No Smoke No Poke

Jeepers Creepers it’s fast! Chris Harris drives an 850bhp Electric Race Car

11th November 2013 | BY Adam

We’re not just diesel heads here at NSNP and as much as we love our oil burners, there’s the odd alternative fuel source car that comes along from time to time that really knocks our socks off. Needless to say, our ears pricked up when we heard about the Drayson B12/69EV - an electric Le Mans style racer putting out 850bhp and 4000NM (!) torque and we found ourselves searching for the nearest plug socket and making space in the garage.

Hit the jump for more…


Joking aside, we find ourselves torn when it comes to electric vehicles with our opinions differing hugely depending on in which marketplace they exist. For road going applications we’re not sure the technology is at the stage where we’d like to live with a ‘leccy car day in, day out. The lack of charging points, limited range and cost of household electricity are cons which outweigh the pros of owning a family sized RC car. With clean diesel technology ever improving, we’re yet to hear an argument to convince us it’s not the best trade off of fuel efficiency and cost for a daily car. Of course, not everybody needs a diesel for practical reasons because of their mileage and driving requirements - but that’s a discussion for another day.

However in race applications where electric car technology can be stress tested, developed and showcased in exciting new ways, we’re totally sold.

The Drayson B12/69EV started life as a B10 Le Mans prototype car, powered by a 5.5l bio-fuelled Judd engine. With the goal of producing the world’s fastest electric racing car and showcasing the best technology in the electric car industry, Drayson Racing Technologies set about switching the fuel source from pump to plug socket.

The specs are nothing short of epic. 850bhp, 4000NM torque, 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds and 0-100mph in 5 seconds dead. The car produces zero emissions, none, zip, nada. So you can feel perfectly Zen whilst ripping around the track knowing you’re not punching holes in the O-zone layer each time you put your foot down. The car is being used to develop drivetrain technologies and systems to be used in a wide variety of future projects including both road and race.

The LMP car is driven by a 200kW axial flux motor powered by 30kWh Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries and the transmission is a split drive with a single ratio that can be changed to suit each track. The book top speed is 320kph (199mph) but over a measured mile the Drayson B12/69EV clocked a 204.185mph. That makes it the fastest sub-999kg electric car in the world. A large rear wing,  rear gurney and drive planes offer a 30% drag reduction to keep the car as slippery as possible.

As Drayson Racing Technologies are an R&D company, they ensured the B12/69EV met all of the motorsport electric drivetrain requirements. But amazingly, they’ve also manufactured the car to meet all of the road safety requirements too, which means that all of the technology being tested is 100% applicable to road going applications. Clever safety features like the batteries discharging immediately on impact go a long way in ensuring driver safety.

Talking of batteries, as with all electric cars today it’s batteries that are the limiting factor and the B12/69EV will run for 15 minutes before you have to bring it in to the pits and get it on charge, so don’t expect to see this in the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race any time soon. Coils positioned in the bottom of the car begin recharging the batteries as it is drive over wireless pads placed on the pit floor, the same technology you’ve got in your new Nokia.

Whilst many manufacturers wouldn’t have even begun a project like this with those figures, the Drayson team focussed their efforts on using the car for short attack runs like hill-climb. Continuing their R&D in a competitive environment and showing up a few of the well established big boys along the way.

So what do you make of Electric race cars? Will the drama of racing a big  tuned V8 be taken away by these silent tyre slayers?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

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