British Electric Car Sets Land Speed Record
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Drayson Racing, the team behind Drayson Racing Technologies, set a new land speed record for an electric car today, hitting a top speed of 204.2 miles per hour at a Yorkshire, England race track. The Drayson Lola B12/69 EV electric racecar, piloted by owner Lord Drayson, beat the previous record of 175 miles per hour set by the Battery Box General Electric car in 1974. Today’s achievements were meant to highlight the progress electric motor companies have made in recent years to produce a viable and powerful fuel-free car. The Drayson team now plans to enter the record-setting vehicle into next year’s Le Mans competition, an iconic race which lasts for 24 hours.
In a statement to the BBC, Paul Drayson said of his company’s achievements: “What it, I hope, shows to people is just what the future potential of electric cars is.”
“Obviously this is a very special racing car, but by setting this new world record here in Britain we say two things. One it is a pointer to the future – the technology that we developed for this car will filter down to the cars we use every day. And secondly it’s a message about how here in the UK we’re a world leader with this technology. We’ve led motorsport engineering, now we’re also leading with electric motorsport engineering.”
Lord Drayson founded his company in 2007 after spending five years holding various offices in British government where he served as the Minister of Science in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Two years after starting his racing company, he began entering cars in the Le Mans race with little success.
To win today’s honor, the Drayson team had to meet some specific qualifications. First, the Lola electric racecar had to weigh less that 2,204 pounds in raw material minus the driver. Building off an existing Le Mans series car, the team then stripped the vehicle of its combustion engine and replaced it with a 20-kilowatt-hour battery. Though lightweight, their battery is still capable of delivering 850 horsepower, hurtling the car to the record books. The racing outfit also adjusted the chassis of the supercar to reduce wind friction.
In addition to entering their vehicle again into next year’s Le Mans, Drayson Racing plans to take part in the electric arm of the FIA races, the Formula E Championship hosted in London. For this race, the team will enter a different vehicle outfitted for the Formula One race, which is being developed by a company in Singapore called Spark. The first ever electric Formula One race will take place this September. Drayson also plans to enter a car of their own design in a 2015 race and will borrow from some of the technologies used in the record-setting Lola vehicle.
“I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable. Drayson Racing is a laboratory for EV technology, testing it to the most extreme level, as we’ve seen today,” said Drayson in an official statement on their web page.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on hand just before Drayson actually set the record. Lard Drayson said it was lovely to meet him.