Monster Machines: UK Minister Breaks Electric-Car Land Speed Record

If there are two things in this world that folks just do not respect, it's the US Congress and the obscene amounts of torque that an electric engine can produce. Like its two-wheeled brethren, the Lola B12 69/EV has more than enough torque to spare. Enough even to propel a former UK government official to over 320km/h and into the history books.

The Lola B12 69/EV is built by Drayson Racing Technologies (as in Lord Drayson -- he's also the company CEO and former minister for the Labour government) in Kidlington, Oxfordshire. The firm has been in operation since 2007 and focuses on sustainable automotive technology, demonstrating its latest advancements through the firm's race team.

And to demonstrate the potential of electric vehicles, Dayton just went ahead and set a land speed record last week at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire. There, the Lola B12 69/EV hit a top speed of 328.6km/h, beating the previous 281.6km/h record set in 1974 by a General Electric Battery Box car.

To do so, the Drayson team had to modify an existing Le Mans prototype that used a bio-ethanol engine with a 20kWh (850 HP) electric power plant and modified the recycled carbon fibre chassis to minimise drag and to get it under the 1000kg limit to qualify for the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) record.

"What it, I hope, shows to people is just what the future potential of electric cars is,” Drayson told the BBC. ”[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.”

While the presence of Google's Eric Schmidt might lead to dreams of driverless car races, Drayson racing will be sticking with human drivers for the time being. In fact Lord Drayson is working to start up a new FIA Formula E competition (open only to electric vehicles) for the 2014 season. Reportedly, the races will be 45 minutes long and won't include traditional pit stops. Since you can't very well recharge or swap a battery in a pit stop, racers will instead hop out of the expired car, run 100 metres (which is going to be hilarious), and get into a freshly charged car. Each racer will race three separate cars and get two pits per race. No word yet on whether they'll be allowed to pit for tyre changes.

The races are set to start in London in the fall of next year, followed by Rome, Miami, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro (if Brazilian society hasn't collapsed by then) and three other TBD locales. Hopefully, they'll be travelling from venue to venue by more conventional means. [Extreme Tech, BBC]



    "Since you can’t very well recharge or swap a battery in a pit stop" and why not?

    If racing truly does filter down to road then racing-derived improvements to hot swap batteries and/or new fast charge systems would also trickle down to road cars and these are significant impediments to current road vehicles.

    To instead say "let's ignore this for now" is to remind people of the problem instead of striving for a solution. My $0.02.

      Well said. Battery change should only take 30 seconds.

      Yeah but who will be paying for the $30K battery? Even swappable batteries will mean being on some kind of a payment plan which will be too expensive for everyday consumers

        One way they are implementing this is you swap the battery with one already charged at the station. You then have the choice of retaining the new one you picked up, picking your old one up on the way back or paying to get it sent to your house:

    I wonder how much faster the car could of gone had it not been bouncing around so much.

    Video shows a top speed of 212mph which is 341kph not 328.
    Anyway, Formula E could be interesting, they would still have to stop for tyres, potentially more so due to the high torque. Hot swapping batteries should certainly be possible, might take a little bit longer than a simple tyre only stop but probably not too much longer than a refuel like in F1 when they still refuelled. Really depends on how much Kers they are going to be allowed to use and how big the batteries are going to have to be.

      they do 2 runs and go with the average speed of the two to account for wind assistance, 205 was the official speed (328)

      Also, what does the US congress comment in the first line of the article relate to? wasnt it a british minister?

        205 was the official speed record not the "top speed hit"

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