A new world land speed record for a lightweight electric car was last night set at a North Yorkshire,England,racetrack.
Drayson Racing, led by former British science minister and avid racer Lord Paul Drayson, set a new record yesterday using an electric version of a race car originally developed for the American Le Mans Series.
Its Lola B12 69/EV vehicle hit a top speed of 204.2mph (328.6km/h) at a racetrack at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire, England.
The new record improved on the previous 175 mph (281.6 km/h) record, which was set by Battery Box General Electric in 1974, by 29.2 mph (47 km/h).
Drayson Racing is not the only electric vehicle-maker hoping to use motorsport to spur on adoption of the technology.
The bio-fuel Drayson Lola has competed in endurance racing around the world, powered by a Judd V10 engine, later adapted to run on battery power and configured for low-drag in preparation of this run. According to Drayson, the most notable difference between his EV and a typical race car is the absence of vibrations and a screaming engine.
“[It] has this completely different sound,” he said, “which, to me, is the sound of the 21st century.”
Behind the wheel of the electric Le Mans prototype was Drayson himself, who after the run explained that the outright speed was not the most impressive feat of this record but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000-kilogram electric car on a short runway over a measured mile.
“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 Lord Drayson in the official statement.
He continued: “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 QualcommHalo, Michelin, Multimatic and Cosworth.
“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. We hope to set more records tomorrow. ”
Drayson Racing was founded in 2007 by self-declared “car nut” Paul Drayson, who was then a minister in the Labour government.
The firm, based in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, works with others to develop more sustainable automotive technologies and uses motorsport competitions as a means to focus its efforts.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) hosted the record-breaking run at the Elvington Airfield in North Yorkshire, England, and today confirmed the top speed. Drayson’s team remains at Elvington, with the intention of setting more electric records.