Lord Paul Drayson Sets Speed Record in Electric Racer

SITUATION:

  • Lord Paul Drayson, who was the British sci­ence min­is­ter from 2008 to 2010 and now runs his own motor rac­ing team, reached a speed of 204.185 miles per hour behind the wheel of his pro­to­type elec­tric vehi­cle and set the FIA World Elec­tric Land Speed Record
  • The new elec­tric vehi­cle speed record was set at the RAF’s Elv­ing­ton Air­field in York­shire, and beat the pre­vi­ous fastest speed set by an elec­tric car by almost 29 mph.
  • A Le Mans Pro­to­type called “Lola,” pow­ered by an 850-horse­pow­er bat­tery-elec­tric motor, beat an elec­tric rac­er that Gen­er­al Elec­tric set the record with in 1974 that made it to 175 mph.
  • There may be a dis­pute over it – in 2010, the Buck­eye Bul­let, and EV built by stu­dents at Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, reached 307.7 mph dur­ing two runs at the Bon­neville Salt Flats in Utah in August 2010.  That achieve­ment was not offi­cial­ly sanc­tioned by the FIA, which means Lord Drayson and his team are the offi­cial fastest EV race car ever.

SIGNIFICANCE:

  • The Drayson Rac­ing design team used ultra-light car­bon fiber for its chas­sis and body to com­pen­sate for the weight of a 30 kilo­watt-hour bat­tery pack. It also relied on cus­tom-designed Miche­lin LM P1 tires.
  • Peo­ple might think of EVs as qui­et­ly sleek­ing cars that don’t have the pow­er of mus­cle cars – but an elec­tric motor yields max­i­mum torque the moment it starts spin­ning. Have you ever stepped on the “gas ped­al” of a Tes­la Mod­el S – that is real torque!
  • The Lola can go from 0 to 60 in less than four sec­onds and keeps gain­ing speed until it goes past 200 mph. Drayson said he’ll beat his own record – he tweet­ed fans that on anoth­er spin the in the rac­er, the car was “very live­ly at 216 mph.”
  • It’s not over for Lord Drayson. The For­mu­la E series is set to launch in 2015 and Drayson is plan­ning on par­tic­i­pat­ing.
  • For fans of elec­tric cars, one of the best parts of this record break­er is the increased atten­tion and focus it brings to elec­tric rac­ing and bat­tery propul­sion.
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