Japanese electric car goes 300km on single charge

Japanese developers have unveiled an electric car they said can travel more than 300 kilometres before its battery runs flat.

Electric vehicle specialist SIM-Drive, which hopes to take the car to market by 2013 but gave no projected cost, said its four-seater “SIM-LEI” had motors inside each wheel and a super-light frame, allowing for 333 kilometres of motoring on one charge in a test.

Its designers say they hope the prototype, a joint project among 34 organisations including Mitsubishi Motors and engineering firm IHI, will be sold to car manufacturers for mass production.

Automakers such as Nissan, which launched its all-electric Leaf last year with a 160-kilometre range, are gambling that electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions will catch on and, some time in the future, start to drive traditional petrol-guzzlers off the road.

Electric cars still face key hurdles such as costly batteries and the lack of conveniently-located recharging points, which limits their operating radius. AFP

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