Topping 307 mph is an amazing feat in any vehicle. It’s even more so when the vehicle in question is a student-built electric vehicle.
The Venturi Buckeye Bullet built by students at Ohio State University achieved an average speed of 307.7 mph during a two-run pass at the Bonneville Salt Flats on Tuesday.
The Bullet, built by student engineers at Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research with help from Monaco-based boutique EV manufacturer Venturi, started its run for the record Monday when professional driver Roger Schroer hit a new record of 291 mph. He broke it the following day when he hit an average of 307.7 mph during two back-to-back runs, but the team called off further runs after the Bullet’s clutch went kaput.
The time must be ratified by the rules-makers at the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. But Dave Petrali, chief steward for U.S. Auto Club and an FIA timer, said there is no doubt the previous record of 245.5 mph, set in 1999 by Pat Rummerfield at the wheel of White Lightning, fell.
The EV is version 2.5 of the original Buckeye Bullet, whose 314.9 mph run in 2004 didn’t meet the FIA specs for a world record run. Version 2 was powered by hydrogen fuel cells and set the land speed record for a fuel cell vehicle at 302.877 in September 2009.
It took eleven months for the team to swap Bullet 2’s Ballard fuel cell for lithium-ion batteries from A123 Systems. The team is mum on details about the battery pack in Venturi Buckeye Bullet V 2.5, but CAR says it’s capable of providing instantaneous power of more than 600 kW. The pack reportedly uses 1,600 cells. Only the power source has been changed — the body, chassis and electric traction system are all the same as the speeding Bullet’s previous incarnation.
While the new record has yet to receive FIA certification, that isn’t stopping us from certifying the Bullet’s awesomeness.
Photos: Venturi. Video: BuckeyeBullet2 / YouTube
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At speed on the salt.
The team behind the car, literally and figuratively.
Video of last year’s run, just to show you what the car looks like in action. Still no video of this year’s run…