Michelin shares in electric land speed record

26th June 2013

A British racing team entered the record books when it broke the land speed record for lightweight electric cars.

Drayson Racing Technologies partnered with Michelin as its official tyre partner when it took to the RAF Elvington racetrack in North Yorkshire.

The last speed record for an electric car was set in 1974, when Battery Box Electric reached a speed of 175 miles per hour. But Drayson Racing's Lola B12 69/EV vehicle trumped that when it reached a top speed of 204.2 miles per hour.

Behind the wheel was the firm's chief executive, Lord Drayson, who wanted to demonstrate what potential the electric vehicle has by today's standards. He set the record in the UK to prove that the country is at the top for development and manufacturing of electric vehicles.

The reason why the previous record remained unbeaten for so long was due to the technical difficulties behind running an electric vehicle at a consistent and reliable speed when it weighs less than 1,000 kilograms.

Michelin partnered with the team in the run up to the 2014/2015 Federation Internationale de l'Automobile's (FIA) Formula E season, which included the successful attempt to beat the FIA World Electric Land Speed Record.

Talking about the new record, Lord Drayson said: "It is not the outright speed of 203mph that is most impressive about this record, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1,000 kg electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile. However I’ve got a great team and world-class partners, such as QualcommHalo, Michelin, Multimatic and Cosworth."

Drayson Racing's car had to have the engine adapted so that it could even qualify for the record, so it replaced its bio-ethanol fuel engine with a 20 kilowatt hour battery.

Additionally, to ensure the speed of the vehicle, the chassis was built out of carbon fibre which is known to reduce air friction.

The Oxfordshire-based team was set up in 2007 by the then minister to the Labour government Paul Drayson, with an aim of creating more sustainable technology for automobiles and especially in motorsports.