An American company is set to meet with the ACO this weekend to try to get approval to field an all-electric car in next year’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But this isn’t like any electric car you’ve seen before.
Don Panoz, co-founder of Green4U Technologies, unveiled the all-electric Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV race car concept on Thursday at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Village, according to a statement. The unusual car features a 1,000 pound removable battery pack that can be swapped out during pit stops.
“Our goal is to run our car in a race, perhaps even applying for a future Garage 56 slot, and apply what we learn to our Green4U EV vehicle designs,” Green4U CEO and co-founder Jack Perkowski, said. “The development of an all-electric race car that can compete with the best internal combustion engine race cars places Green4U at the forefront of electric vehicle technology.”
The car’s battery packs are Green4U’s way of overcoming the long charge time for electric vehicles, though it isn’t exactly sure how it will swap them out yet. Brian Willis, the company’s vice president of engineering and design, told Autoweek one option is using mechanical arms to remove the old one and place it on a rotating trolley that also will carry the new pack to the car.
Panoz’s ultimate goal is for the GT-EV to have comparable range and performance to endurance racers powered by internal combustion engines and hybrid systems. Currently, though, Panoz estimates the team would need 10 battery packs for Le Mans, as the car has a 100-mile range in race trim.
The car reportedly will produce between 535 and 600 horsepower, though both its power output and range could change by the time of next year’s race. Green4U currently is still exploring supplier options, and could wait until the end of the development to secure a battery supplier, given how rapidly Formula E battery technology has progressed.
Unusual as the GT-EV’s design might be, Panoz considers it “the holy grail” of EVs, and is considering developing a road car based on the racer. Hardly surprising considering he is the same person who gave us the Deltawing, which was visually and mechanically unlike any other race car.
All photos via Green4U