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Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV Wants to Compete at the 24Hours Le Mans in 2018

Electric vehicles and endurance competitions appear to be two mutually exclusive notions, and yet there is somebody who thinks they can put water and oil together for the first time.
Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV 6 photos
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That somebody is a joint effort between Green4U Technologies, a company specializing in everything EV, and Don Panoz (of Panoz Motorsport), a man who has taken an interest in motorsport and invested in various projects - most notably the DeltaWing which actually competed at Le Mans in 2012.

These two are now planning to turn motorsport upside down by introducing the first all-electric race car to take part in the 24Hours Le Mans endurance race. And the thing is their entry is not as absurd as it might sound at first.

The car's name is Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV and, predictably, it's green. The prototype was unveiled at Le Mans and will be there on display for a while to come. The idea is that, hopefully, ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the Le Mans race organizer) will take an interest in the vehicle and grant it a slot for next year' edition in the Garage 56 exhibition class.

Wait a minute, but how is an electric car supposed to complete a 24-hour race? Wouldn't it spend most of that time plugged in, recharging its battery? Well, it would, except Green4U Technologies and Panoz Motorsport have a different idea.

The idea itself isn't new, but they seem to have found a way to make it work. They will use swappable 1,000 pounds battery packs. The whole right side of the vehicle will host nothing but the battery, with the driver and passenger (the car is supposed to spawn a street-version too, hence the GT in its name and the hope to compete in this class in the future) slotted in tandem on the left.

Replacing the battery shouldn't take any longer than a complete refuel, and since a full charge is claimed to be enough for 90 to 110 miles of racing conditions, that means the GT-EV wouldn't be forced to pit any more often than its competitors.

With 1,000 pounds on one side, the driver would have to be the size of a rhino to offset that, surely. Not at Le Mans he wouldn't, because here 90 percent of turns favor right-side weight, meaning the driver would have to compensate for the remaining 10 percent.

The specs of the vehicle are pretty generic, with 600 horsepower, two electric motors for all-wheel-drive and a total weight of 2,200-2,750 lb (1,000 - 1,250 kg). The road car would share its underpinnings, except for the swappable battery. It would also add a little weight as there would be a less liberal use of carbon fiber to keep the price down. Speaking of money, it's estimated it would cost between $100,000 and $200,000, which is a pretty big margin to take.

For now, though, everything is in the hands of Automobile Club de l'Ouest. If they like the project and decide to give it a chance, then we might be witnessing a huge premiere in motorsport. If not, well, then it's back to things as we knew them.


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