While the likes of Tesla continue to grab the headlines with regards to electric sports vehicles, it is being left to UK operation Drayson Racing Technologies to try and smash the 40 year electric vehicle land speed record. The company, run by former UK government cabinet minister Lord Drayson, is starting to push itself into the headlines, having also been the first team to sign up for the inaugural Formula E championship.
If the company, as expected, breaks the existing world record that was set by Battery Box General Electric in the USA back in 1974, this will certainly be a major feather in the cap for the UK electric vehicle industry.
Date and location
The date is the 25 June 2013, and the location is the RAF Elvington air fighter base in Yorkshire, which has a very useful 3 km run away that Drayson Racing Technologies will utilise to the full. While the challenge has been covered in the press sporadically over the last few months it will certainly catch the headlines as we approach D-day. The fact that this record has remained intact for nearly 40 years is absolutely amazing and at 282 kilometres per hour it is certainly a challenge which will test even the modern day electric vehicle.
Why has the record remained intact for nearly 40 years?
There are very few world records which remain intact 40 years later although this particular electric vehicle land speed challenge has certainly been taxing the minds and wallets of electric vehicle entrepreneurs over the years. As Lord Drayson suggested, it is not just the fact that the vehicle will need to accelerate beyond 282 km/h but the fact that with a vehicle under one ton in weight this is also a challenge from an engineering angle.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "As the motor racing world continues to absorb the introduction of electric vehicles, this week it was confirmed that Drayson Racing Technologies is the first team to sign up for the Formula E Championship. Initially the company will help to develop a custom racing car for 2014, in conjunction with Spark Racing Technology and McLaren, with Formula E Holdings supplying these to the racing teams."
You have to weigh up the acceleration capacity of the vehicle, the time it takes to accelerate, the weight of the vehicle, and above all the level of safety afforded to those driving this particular car. While there are few companies who would step up to the mark, there is no doubt that Drayson Racing Technologies is on the verge of making a major name for itself in the world of electric vehicles and high-speed electric vehicles at that.
Showcasing new electric vehicle technology
The vehicle being used is a low drag version of the electric Le-Mans prototype known as the Drayson B12 69/EV. This is a challenge where every ounce of efficiency is needed, where every element of drag needs to be reduced and where acceleration, aerodynamics and skilful driving will come to the fore. We very often forget the driver in this particular type of situation with most of the focus centred entirely on the technology and hopes for the adapted Drayson B12 69/EV – but would you have the nerve to drive it?
To those who do not follow the electric vehicle market this land speed challenge may well be seen as a "rich man's dream" but the reality is that it is the perfect way to showcase the latest electric vehicle technology. The fact that the record remains intact after nearly 40 years is a challenge in itself, the negative press comment associated with EV market of late makes the challenge more thought-provoking and perhaps with all of the PR and Internet coverage, this could be a big steppingstone for the electric vehicle market as a whole.
When those who do not have a particular interest in the electric vehicle market look towards Formula E and the planned attempt to beat the current electric vehicle land speed record, it looks as though it is a type of game for rich business people. However you could not be further from the truth. Because Formula E is a natural progression for the electric vehicle market it offers the perfect opportunity to showcase the latest technology.
The reality is that this land speed challenge will attract the attention of motoring magazines around the world, it will splashed the term "electric vehicle"across every website with an interest in technology or motoring and could take the electric vehicle market into new speed territory. We can only hope that Drayson Racing Technologies, based near Oxford in the UK, has its figures right, its manufacturing spot on and will blow away the existing record. Whatever you do, don't blink on the day of the event!