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Student-Built Electric Vehicle Breaks Acceleration Record

It went from zero to more than 60 mph in less than 1.5 seconds.

Advances in electrified vehicles could help wean the planet off fossil fuels, but just because a car isn’t burning gasoline doesn’t mean sacrificing performance.

In fact, it’s often just the opposite: because electric motors are less complex than internal combustion engines, EVs can accelerate much more quickly than their gas-powered cousins.

Tesla says its high-end Model S Plaid sedan, for example, can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than two seconds.

The fastest zero to 60 time, however, doesn’t belong to either a major automaker or a boutique supercar shop – but, rather, a group of college students from Germany.

The University of Stuttgart announced that 20 members of its GreenTeam student design organization custom-built an electric vehicle that set the world record for acceleration last month.

The carbon-fiber vehicle weighs in at less than 320 pounds but features a newly designed, high-voltage battery pack and four-wheel drive with motors developed at Stuttgart. The EV’s maximum output of 180 kilowatts translates to 1750 horsepower per ton and a peak acceleration of 2.5g — about the same as a rocket re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

After a series of setbacks earlier in the year, including a crash in July and technical issues earlier in September, Guinness World Records confirmed that the custom vehicle went from a dead stop to 100 kilometers per hour — roughly 62 miles per hour —  in 1.461 seconds at a Bosch racetrack in the city’s suburbs.

The successful run returns the acceleration record to Stuttgart, which first held it at 2.681 seconds a decade ago and set it again in 2015 at 1.779 seconds. A team from the Netherlands had held the previous record — at 1.513 seconds — for about six years.

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