British Car Breaks Electric Land Speed Record

Frazer Maude, Sky News Reporter
British Car Breaks Electric Land Speed Record

A 'hypercar' built by a British company has broken the electric land speed record that has stood for nearly four decades.

Drayson Racing's car reached a top speed of 204.2mph on the 1.86-mile runway at RAF Elvington, Yorkshire.

Driven by entrepreneur and former UK science minister Lord Drayson, it beat the previous record by around 40mph.

"This is the future," he told Sky News after climbing out of the cockpit.

Earlier, he said: "It's not the outright speed that's impressive about this record attempt but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1,000kg electric vehicle to such a high speed and sustaining that speed over a measured mile before stopping safely, all within a relatively short distance, then turning round and doing it again within an hour.

"It's a tremendous technical challenge but we believe it's about time someone moved this record on to demonstrate just how far electric vehicle (EV) technology has come."

The car, known as the Drayson B12 69/EV, is based on the Lola LMP1 which competes at Le Mans in the famous 24-hour race.

Its V10 Judd engines have been removed and replaced with two huge A123 battery units connected to electric motors.

The racer has a carbon chassis and weighs just 1,095kg without the driver.

The previous electric land speed record was set in 1974 when Battery Box General Electric raced on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

To beat it, Oxford-based Drayson Racing had to record two runs within an hour, hoping for an average of over 175mph. 

Lord Drayson's first run clocked over 200mph on the team's telemetry but a failure with the official timing beacons meant he had to run again.

He reached 203.75mph on his next attempt before clocking 205mph with the wind behind him on his final run.

One of the VIP guests who watched Lord Drayson hurtle into the record books was Google co-founder Eric Schmidt, who described the car as a "statement of British innovation".

"We figure that in a number of decades all cars will be electric and in order to do that there have to be challenges," he said.

"You have to have the best technology and learn from innovation and that's something the British are very good at."

The record attempt comes a year before the launch of the FIA Formula E Championship, which will see 20 drivers compete on tracks in 10 cities around the world.

The cars will accelerate from 0-100kmh (62mph) in three seconds and have a maximum speed of 220kmh (137mph).

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