Electric vehicles look to be the talk of this year’s speed trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Earlier this year Paul Thede set a speed record for riding his Lightning superbike at a blazing 219 miles per hour. Now, Brigham Young University officials have announced that their student-built electric car has set another Bonneville speed record.
The car, nicknamed “Electric Blue” was built by BYU engineering students and was competing in the Streamliner E1 class. Streamliner cars are typically long, low to the ground, slender and bullet-shaped. The E1 class also has a weight limit of less than 1,100 pounds. Because electric cars rely on heavy batteries, engineering a speedy vehicle at such a light weight is very difficult. That’s why there were no prior certified speed runs for this class, although unofficial standards reached the 130s.
The BYU team had no problem busting the 130 MPH barrier. Their two runs had an average speed of 155.8 MPH with one of the runs clocking in at blazing 175 MPH.
More than 130 BYU students have contributed to the creation of the racer over the seven years of the project. Students custom-built the lightweight carbon fiber body after modeling it on a wind tunnel program on a computer. The aerodynamic performance and lithium iron phosphate batteries helped the car reach its high speeds.