Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shelby Supercars promises breakthrough EV, delivers a lot of hyperbole

Shelby Supercars has just issued its second release this week about its miraculous new project, the Ultimate Aero EV. As we read the announcement, it was obvious that it was exactly the same release from just a few days ago and the hyperbole was in no way toned down. They are promising to deliver a working prototype by February of next year, followed by full production examples by the fourth quarter of 2009. That, in and of itself, is highly improbable, but it just gets better from there. The performance the company is promising is insanely impressive and about as likely to come to fruition as airborne swine or your fairy godmother.

SSC promises two, 500hp electric motors equipped with a triple disc clutch and a six-speed gearbox. As Tesla found out the hard way, making a gearbox last with an electric motor is tough, even with half as much power. But it gets better. SSC promises a power source with extended times between charges, perhaps as long as several years. We're still confused, but we don't think it's a coincidence that the company is making this announcement in the same week it announced its hopes of securing new venture funding.

Building a car powered by an internal combustion engine to go 250 mph is less of a big deal in this day and age. You just need an engine with enough power and a slippery shape. Building the kind of electric car that SSC is promising involves invalidating the most fundamental laws of physics. So for the time being, we remain comfortable skeptical.