Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Electric car charges up to break speed record

A British team is hoping the 52 batteries in their auto will carry it down a Nevada highway and into history books. Prepping to go 252 mph

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
2 min read
A British duo hopes to break the speed record for an electrical car using their 32-foot, banana-yellow vehicle with 52 batteries.

Designer Colin Fallows and Mark Newby, the driver, are gunning to break the current Federation Internationale d'Automobile (FIA) record of 245 mph on a Nevada highway. And what's under the hood? Try no mechanical gears, for one.

"Although a geared vehicle can achieve 100 mph in a few seconds, its rate of acceleration falls away much more quickly compared to our system," Frank Griffith, a member of the design team for the "ABB E-motion" car, said in a statement. "This one will continue to accelerate even past the 300 mph mark, provided sufficient battery power is available."

The team had been hoping to go for the record on Thursday. Windy conditions and mechanical problems, however, forced a delay until Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The Federation Internationale d'Automobile--a motor sports ruling organization--will monitor and certify the results. The ABB E-motion will need to perform two runs at more than 252 mph over a distance of at least 0.622 miles, or 1 kilometer.

In past tests, this charged-up flying yellow banana reached 146 mph within 1,000 yards, or 914 meters.

"With that sort of performance, we're confident that our car will easily beat the existing electric car land speed record," Newby said in a statement.

The car was built using equipment from ABB, the Switzerland-based electrical engineering company that is also sponsoring the project. Acceleration is controlled by variable speed drives that regulate two 50-horsepower electric motors. These motors combined generate 500bhp, or brake horsepower, similar to the performance of a new 7.0-liter, V8 engine Chevrolet Corvette.

The motors are powered by 52 lead acid batteries that generate 600V of direct current juice.

Gentlemen, start your engines.