BYU Sets EV Land Speed Record

BYU speed record team

For the past 10 years, engineering students at Brigham Young University have been bringing their battery powered race car – Electric Blue – to the Bonneville Salt Flats to compete for top speed honors. In all, more than 130 students have been involved in designing and building the car, which competes in the under 500 kilogram (1,100 lbs) category for land speed racing, and the team finally broke the 200 MPH broke during their latest attempt, reports Electric AutoSport.

Three years ago, Electric Blue set a land speed record for its class of 155.8 miles per hour. But this year, after a lot of hard work and modifications, the car smashed that record by more than 50 mph, topping out at 204.9. Kelly Hales, BYU student and team captain says “When we set the record three years ago we felt like we left a lot on the table. On paper we thought we could get 200 mph but we never had the conditions just right—until now.” Other electric cars have set higher speeds at Bonneville, notably Ohio State’s Buckeye Bulletg, but those cars compete in classes for heavier vehicles. Electric Blue is half as heavy as the Mazda Miata, which is just about the lightest production car you can buy these days.

BYU students have custom-built the lightweight carbon fiber body of Electric Blue over the past 6 years with assistance from computer programs that model wind tunnels. All that aerodynamic work, coupled with power from lithium-iron phosphate batteries, helped the car reach its record setting speed on the salt flats this year. Team captain Hales says that Electric Blue can now retire with a record that should stand for awhile.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.