E-Tracer® is built by the Swiss company Peraves AG and exclusively uses DuPont™ Kevlar® for the motorcycle’s cockpit construction. “We’ve worked with Kevlar® for more than 20 years,” Peraves CEO Roger Riedener says. “It’s light and, most importantly, unlike glass or carbon fibre, it doesn’t shatter when there’s a crash.” Its weight gives Kevlar® an advantage over traditional car body materials. The E-Tracer® can travel 180 miles on one lithium battery charge and reach top speeds of 150 mph, accelerating to 60 mph in five seconds. This is in part possible because it is two to three times lighter than the average sports car.
Safety and light weight give Kevlar® the edge
Last year the E Tracer® won the X PRIZE for the most efficient street vehicle in the “alternative tandem” category. Peraves entered two E-Tracers® into this category and at the end of the competition both were at the top of their class. The Swiss team’s energy consumption came in at an average 188.8 MPGe over three tough drive circuits: 16 miles in town, 30 miles across country and 90 miles motorway driving with frequent stop and go traffic. They also led the international field with their acceleration speed. Achieving such results with a battery-operated vehicle is only possible if it is extremely light in weight. DuPont™ Kevlar® makes this possible without compromising the safety of the driver or passenger. “Drivers of our E-Tracer® and MonoTracer® have their legs out in front of them, so we can’t have a crumple zone. We don’t joke around with our customer’s safety. Kevlar® is the only material where weight, strength and shatter-resistance are right,” Mr Riedener explains. “It is flexible enough to allow for small dents and is as easy to repair as any other fibre.”
The light weight of the E-Tracer® also helps in limiting its energy consumption to 8 kWh/100 km at a speed of 120 km/h, the equivalent of 0.8 litres of petrol. For safety, the E-tracer® batteries are insulated with DuPont™ Kapton® band and protected by Nomex® paper and are housed in a Kevlar® case that can withstand strong G-forces.
Olivier Lengwiler, Marketing Manager Mass Transportation EMEA, explains why Kevlar® is so suitable for potential high impact applications. “Kevlar® has a tremendously high G-Force absorption ability. In the case of a crash, the fibre distributes the energy of the impact and does not shatter leaving passengers completely exposed like fibreglass or carbon fibre does.”
Kevlar® is increasingly replacing fibreglass-reinforced plastic on race car bodies and air dams because it doesn't shatter or leave hazardous debris on the track after a crash, but today it is also found in everything from airplane parts to reinforced suspension bridge structures and fibre optic cables.
The E-Tracer®, which takes around 600 – 650 man hours to build by hand, goes into serial production in 2011. The petrol fuelled version, the MonoTracer®, named one of Time’s 50 best inventions of 2008, has been for sale in Europe and North America since 1984.
Further information on the X PRIZE can be found under www.progressiveautoxprize.org.
For a video of the E-Tracer® on a test drive, click here.
PERAVES AG is an internationally certified Swiss vehicle manufacturer founded in 1974 by Arnold Wagner in Winterthur. Since 1980 the company, today led by Roger Riedener, has amongst other things focused on the development, construction and sale of single track vehicles with an enclosed cabin. Between 1984 and 2005 the company produced and sold 100 “Ecomobiles”; in the year 2006 to 2008 it developed the “MonoTracer®” and began serial production in 2009. PERAVES manufactured 14 “MonoTracers®” in 2009. In 2010, the company is set to produce 24 of these vehicles. In early 2008, the company also began to develop an electric battery “E-Tracer” which will round out the vehicle range in 2011.With a new showroom in Uster/Zurich, PERAVES is expanding its network of experienced representatives which is already active in Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and the USA. For further information, please visit www.peraves.ch.
MonoTracer® and E-Tracer® are registered trademarks of PERAVES.