In this episode, we unveil the astounding achievement of a student team that created an electric vehicle (EV) capable of shattering the 0-62mph speed record, leaving even the most capable state of the art supercars trailing behind. Join us as we delve into the secrets behind this speed record-breaking journey, the technological advancements that powered it, and the impact of such student-driven ingenuity on the future of electric vehicles and automotive engineering.
Hey folks, today's episode is a really, really interesting one. We're talking about how a hand-built electric race car made by Swiss University Students shattered the 0 to 62 miles per hour, 0 to 100 kilometers per hour acceleration world record. They did it in just under one second and outpaced the giants of the automotive world. If you want to figure out how they did it, buckle up, put on your racing helmet, cause we're about to zoom into this one.
I'm Daniel, and I'm Farbod. And this is the NextByte Podcast. Every week, we explore interesting and impactful tech and engineering content from Wevolver.com and deliver it to you in bite sized episodes that are easy to understand, regardless of your background.
Daniel: What's up folks? Today, like we said, we're talking all about a team of university students from Switzerland that built their own electric vehicle that shattered the 0 to 62 miles per hour record or 0 to a 100 kilometers record. Pretty insane. Not just the fact that they broke the record, not just that they're students and that they built the entire vehicle by hand, but also the margin by which they broke the record. I think it's important though to kind of take a step back, zoom out, and talk about the story behind the whole thing.
Daniel: So, it's this team of Swiss university students. Yeah, ETH Zurich. And they created this club. It's also Lucerne University, I think. They've got some students from there on this team as well. But they created this team called the Academic Motorsports Club of Zurich, AMZ for short. In the last nine years, they've broken the world record for these 0 to 62 miles an hour acceleration or 0 to a 100 kilometer per hour acceleration. They've broken this electric vehicle acceleration world record three times in the last nine years, which is insane. And even crazier than that, the times that they lost the world record and then had to go beat it again, the record is broken by the University of Stuttgart. So, it seems like keep flip-flopping back and forth between these two university teams makes me think, what were we doing during college, man? When we weren't breaking cars that broke the world record, we were trying to make our own fledgling student formula team that never ended up turning out a car that went to competition. And yet these teams of students are pumping out vehicles that seem to be like every couple of years breaking a world record, which is insane.
Farbod: Yeah, never mind them breaking the world record. They're also shattering my perception that I did well in college. So, you know shout out to you guys for doing that as well. But like you said, it's funny that like every time they lost it went to Stegart and then every time Stegart lost it came back to them. It's like this crazy rivalry that like we don't really know about unless I guess you're really into college level EV sports. But yeah, it's kind of like Barcelona and Real Madrid or the Patriots and I don't know the Patriots and who.
Daniel: No one can keep up with the Patriots.
Farbod: Yeah. I forgot you're a Patriots household. Shout out to Nellie. But yeah, it's, I don't know. It's kind of fun.
Daniel: You know, it's definitely interesting. And I think it's now is about the time where we can start talking about their vehicle that they've made this year, which is called Mythen. I thought it's super cool. It sounds like a mythical creature, which is awesome. It's also named after one, like there's a mountain range with three of the largest mountains in central Switzerland. Those are the Mythen mountains. So, I think it's an awesome name and let's just talk about what they achieved, right? So, they have this vehicle, it's an electric race car, named Mythen, and it achieved a world record 0 to 62 miles an hour or zero to a hundred kilometers per hour acceleration in just 0.956 seconds. Insane. Less than one seconds, just to put that into perspective, the previous world record was around 1.4 seconds. So, they beat the world record by over half a second, which was like shaving 34% off the previous world record. And the fastest production car that can do this is the Rimac Nevera, which does it in 1.8 seconds.
Farbod: And that's a recent record, by the way. It's not old.
Daniel: 2022 or 2023, right? Yeah. This Rimac Nevera record, the latest. They've got this student built, hand built electric race car and it's faster than the fastest supercar in the world. It's almost twice as fast as it on a 0 to 60 acceleration or 0 to a 100 acceleration, which is insanity. And the fact that they were able to shatter the previous world record by a margin of over 33%, also crazy. I mean, kudos to this team. I think it's worth diving into different aspects of their technical secret sauce and how they got there, how they did this, but just at face value. Insanity and huge kudos to this student team. It's out here shattering records made by other students who are also significantly faster than companies making super cars. It's all, it's all crazy.
Farbod: Yeah. And like, I feel like it's worth acknowledging that typically every time there's an update on the fastest 0 to 60, you don't see it by like 30%. It's usually like very small increments. So, I remember when the Veyron came out, like I don't know, like 2010, they were the first to hit like three seconds or like sub three seconds. And ever since then, it's been like, .1 second here and there, if you're lucky. And it's taken so many years to finally reach the sub two second mark, like literally over a decade, maybe even two decades to actually do it. And here you you're seeing students year over year improving to the point where they're improving by 34% over the last year's mark. That's crazy. And yeah, let's get into the sauce here. I think that that's where they really shine. So, let's talk about the ingredients that go into it.
Daniel: I would say there's like four main aspects that are worth diving into here. Yeah. One of them is their in-house mastery, right? They've developed and designed and even hand-built pretty much every single part of this entire vehicle on their own. And the goal of this vehicle is to achieve a fast 0 to 62 time or fast 0 to 100 times. So, it's not, they're not trying to make something that's agile at cornering and also really, really good in wet and dry environments and really, really good at having a luxurious looking exterior. Right.
Farbod: It’s purpose built.
Daniel: This is why they're able to shatter these production car records by so, so much as they're not trying to do everything a production car is trying to do. They're trying to make the fastest car to go from a standstill stop at 0 miles per hour up to 62 miles an hour. And by designing every single component themselves with that purpose, they're able to optimize it in many ways. And I think that leads to the second part of the secret sauce here, which is battery efficiency. Their battery is about one third the size of a standard formula student EVs, which is of a similar form factor of the vehicle. So, if you think about it, you know, they've cut down the battery to exactly use what they need it allows them to have faster acceleration without being weighed down by the other two thirds of that battery that's dead weight. When you're not trying to do the 0 to 60 portion of the race, which again it doesn't really show a lot in terms of this is like the most agile, versatile vehicle to do a bunch of different types of things, but for acceleration, this purpose-built vehicle is the best that the world has ever seen. And that's kind of the first two parts of that secret sauce play really well together.
Farbod: Absolutely. And the next bit like kind of piggybacking off of the battery that you just talked about. Obviously bigger battery, more weight. In terms of weight reduction, there's also the body itself. They used in honeycomb design aluminum frame, if I'm not mistaken. And that just allows for significantly lower total weight while not compromising on the structural integrity of the design. I think the first time I actually saw this, the honeycomb design being integrated was in a Koenigsegg which is like what, $2 million car?
Daniel: Yeah, multi-million-dollar super car.
Farbod: Yeah. So again, impressive that these students are knocking out designs like this. But as I was reading this, there's another piece of the secret sauce that I want you to cover because as you can probably hear, I'm a little stuffy, I'm a little sick. I don't think I can do it justice, but real quick, I wanted to say, when I was reading this article, it reminded me of an episode we had, I think a couple of weeks ago at this point, where I think MIT was developing the most efficient engine for electric flight. And what made their secret sauce tick and work was that they were optimizing the entire system together for this one desired output. And that's exactly what I'm seeing here with these kids. With that said, take it away on that last bit of the secret sauce because it's probably my favorite.
Daniel: Well, before we jump off of ingredient number three, I think there's some important flavor to add in there. And it's the fact that they've, you know, again, they use this honeycomb structure to do lightweighting. And I think it's important to highlight the power to weight ratio that that allows them to achieve. So, Mythen weighs only 309 pounds, but packs a whopping 326 horsepower. If you notice that the one horse or the horsepower figure is higher than the pound figure. So, we've got an over 1.0 horsepower to pound ratio. And again, if we go back to the Rimac Nevera, which has the fastest production car acceleration record, it packs a whopping 1,914 horsepower, but it also weighs 5,100 pounds. So, they are only able to achieve 0.37 horsepower per pound. Right. And by doing that, they're still able to achieve this 1.8 seconds, 0 to 60. But if we can just take a second here to appreciate the amount of light weighting and purpose-built design that this team from ETH Zurich and Lucerne University have done, this team from AMZ, they've basically got something that from a power to weight ratio is about three times more efficient than the fastest supercar in the market. So, it's just really important to note that I think it's incredible.
Daniel: It's a testament to all the work that they've done to optimizing their design, optimizing every single system, including printed circuit boards, including the structure, including the any parts, rolling parts, chassis breaks, et cetera. It's crazy, but now I think it's time to talk about secret ingredient number four, the secret to the secret sauce. This is personally the part that I'm most interested in is the special aerodynamics that they've been able to achieve as a part of this. Is that what you were thinking of as our last secret ingredient?
Farbod: It's crazy. It is wild. When I saw it, I was like, I don't know, it made me so excited because, you know, our background is mechanical engineering. Fluid mechanics is like, I don't know the electrical equivalent of RF, like it's black magic, you know, it's these complex phenomena, and being able to leverage it properly, can like make or break a project, you see it in F1 all the time, right? Like, everyone's operating within the same specs, and the magic really happens with your arrow. So, just seeing how the-
Daniel: You trying to hurt my feelings there, man? Because Mercedes messed up their side pods and now they aren't as fast?
Farbod: You said it, not me. It was you. Team Carlos signs, always, always. But yeah, I don't know. I think the solution they came up with is so ingenious. And I think it was their arrow lead that was talking about how they analyzed, you know, the massive wings typically how you add downforce. They looked at it and they're like, that's just simply not enough. So how do we make it enough? And that's how they came up with what they came up with. And now I'm gonna let you take the reins and take us to glory.
Daniel: Well, yeah, and it was, I think their arrow lead had spoken a bit about it. And one of the things that he said is, it's not just important that they make sure that they're efficient from power to weight ratio. All those efforts are lost if they can't transfer that power to the ground efficiently. And that's a big part that arrow plays and making sure that the vehicle stable throughout its acceleration, et cetera. You mentioned traditional wings, which are typically used to help increase downforce, especially at high speeds to make sure that you don't lose traction. One of the things that they noted is because this is a purpose-built vehicle, they're trying to understand what type of wing, what type of downforce generator would be best for this vehicle while it's operating in that 0 to 62 miles per hour range. And they noted that the traditional wing design actually wasn't providing sufficient downforce. And if you think about it, it's like you've got this really, really light car with a lot of power. If you just floor this thing and try to go as fast as you can, you've got a high propensity for these tires to slip unless you've got an extraordinary amount of downforce.
Daniel: And because you've done so much work to lightweight it, you've actually reduced the amount of traction that this vehicle is gonna have. A light vehicle has a higher propensity to slip. So, one of the things that they were trying to do is understand how can we use air to increase our traction on the ground without adding additional weight, which will slow the vehicle down and consume or cause reckless consumption of energy. So, what they did was, and it sounds crazy enough, they weren't able to use a wing. They basically created a vacuum system that acts like a huge suction pad to help suck the car closer to the ground, help keep the car stable and grounded during its quick acceleration, increase the amount of traction. So again, by sucking the car closer to the ground, you decrease the likelihood that it slips and thereby increase the efficiency by which you're able to transfer this awesome high amount of horsepower, power in the drive train, transfer that to the ground efficiently without slipping. I thought that that was incredible. I hadn't heard of anything similar, you know, creating a vacuum cleaner essentially under a car, sucking the car closer to the ground to increase the downforce. And I think that that's an awesome way to solve the problem because they realized that traditional wings wouldn't do the job for them.
Farbod: I'm so happy you said vacuum cleaner because the first thing that came to my mind was Dyson. I'm like, these guys are just Dyson-ing the bottom of this car and that's incredible. And the step from it is incredible. By adding this feature, they're able to get twice the basically the contact force that the dry car would have, just the weight of the car lying on the ground, they were able to double that, which means that theoretically, they can double the amount of power they can put on that vehicle. And that's all because of the aero.
Daniel: And I mean, it's incredible, man. Like just to think that a team of students came up with this, we've seen this innovation, we've seen how effective it is, and it was so effective again, that they were not only able to shatter the world record that they previously owned twice. Not only are these students duking over creating the world record and production supercar companies are left way behind in the rear-view mirror, they're able to shatter the previous world record by a margin of 34%. And I think a big part of that is lent to this aerodynamic strategy they use to create a vacuum underneath the vehicle and suck it closer to the ground. That to me is, this is my favorite part of the secret sauce. If you can't tell, but I think it's out of all the things that they did as a part of this project, I think this is the most unique, this is the most interesting. And that's something that I think a lot of car companies and race car teams, right, motor sports teams can start to try and learn some lessons from and see if there's any way to introduce this technology into other parts of racing.
Farbod: For sure. And another thing that I think is worth noting is when they achieve that crazy 0 to 60 time, they did it in 12 meters or was it 12 feet? I'm missing it.
Daniel: I think it was 12.3 meters. Okay. Or about 40 feet. So, I mean like-
Farbod: Half like a tennis court? Like-
Daniel: Yeah, half of like a tennis court or basketball court.
Daniel: So obviously they did it on a racetrack because they needed a bunch of space to slow down after hitting that speed. But insane to think that, you know, if you were, not that I've ever done this for legal reasons, not that I've ever done this, but if you're at a red light with someone and you're like revving your engine, you're wanting to race them, you could hit 60 miles an hour or a 100 kilometers per hour before you reach the other side of the intersection after the light turns green. That's insane to me.
Farbod: That is wild.
Daniel: You and I were just in a Tesla about a week ago.
Farbod: Adhering to all local laws and regulations.
Daniel: Adhering to all local regulations, testing out the acceleration, which was crazy, right? Being able to go from 0 to 60 and just 2 or 3 seconds in a production car, that's crazy. But to think that this goes from zero to 60, three times faster than that, that's crazy.
Farbod: And the driver, I think feels 3.2 G’s as they accelerate, which I think is like fighter jet levels of G’s that you're feeling.
Farbod: Wild, unreal. It's, I don't know. This stuff always excites me, probably because we did like student design competitions and things like that and having that experience I always try to express how companies should put more funding into these things because students can get creative and they can really deliver. This is a testament to that. I don't know, I feel like this Aero innovation is so unique. I feel like it has applications in racing and potentially like even road cars. I don't know. I'm excited for it. I'm super stoked for these guys. They got their title back. And now Stegart has to come back, clap back somehow. I'm excited to see what that competition is gonna look like. And as a lover of cars, faster cars are always a good time. So, that's that.
Daniel: Always, faster is better. Yeah. I will say, on a similar note, I think that the AMZ team with Mythen here, their achievement does a couple of things. One, it indicates just, I think something we already knew in the field, but continues to highlight the potential of electric vehicles and electric propulsion as an alternative to internal combustion engines, especially when you're talking about performance from like a short-term, short-range acceleration perspective. That's why we have started to see almost every single supercar at least adopt a hybrid powertrain approach if not a fully electric powertrain approach because of this awesome, awesome performance that you're able to get out of the powertrain.
Farbod: I mean, the Nevera that you were talking about, that's electric.
Daniel: Yeah, a hundred percent. And the other part that I think is important to highlight here is similar along the lines of what you said. I think the future of innovative break, there is an automotive and in other fields, people have got to stop underestimating students. You give students some money, you give students some time, you give them a steep challenge. I think academic institutions with student teams are gonna be the ones coming up with really, really breakthrough technologies, not just these big corporate labs. And part of it for me is like, it's easier for students to go back to their first principles. It's easier for them to throw a lot of red tape and assumptions aside that prevent these big corporate labs from doing things. And one of the big things that they can do is instead of being scared of getting disrupted by a student team, corporations can invest in student teams and help foster those developments on a student development level, and then take those and industrialize them into products that come out as a part of that investment.
Farbod: Completely agree with you, man. I think this is a good spot to do a recap of what these folks have achieved with their project. So, give me the recap. ELI5
Daniel: Yeah. Well, it's breaking news folks, like in the last week, a team of Swiss university students built a super-fast electric car that just obliterated the world record by going from 0 to 62 miles per hour in under one second. Even crazier, it only took them 12.3 meters to achieve that feat that's about half the length of a tennis court. So, when we've got universities that are just supposed to teach theory, right? How did this group of students manage to out-engineer the world's top car companies? They built everything from scratch themselves, from the motors, to the circuit board, to the chassis. This helped them achieve a super lightweight vehicle, which packs 326 horsepower into only 309 pounds of car. That's over one horsepower per pound of car. And my favorite part of the whole thing, they used a vacuum suction to generate additional downforce and help the car maintain traction when it launches. So as a result, they obliterated the world record by over half a second. That was 34% improvement over the previous record and is the first EV in the world ever under one second for the 0 to 62 miles per hour challenge.
Farbod: Money. That was amazing.
Daniel: Thanks, man.
Farbod: Hit all the main points. I love it. Before we wrap up today's episode, I want to quickly give a shout out to our friends up north. Canadians, you amazing people. You have made us trend once again on the technology Apple podcast charts. So, shout out to you guys. Much love. You're the best. Going to celebrate with some maple syrup as always. Authentic, of course.
Farbod: With that, I think it's a good point to wrap it up. So, everyone, thank you so much for listening. And as always, we'll catch you in the next one.
That's all for today The NextByte Podcast is produced by Wevolver, and to learn more about the topics with discussed today visit Wevolver.com.
If you enjoyed this episode, please review and subscribe, via Apple podcasts Spotify or one of your favorite platforms. I'm Farbod and I'm Daniel. Thank you for listening and we'll see you in the next episode.
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The Next Byte: We're two engineers on a mission to simplify complex science & technology, making it easy to understand. In each episode of our show, we dive into world-changing tech (such as AI, robotics, 3D printing, IoT, & much more), all while keeping it entertaining & engaging along the way.