Blue Planet's Ecostar 

Solar powered WORLD electric Land Speed Record car




 The drive motor layout for the Ecostar above, is near identical to that used in the 

Mercedes AMG offshore powerboat Top Gun. See the photograph at the foot of this page.



The particular call cited below came and went long ago, an opportunity sadly missed for EV development. That though is the nature of research and development. It is not so much who has the thought to take development to the next stage, it is also being at the right place at the right time and having the right team of collaborative engineers from forward looking companies and universities.


The Ecostar project was not entered for the competition below because the European Competition was discovered too late to assemble or be able to contact potential partners and then assemble a team. This is now a good time to make contact and build such a team, in readiness for any fresh transport call. We also need a driver - perhaps from one if the Formula E teams?

Number: 29/G/ENT/CIP/12/C/N05S00  -  Promotion of electric vehicle technologies




LOT 1: Construction from scratch of an electric car designed for competition.




  1. To design and build from a clean sheet of paper, a high-performance electric vehicle designed to attempt to set a new European electric land speed record (LSR).

  2. The vehicle is to be known henceforth as the ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’, is to incorporate what is probably the ultimate range extender, being the ability to refuel itself by way of a battery cartridge exchange, within minutes.

  3. The challenge is to incorporate a battery cartridge, which will provide a useful range for a road going electric vehicle, and not only exchange a cartridge after a high-speed run, but that the vehicle may do this by means of built in apparatus.

  4. At present the Federation Internationale de la Automobile (FIA) LSR rules allow the best of 3 runs in opposite directions across a measured mile, within 1 hour. The two best runs in opposite directions are then added together and divided by 2 to give your average flying mile speed.

  5. The 3 run rule is not practical for EV’s without cartridge exchange, because their first and second run payloads would seriously hamper performance, where the vehicle mass would be significantly more. Put simply the vehicle would be 2-3 times heavier than a vehicle that can refuel instantly. Thus, to now, electric LSR vehicles have attempted two runs out of three, with fast charging in between, replenishing around 30% of the available battery capacity for the second run, and so on.

  6. ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ may complete three runs with a fresh cartridge for each of the three attempts.

  7. The battery cartridge exchange system (BCES) to be incorporated in ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ has been verified officially by the governing body of motor sport, the FIA, as a means of refuelling.

  8. The battery cartridges will be charged by way of portable solar arrays, to make the vehicle and any demonstration of the vehicle, entirely powered by energy from nature. (IEC 61000)

  9. The battery cartridges will use the latest Lithium Polymer cells commensurate with budgetary constraints, the charge rate electronically regulated.

  10. The ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ will also carry onboard photovoltaic (solar) cells, that the sun may provide a percentage of electricity directly, calculated to enhance the performance of the vehicle.

  11. The reason for using solar arrays to charge battery cartridges is to demonstrate that with the necessary investment and incentives, that power for transportation may come from renewable energy from nature. (See the Utopia Tristar proposals for housing with community charging of battery cartridges).

  12. ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ will incorporate a constantly variable transmission (CVT), which has the benefits of faster acceleration for sports vehicles or greater range for road vehicles.

  13. ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ will use lightweight DC motors that provide operating efficiencies in the 80-90% range, when coupled to the CVT transmission. The simplicity of this design obviates the need for heavy and expensive wave generators. Soft start is provided for the initial acceleration phase to 50 mph, after which the traction motors may be direct coupled to the traction batteries without wheel-spin.

  14. The designer of the system was granted a UK patent in respect of such battery exchange technology in 1995. The system has not been developed past 2000 and the patent lapsed, for lack of commercial interest and/or support for battery vehicles.

  15. The car’s output will be 400Kw for a flying mile speed of 350mph. This level of performance being close to the performance of many world record petrol LSR vehicles and far in excess of most circuit racing petrol vehicles.

  16. It is hoped that motor vehicle manufacturers (MVMs) will be sufficiently persuaded by the battery exchange system, to want to take the innovation to the next stage – which is to agree a format that all MVMs can cooperate on for the next stage in EV evolution: no range restrictions.

  17. In 1995 the designer constructed from scratch a racing vehicle, incorporating an inbuilt battery cartridge exchange mechanism powered by pneumatic servos. This allowed refuelling in about 2 minutes and attracted coverage from the Mail, Telegraph, Sunday Times, Autocar, and Big Breakfast.

  18. In 1999 the designer converted a Rover Metro to electric drive, incorporating flat electro-mechanical servos for battery cartridge exchange. This was to demonstrate that the racing car system was suitable for road cars. Alterations to the floor-pan central tunnel and rear cargo floor-space were minimal. This car was never put on display for lack of funds.

  19. It is hoped that by drawing attention to the battery cartridge exchange method of range extension for EV’s that motor manufacturers may become interested in developing the technology commercially.

  20. Regardless of the potential for development for future production vehicles, this/these present proposal(s) is/are not a commercially viable enterprise, nor are the immediate objectives commercially driven or for profit.

  21. Other transitional hybrid arrangements are described in the designer’s patent GB 225337. If motor manufacturers might be persuaded to explore the commercial applications of a unified (universally accepted) battery cartridge for their exchange systems.

  22. Hybrid vehicles may offer the technology-gap transition from petrol, to hybrid, to pure battery exchange vehicle.

  23. The logical future development of the BCES as incorporated in ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’, is to pilot test automatic battery cartridge dispensing equipment, or service stations.

  24. The BCES in any of the formats used previously, or to be used in the ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ is suitable for incorporation in electrically powered circuit racing cars, where the need for extremely fast refuelling during pit stops, will accelerate the development of forecourt service stations for EVs.


RANGE ANXIETY - The blend of technology to be incorporated in the ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ promises an innovative energy efficient vehicle, devoid of range restrictions, provided that the infrastructure is also developed and given the support necessary by the member states of the European Union.


CLEAN MOTORING - Electric vehicles incorporating a means of instant refuelling could make road transport clean and practical by eliminating the limited ranges of fixed battery EVs, which are perceived as less practical by the at present long parked-up recharge times.


The cartridge exchange technology incorporated in ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ may contribute to the spread of innovative battery solutions for EVs and raise social awareness of this developing technology, thus meeting the objectives of this call.


Motoring enthusiasts will enjoy the spectacle of a sleek racing car at shows and other events. As the media pick up the story, the general public should warm to the news of instant refuelling as may benefit carbon reduction targets, but it is hoped that MVMs, energy suppliers, NGO’s and governments will recognise the potential. In 1995 a well known energy supplier in the UK entered into negotiations with the designer, which faltered as the Dti revealed its preference for fuel cell technology, now discarded.


POWERTRAIN - The ‘Blueplanet Ecostar’ uses a pure battery-electric power-train to be complemented by the addition of onboard PV cells. 


VEHICLE SAFETY -  The driver is protected by a safety cage and CTA compliant rollover bar. Goodyear high-speed LSR tires are rated higher than the expected operational speeds. A parachute and safety reserve chute supplements conventional disc braking. The battery cartridge casing provides extra mechanical and fire protection to the Lithium Polymer cells in the event of a crash. The loading and cradling design helps the cells to resist vibration. Short circuit, over an under charge protection is incorporated. Specifically, the system complies with the requirements of UNECE Regulation No 100 (electric safety).  The system will be tested statically and in rolling situations.




  • The frame of the vehicle will be constructed of corrosion resistant metal.

  • The bodywork of the vehicle is to be constructed of durable aluminium alloy and composites.

  • Paints will be water based.

  • As a showpiece the Blueplanet Ecostar will not be recycled, save for the Lithium batteries and will be displayed at local and science museums across Europe.

  • The solar charging arrays will be re-deployed for electricity production for such displays.


BATTERY CARTRIDGE CHARGING - The battery cartridge solar charging system shall comply with the EU legislation and international standards, such as IEC 61000. Alternatively, battery cartridges may be recharged via a charger of the onboard type in any country within the EU and US. For road cars, a smart-card Pay As You Drive (PAYD) system may be developed for forecourt style commercial battery cartridge exchanges.


ELECTROMAGNETIC COMPATIBILITY (EMC) – The vehicle will be designed to meet with or exceed the tolerable limits set for electromagnetic disturbances as defined in EU legislation.  and shall take into account additional issues not covered totally or partially by the latter, such as those related to connections to the power grid.


g) Applicability to future society in terms of carbon reduction and the take of EV’s generally, once range anxiety issues become resolved, measured by the following indicators:


- Number of unique visitors to the project websites.

- Media coverage of the demonstration event (number of press articles).

- Estimation of impact on carbon generate transport if taken up by manufacturers.




(1) Scheduled start-up date for the action: 15th July 2012

(2) The duration of the construction is 4 months.




The above Mercedes AMG electric motor package is near identical in layout to that designed

for the Ecostar - see picture at the head of this page. In fact we had to look twice at this photograph because it looked as though someone had published a picture without our knowledge. In fact this is the drive-train from the world's most powerful electric boat - the Top Gun Cigarette. Great minds think alike.





The Blue Planet team are looking for collaborative research partnerships with motor companies, universities, battery and electronics companies. The 'Ecostar' could be (by way of example) the 'Mercedes Ecostar'. The classic lines of the Ecostar are reminiscent of both Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar D type cars from the glory years. Match funding for such research is available from time to time from Nine Sigma and the European Community fund (Catapult). Please contact Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd or Max Energy Ltd to discuss the possibilities. This project is under new management.




Blueplanet Ecostar battery electric land speed record racing car


An electric land speed record car that refuels itself by changing battery packs between each run - charged by solar power. See the refueling cycle by clicking on the car above.





Battery cartridge exchange system   Contact us:  Email Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd  or phone UK:  bluebird battery cartridge instant refueling for EVs


+44 (0) 1323 831727   +44 (0) 7842 607865

Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd

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