If you’re a student at MIT, you’re not like every other college student in the country. No, you get to develop a prototype rapid-recharging electric vehicle. And that’s not all -- the power needed to make such a system work has to come from your university’s own power plant.
Still, the concept isn’t pie-in-the-sky academic research. Rapid recharging is the holy grail of electric vehicles. Their limited range and 3-12 hour recharging times make them impractical for long trips and relegate them strictly to second-car or commuter-car status.
The students expect the prototype — a gutted 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid — to be up and running by 2010. They also say the engine itself isn’t the cost issue and rightly point out that electric vehicles should be cheaper to maintain for owners.