A team of passionate students from ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland has crafted an electric vehicle, “Mythen”, which has made a sensational mark in the realm of electric vehicle (EV) racing. On September 1, 2023, this dream team shattered the electric vehicle acceleration world record by reaching a speed of 62.15 mph (100 kph) in just 0.965 seconds over a stretch of 40.3 feet (12.3 meters).
The journey wasn’t a walk in the park. The team devoted almost a year to build this marvel. Despite the challenges and hiccups along the way, their spirit never waned. They constantly revisited and tweaked design components, ensuring that the final product was nothing short of perfection.
Their efforts bore fruit when “Mythen” was officially stamped as the world’s quickest by the Guinness World Records. This electrifying record was set at Switzerland Innovation Park in Duebendorf, just a stone’s throw away from where the students labored on their masterpiece. Kate Maggetti was the daredevil behind the wheel who guided “Mythen” to eclipse the prior record of 1.461 seconds, set in September 2022 by a University of Stuttgart team, by an impressive margin.
Yann Bernard, who spearheaded the motor section of the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ), reflected on the experience: “Balancing this project with our academic commitments was quite a whirlwind. But the thrill of collaborating with peers, brainstorming, and applying our academic knowledge in real-time was unparalleled. And being a part of a world record? That’s just the cherry on top.”
The student innovators meticulously designed each part of “Mythen”, from the printed circuit boards and chassis to the battery. They incorporated lightweight materials, such as carbon and aluminum honeycomb, enabling the car to weigh in at a mere 309 pounds (140 kilograms). The vehicle’s heart thumps with an astonishing 240 kilowatts, or roughly 326 horsepower, due to the four-wheel hub motors and an innovative powertrain.
However, raw power wasn’t their sole focus. As Dario Messerli, who led the aerodynamics at AMZ, pointed out, “Power is just one piece of the puzzle. Ensuring it translates effectively to speed on the ground is equally vital.” Unlike traditional Formula One cars that utilize aerodynamics to maintain traction, “Mythen” features a unique “vacuum cleaner” mechanism to ensure it remains glued to the ground right from the start.
Interestingly, the AMZ team isn’t new to breaking records. They previously set world acceleration records for EVs in 2014 and 2016. Though a team from the University of Stuttgart temporarily stole their thunder in subsequent years, the Swiss prodigies have now reclaimed their title. And with the determination and innovation they’ve showcased, they’re optimistic about maintaining their champion status for years to come.