UK firm sets electric land speed recordA UK company, Drayson Racing Technologies, has broken a long standing land speed record for electric cars. Drayson's Lola B12 69/EV reached a top speed of 204.2mph at a track at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire.
A UK company, Drayson Racing Technologies, has broken a long standing land speed record for electric cars. Drayson's Lola B12 69/EV reached a top speed of 204.2mph at a track at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire. The previous record of 175mph had stood since 1974, when it was set by Battery Box General Electric. At the wheel of the latest record breaker was Lord Drayson, chief executive of Drayson Racing Technologies. The speedy peer said that the attempt was intended to show the potential of electric vehicles.
Drayson Racing Technologies is not the only firm to be using motorsport to highlight the abilities of electric cars and improve the take up of the technology. Last week Japanese manufacturer, Nissan, revealed its Zeod RC car (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) which is able to switch between electric and petrol driven power plants. Nissan has said it intends to enter the Zeod RC into the 2014 Le Mans road race, commenting that the race would provide a 'challenging test bed' for new technologies that could soon be used in their mass production cars.
Drayson Racing Technologies was founded in 2007 by ex Labour government minister, Paul Drayson, a self-confessed 'car nut'. The company is based in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, where it works with partners to develop more sustainable motor technologies. It uses motorsport record attempts and racing as a way to focus its efforts and demonstrate the capabilities of their technologies. One early challenge was the weight of the Lola B12 69/EV car. To qualify for an attempt at the world electric land speed record administered by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile's (FIA) the car had to weigh less than 1,000kg without its driver. No mean feat when you consider the weight of normal batteries.
This was achieved by adapting a Le Mans Series car, which originally ran on bio-ethanol fuel, another Drayson design. They removed the engine and installed a light, 20kw hour battery, producing 850hp. The car's chassis was also remade, using lightweight recycled carbon fibre. Lord Drayson commented: "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. 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."
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