Electric car charges towards record speeds

A British team of engineers is set to take on the official land speed record for an electric powered vehicle in Nevada later today.

Prior to Thursday's planned runs, driver Mark Newby said: “All our tests and our test runs point in the direction of us being able to set a new record speed.”

In preparation for the event, the e=motion car, developed by Mr Newby and fellow UK engineer Colin Fallows, was shipped from the UK to the US last month. Powered by sophisticated variable speed motors and specially adapted drive units from ABB, the main sponsor, the 32-foot (10 meter) long, mustard-yellow car, which is shaped like a square sided pencil is expected to reach speeds of up to 300mph (483 kph). The car will try to break the current official Fédération Internationale d’Automobile (FIA) electric land speed record of 245 mph (394 kph) held by the 1999 US team using the White Lightning car.

The FIA, the world’s leading motorsports ruling body, will monitor and certify the attempt. To qualify as an official land speed record under FIA rules, the car must perform two recorded 1km (0.622 miles) runs at better than 252 mph.

However, if conditions prove unfavourable on May 5, or if the car fails to break the record, further attempts are scheduled over the following two days.

The e=motion car has already delivered spectacular acceleration during testing in the UK where it reached speeds of 146 mph (237 kph) in just 1,000 yards (914 meters) - unofficially breaking the existing 139 mph UK record for an electric vehicle.

The car has no mechanical gears – acceleration is controlled entirely by ABB variable speed drives regulating two 50hp ABB electric motors.

An earlier ABB e=motion attempt to break the record in 2004 on salt flats in Tunisia had to be abandoned due to poor surface conditions caused by unusual weather.

Visit ABB’s website www.abb.com/e=motion for updates on the team's progress.


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