Friday, June 28, 2013

Drive, Lola, drive: electric car breaks land speed record

An electric racing car by the name of Lola has just raced past the land speed record for electric vehicles (EVs).
Lord Drayson and Lola.(Credit: Drayson Racing Technologies)
Drayson Racing Technologies has broken the world land speed record for EVs. In 1974, Battery Box General Electric set the record at 175mph (281.635km/h); now, Drayson's Lola B12 69/EV racing car has smashed through it, reaching a top speed of 204.185mph (328.603km/h) at a racetrack in Elvington, Yorkshire, UK.
The car was driven by Lord Drayson himself, founder of Drayson Racing back in 2007 and former British minister for science and innovation.
In order to reach such high speeds, the car had to be very lightweight — weighing less than 1 tonne without the driver. This may not seem like much, considering that the minimum weight for a Formula 1 vehicle is 600 kilograms, but electric car batteries are significantly heavier than petrol-powered car batteries.
To circumvent this problem, the team modified a Le Mans Series car, replacing the bioethanol fuel engine and adding a lightweight, 850-horsepower battery pack. The chassis was then replaced with one made from lightweight recycled carbon fibre to keep air friction low.
"It is not the outright speed of 204.185mph that is most impressive about this record, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile. However, I've got a great team and world-class partners, such as Qualcomm Halo, Michelin, Multimatic and Cosworth," Lord Drayson said.
"This is a true celebration of Britain's leading position within the burgeoning electric vehicle industry, and I'm delighted to be at the forefront of this electric revolution."