– Swiss break world record for electric car height with Aebi
Three friends from Graubünden reached 6,500 meters in their E-Aebi – a world record. However, they missed their actual target by a small margin.
They wanted to go to the Ojos del Salado volcano in Chile at 6,740 meters above sea level. Not on foot, but with the Aebi, this 6.5-ton rural agricultural vehicle.
It was the dream of brothers Patrick (29) and David Kohler (32) and their friend David Broschel (33): to break the world vehicle height record. Not with a gasoline engine like its competitors, but with an electric-powered Ibi engine.
Now Patrick Kohler from Chile says: “6,500 meters is enough. We want to get the Terrans home safely.” Terren is the name of their vehicle, Romansh for earth. Even if that’s not enough, they have clearly surpassed the previous electric car record of 6,080 metres, set by an electric motorcycle. “We are very satisfied and proud. “Still, it’s a bit unfortunate that it wasn’t enough,” Koller says.
A daring journey
The record attempt is the highlight of a very daring journey. As children, the three men worked together on engines in Graubünden. With age, the fascination shifted towards electric motors.
In 2019 they started Project Terren. The three inventors wanted to rethink commercial vehicle mobility by converting the Aebi. They dismantled it, installed two electric motors with nine batteries, designed a gearbox and got approval from the Road Traffic Office. (Click here for original story).
To demonstrate the superiority of electric vehicles in difficult terrain, they want to break the world altitude record for land vehicles. At the same time, advertise your car. They dream of Terren’s commercial success.
To achieve this record-breaking attempt, the three inventors shipped the E-Aebi to Chile and transported it 1,000 kilometers to the north of the country in a semi-trailer. “This is for its protection: the E-Aebi’s top speed is 40 kilometers per hour. This does not mean that it will be damaged before the record is attempted,” says Patrick Kohler.
From the Pacific coast near Puerto Viejo the height of the volcano reaches 390 km. The Terren is powered by two electric motors, each with a power of 120 kW. The energy is stored in a 90 kWh battery. It is charged by a 10.7 kW mobile solar system. In Chile, it takes about ten hours to charge a battery from 10 to 100 percent.
“It feels great to be completely self-sufficient at these altitudes,” he says. But Kohler was surprised by the circumstances. The terrain is steep, steeper than satellite images show. It is also barren and has large stones and glaciers as well. Then strong winds and thin air. “The terrain is brutal.” Sometimes all three have to fight their way up. “You’ll turn black very quickly because of the altitude,” says Kohler.
Before their record attempt, the three friends camped at 4,800 metres. There is also a neighboring Porsche team that wants to break the record with a modified (non-street legal) 911. Adversaries are equipped with emergency power generators that vibrate day and night. “It’s quiet for us, we get our electricity from solar panels,” says Kohler.
Porsche does it aggressively, your Ibi is persistent. With the advantage that height does not affect it. On the other hand, a combustion engine loses 70 percent of its power at this altitude because the oxygen content in the air is lower.
However, in the end, it was the Porsche that broke the world height record. In the final stage he pulls himself to the top using a cable winch. Kohler calls it “Hochmorksen.”
They also had a crane with them, but in the end they decided not to do that. Big risk. The ground is very heavy. A lot can happen. “Otherwise the land would have become a museum piece here.” It is also a one-off prototype and costs two million francs. They don’t want to put him in danger.
The Kohler brothers and Bruchel are now back in Switzerland, satisfied and with knowledge of a “very reliable” vehicle. But there is still a little regret that it was not enough. That’s why the bottle of Magnum you took with you from the Cave du Rhodan winery will remain closed until further notice.
Christian Zuercher He is a reporter. He started working at the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper in 2013.More information