By Nick Miles
It seems every few months, an electric car breaks a new speed record, and the latest has been spectacularly broken by Drayson Racing Technologies.
Its Lola B12 69/EV car hit a top speed of 204.2mph (328.6km/h) at a racetrack at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire, driven by the CEO of the company, Lord Drayson.
A former minister in the Labour government of the UK, Lord Paul Drayson founded Drayson Racing in 2007. Since then the firm has worked with myriad other companies to develop sustainable auto technologies and publicises its efforts mainly through racing competitions.
To qualify for an attempt on the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA) world electric land speed record, Drayson had to make its vehicle lighter than 1,000kg (2,204lb) without the driver, so it adapted a Le Mans Series car it had previously designed that had a bio-ethanol fuel engine, and replaced this with a light 20 kw/hr, 850 horsepower battery, and also adapted the chassis, which is made out of recycled carbon fibre, to minimise air friction.
“What it, I hope, shows to people is just what the future potential of electric cars is,” Lord Drayson said proudly to the BBC shortly after his record-breaking time was confirmed.
“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. And 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.”
Drayson Racing’s attention will now be focused on the launch of the FIA’s Formula E championship, which is due to begin in September next year.
As we mentioned in a previous article, London will host the first Formula E electric car race before it moves to the streets of Rome, Miami, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro and three other locations around the world. Summer hasn’t even really started yet, but I for one am now looking very forward to the excitement in store this autumn!