To celebrate Peugeot's 200th anniversary, and to highlight the enormous possibilities offered by the use of electric power, Peugeot's engineers and stylists created the EX1 - a performance car of the future.
It is dedicated to providing a new driving sensation only achievable with electric power and, at the same time, present responsible environmental credentials.
Its original architecture is based on Peugeot's previous concept cars like the Asphalte and the 20Cup. And at a time when the electric motor is becoming a real alternative for Peugeot, the EX1 opens up a new dimension of raw driving emotion.
To prove the car's potential, the 340hp EX1 smashed three existing acceleration records at the Montlhery circuit in France yesterday under FIA guidelines.
Accelerating faster than a supercar, the electric Peugeot EX1 smashed the 1/4 mile, 500m and 1000m speed records previously set by Georg Von Opel in an Opel GT Electric in 1971.
Not content with these three record runs, EX1 then went on to set three new speed records for a vehicle weighing less than 1000kg over the 1/8 mile, 1/2 mile and 1 mile.
Set from a standing start, EX1 set the following times: 1/8 mile (8.89sec), 1/4 mile (14.4s), 500m (16.81s), 1/2 mile (23.85s), 1000m (28.16s), and 1 mile (41.09s).
This series of records was established by Nicolas Vanier, the French explorer and film-maker who drove the EX1 concept car during its record-breaking drives. Between now and the end of the year, China, the world's largest car market, will become the stage for the EX1 to pursue other world records.
In setting these records Peugeot has demonstrated that electric vehicles have a lot of potential, and are not just city runabouts. Electric vehicles are clearly one solution to reduce carbon emissions, but can also provide new levels of performance, unobtainable in conventional cars.
The styling of this two-seater roadster is in keeping with its mechanical design; like a kind of "exoskeleton", it highlights the lightweight nature that has guided the creation of the vehicle. The design and styling incorporates Peugeot's new design codes, first seen on the SR1 concept car, with its "floating" front grille and flowing body contours. Polished aluminum detailing adorns the door surrounds in a reference to the recently launched RCZ Coupe and the BB1 electric urban concept vehicle.
Unlike the design of a "classic" roadster, the EX1 is instead based around an architecture which is shaped like a "water droplet", with the rear wheels set close together. This chosen design enables the EX1's passenger compartment to be reduced for optimal weight distribution and help reduce the overall weight.
The suspension consists of a drop-link double wishbone arrangement at the front and a single "swinging arm" linked to a centrally-mounted shock absorber, which is connected via a rocker arm to provide variable damping at the rear.
The monocoque body is manufactured from a carbon/honeycomb composite to optimize weight and rigidity. It also incorporates all the mounting points for the mechanical components.
The EX1 concept car is powered by two electric motors, one located at the front and the other at the rear of the vehicle. They produce a maximum combined peak power output of 340hp and a constant maximum torque of 177 lb-ft at the front and rear. This not only optimizes the weight distribution but also gives the vehicle four-wheel drive capability.
The driver and passenger climb into the passenger compartment through a reverse opening door to gain access to the bucket seats. This unusual arrangement immerses the occupants in a futuristic and hi-tech environment, as does the on-board instrumentation (an instrument screens for each occupant shows the vehicle's instantaneous performance) and the chosen materials such as "pure" metals and embossed leather.
The driver, seated at ground level with legs outstretched similar to a racing car, drives the vehicle by using two control handles, providing an experience similar to that of an aircraft pilot or when playing a video game.
As well as the presence of safety harnesses, the occupants are protected by the height of the carbon passenger cell, which has sufficient clearance to include a roll-over bar.
Similarly, the wind deflector, perfectly integrated in terms of style, allows the car to be driven on a daily basis without a helmet. On racing circuits, where a helmet must be worn, Peugeot Style has teamed up with Ruby helmets to produce two specific helmet designs. The EX1 concept car benefits from a level of performance that enables it not only to leave behind the city, the preferred territory of electric vehicles, but also to challenge a range of performance acceleration records.
Its lightness, weight distribution and aerodynamics, the torque and power of its two electric motors and its high-output lithium-ion battery are just some of the characteristics that make this a car capable of lightning acceleration that can exceed 1g of gravitational force.
Peugeot stylists are renowned for their attention to detail, and this extends to designing the "garage" in which the EX1 is presented. The EX1's "garage" is more than just protection - it is designed to be an independent recharging station which is free of any "cabling" constraints. Its roof contains solar panels that use daylight to create electricity, which is then stored in a "storage" battery, ready to recharge the EX1 when required. A battery charger adapted to operate on a range of renewable energy sources is also available. The EX1 will be on display for all to see at Peugeot Avenue at the Paris Auto Show from 22 September to 14 November 2010.