Buckeye Bullet 3 Targets LSR This Summer

A partnership between Venturi Automobiles of Monaco and engineering students at  Ohio State University will attempt to set the land speed record for an electric car at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah this summer. The car, known as the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3, or VBB3 for short, has been ready to go for some time, but conditions on the salt flats have been unfavorable the past few years.

Buckeye Bullet 3

A prior version of the car, the VBB2.5, holds the current world record for a battery powered car. It went 307 mph in 2010. What was remarkable about that car is that it had “only” 800 horsepower available to push its sleek, aerodynamic body down the salt. The VBB3 will make its assault on the record with a staggering 3000 horsepower on tap. It has a theoretical top speed of 372 miles per hour.

“It’s very exciting,” lead project engineer Delphine Biscaye tells CNN. “The speed, for sure, is like nothing else on Earth.” But setting a new land speed record is only part of the reason for doing this, she says. The main purpose it to create new technologies that will make electric cars more competitive in the marketplace in the future.

It is also an excellent learning experience for the many Ohio State engineering students who have participated in the project over the years. “All the knowledge we have learned from this project and the testing we’ve done with VBB-3 is now used by engineers in the industry that are doing production cars,” Biscaye says.

The partnership has also allowed Venturi Automotive to become directly involved in Formula E racing. “The knowledge we’ve gained from this project is being used on the Formula E project,” Biscaye says enthusiastically. “In Formula E, we are a manufacturer this year, providing the powertrain.”

Ohio State graduates who participated in the Buckeye Bullet program are now employed by some of the world’s largest and best known car companies. Some are even working at NASA, building electric vehicles for use on other planets. “Most of the students that worked on the VBB-3 project are now working in the industry, for the likes of Ford, NASA and other companies, doing batteries and working on the future,” the French engineer says. “We are working with a lot of local companies. It’s exciting to see and the people of Monaco are showing real interest in our project, because it’s not only a land speed project but also an electric and green ambition.”

Venturi’s motto is “Powered by Innovation.” That’s appropriate, Biscaye says. “It’s not only the world of motorsport that is interested in our project. People everywhere see the importance of this vehicle for research and the development of electric vehicles.” Hopefully, the salt will be kind to the team this summer and reward all its hard work with a new land speed record.

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.