Nanocar: smallest electric car in the world

Date:16 February 2012

Scientists are billing a vehicle the size of a molecule as “the smallest electric car in the world”.

The nanocar, developed by scientists in the Netherlands and Switzerland, measures roughly 2 x 4 nanometres. It has four electrically powered wheels, each of which rotates when excited by voltage from the sharp tip of an electron microscope hovering directly above it. It moves along a copper surface in only one direction, in close to a straight line. Its biggest weakness: fuel economy – a full tank of electric “fuel” lasts for only about a half-revolution of the wheels.

Watch a side-view of a molecular model showing how the nanocar moves across a surface…

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