Team Gives Up Trying to Break Speed Record with Electric Car

Team Gives Up Trying to Break Speed Record with Electric Car

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A British team gave up its attempt Saturday to establish a new speed record for an electric-powered car that wouldn't start for a third morning in a row along a stretch of highway in eastern Nevada.

The "e practice run in the Nevada desert about 120 miles west of Salt Lake City, but then ran into a series of baffling electrical problems that keep it from firing up for the record attempt.

British driver Mark Newby, and the car's chief technician Colin Fallows, a retired Royal Air Force propulsion technician, said they planned to return a year from now to renew a bid to top 300 mph in a battery-powered vehicle.

Engineers working around the clock have been able to start the car in a warm garage, but it has been shorting out on the race course in the cool mornings after being towed on a flatbed truck to a remote stretch of Route 93A about 38 miles south of West Wendover, Nev., a small casino town just across the Utah state line.

First they blamed a battery problem, then condensation inside a drive controller, which delivers battery power to the car's electric motors. On Saturday another problem surfaced -- a power spike that shut down a circuit board governing the controller unit. That unit sits in the nose cone of the 34-foot-long yellow car.

"The big juice is not getting to the drive wheels," team manager Malcom Pittwood said Saturday.

Insurance that the team took out and a permit to use a 7.2-mile stretch of state highway both expired on Saturday.

The team was trying to eclipse the record for an electric car weighing more than 2,200 pounds by using a vehicle with 52 batteries and no mechanical gears.

Engineers for "e industrial motors and robots that supplied parts for the car, haven't been able to isolate the electrical gremlins or fix them.

ABB supplied a pair of industrial motors for the car that can be overworked for brief intervals turn out 500 horsepower -- as much power as a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette with a 7-liter, V8 engine. But getting power to those motors has proved troublesome.

The team had a permit good until Saturday to commandeer Route 93A for the bid to break 300 mph -- which would shatter the old mark of 245 mph, set by an American team in 1999 using a similarly streamlined car powered by thousands of "AA" batteries.

That record was set on Utah's nearby Bonneville Salt Flats, which are too wet at this time of year for speed racing.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast