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Electric car tops 600 kilometres on test drive in Germany

Oct 29, 2010 - Jean-Baptiste Piggin - dpa - McClatchy Tribune

A battery-powered Audi arrived in Berlin Tuesday after a 600-kilometre overnight drive from Munich with promoters saying it was the world's longest such ride by a regular car.

The mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, welcomed the car at the Brandenburg Gate, a city landmark, after the drive. Driver Mirko Hannemann said the car instruments showed 17 per cent battery power left, but the car badly needed a recharge.

It has a lithium-metal-polymer battery. DBM Energy, the company that built the battery and electric motors into the Audi A2, said the battery would function for 500,000 kilometres. The car is a prototype and work has not yet begun to mass-produce the type.

In Japan, a battery-powered car has run 1,000 kilometres on one charge. That May feat was the work of Japan Electric Vehicle Club.

The German engineers said their car was special because the battery was not installed inside the luggage area, but under the luggage area, meaning the full interior space of the car was still available.

The yellow-and-crimson Audi A2 drove at an average 90 kilometres per hour during the seven-hour drive from Munich, 605 kilometres away in southern Germany.

Hannemann, 27, the chief of DBM energy, said 50 experts spent six weeks adapting and tuning up the car for the run.

German Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle, who subsidized the drive, said it showed electric cars are not utopian but really work.

However Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a professor who studies car-industry economics, said it had not yet been proven the technology was durable.

"What we need is a car that drives 600 kilometres on one charge over and over again for 15 years," he told a news broadcaster, N-TV