KAZ, which stands for Keio Advanced Zero-Emissions, was a project collaboration between the Italian and the Japanese. The goal? To build an electric limousine.
They did it but it took five years and an enormous investment of $4 million dollars. (I don’t know. Is that an enormous cost? I’m a regular person, so it seems like it to me.)
The wait and the investment were worth it, though. KAZ has 6 electric engines, each with 74 horsepower and 74 lb-ft. or torque. In case you’re not car savvy, that means KAZ can go from 0 to 62 mph in a tad under 7 seconds.
And it only takes 15 seconds to go a quarter mile with a top speed of 193 mph. Weighing in at 6,558 pounds, KAZ is considered an “environmental limo,” and it can comfortably carry eight people. (That’s one wheel per person.)
What’s also impressive about KAZ is how long it can go between charges. With 84 lithium-ion batteries, KAZ can easily travel 186 miles before running out of juice.
But why build an electric limousine?
Car inventors have been exploring electric cars for years now. With a dependence on fossil fuel, it’s only a matter of time before we figure out a way to make the electric car, or some version of it, work for modern life.
The IDEA Institute in Italy thought it was time to explore the world of luxury electric limousines, which begs the question, Where do these people get their funding? I’ve got a few ideas of my own percolating. Maybe they would be willing to fund me.
Anyway, KAZ has proven that electric cars can travel at high speeds. It’s also shown us that it’s possible for them to them travel at great distances before needing to re-charge. So, all in all, maybe building a luxury electric limousine is the push we need to break the barrier for affordable, efficient, and practical electric cars for the real world.
KAZ from the ground up
Professor of Environmental Information at Tokdyo’s Keio University, Hiroshi Shimuzu, began experimenting with electric vehicles as early as 1978. KAZ is his sixth incarnation and certainly his most promising.
One of the reasons KAZ has garnered such attention is the car’s lack of a traditional combustion motor and transmission system. Shimuzu and his designers decided on a reduction gear system, as well as a mechanical brake. Even the wheel bearing is housed around each of the driving wheels.
This innovative concept has powerful consequences:
- The weight of the limo is reduced while increasing cabin space.
- Transmission loss is decreased between a wheel and a motor.
- There are no axles or gears littering the main cabin hub.
- An electric motor is paired with each wheel.
KAZ is a quiet ride, unlike its fossil fuel predecessor. With zero emissions, an engine that hums, a ride that has very low vibration, you can see the possibilities this open up for the rest of us. Oh, and KAZ is more energy efficient than our current gas guzzling vehicles by 1.7 times.