Thanks to ultra-capacitors and hot Hoosiers
We offered bemused coverage of this unknown Japanese electric supercar when it first appeared at last year’s Frankfurt show claiming 2-second 0-62-mph acceleration from pretty modest-sounding power and torque output. Then the other day Aspark’s communications rep emailed me a PDF of a Vbox file containing the 100-Hz raw data output from two brief acceleration runs—both of which hit the magic 100-km/h mark in under 2.0 seconds.
This piqued my curiosity enough to convert the PDF info to Excel and crunch it as if our own hot shoe Walton had been at the helm. And holy holeshots, Batman: Subtracting our standard 1-foot roll-out (by which point the Owl was already flying at 6.3 mph), Aspark’s data translates to a Motor Trend-spec 0-60 time of 1.6 seconds for both runs. For comparison, the 2017 Tesla Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode was traveling 5.9 mph in the first foot of its Motor Trend record-setting 2.28-second 0-60 run.
First caveat: The tires used were Hoosier racing slicks, not DOT street-legal meats with rain-tolerant tread grooves. In Aspark’s first test session, the tires were warmed in a heater box, then quickly installed prior to the test runs. The video of this most recent second test session indicates a tire warming burnout, but curiously the car was restrained for this using giant ratchet straps connected to the front wheels, so the front drive shaft must have been disconnected or somehow declutched. (Yes, the motors are both located near the rear axle, with a shaft running forward to power the front axle.)
Second caveat: Electricity for this test is coming primarily from ultra-capacitors, not from batteries. Ultra-caps can be recharged extremely quickly, making them great for capturing lots of regenerative braking on a race track, and they can be discharged extremely quickly (as when geysering electrons at motors for a sub-2-second 0-60 run). The sales literature mentions that the final product will employ a combination of batteries and ultra-caps, but its claimed 93-mile driving range surely must carry a higher ratio of batteries to ultra-caps than this test mule did here. This could hamper the car’s ultimate acceleration rate.
The claimed total mass of the Aspark Owl is just under 1,900 pounds, and the horsepower and torque of the two motors totals 429 hp and 563 lb-ft. I plugged all these figures into another program, along with a roughly estimated drag coefficient and frontal area (aero isn’t too important below 60 mph), and the computer indicated that this acceleration rate would demand 435 hp. Close enough to assure us Aspark isn’t sand-bagging on the power number.
Less clear at this point is the driveline setup. The brochure claims a 174-mph top speed with a maximum motor speed of 4,000 rpm. Given the claimed final-drive ratio of 4.44:1 and the tire sizes (275/30R19 front, 335/30R20 rear), a two- or three-speed gearbox at least will be needed to hit that speed, though a 1:1 first gear would reach 72 mph.
Who knows if this car will ever reach “series” production (it’s rumored $4,000,000-plus price will certainly limit demand), or if any of said sales will be in North America. But any potentially street legal car hitting 60 mph in under 2 seconds seems worthy of at least this much attention.