Venturi VBB-3 Achieves Land Speed Record, Doesn’t Reach Top Speed
The quest to set the first new electric vehicle land-speed record since 2010 is ongoing. The 2014 Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 hit a one-mile average speed of 240 mph, which was good enough for a new category record, but well short its estimated top speed of 373 mph.
The attempt took place at the Bonneville Salt Flats where conditions have been difficult for the last three years or so. The long-running SpeedWeeks event was cancelled this year due to heavy rains in July, which left standing water on the track. Conditions didn’t improve much in August for VBB-3 and driver Roger Schroer. "In eleven years here I have never driven on such a difficult track,” said Schroer in a press release. “The car was sliding on the surface from one side to the other due to soft spots and bumps."
Preparations at the track started on August 15th, with speed testing beginning a few days later. Poor conditions caused by flooding meant the track was shortened from 12 to 10 miles, but even the shorter distance was still wet and bumpy in places. Initial runs were hampered by severe vibrations, causing components to rattle loose and disrupt the drivetrain. Finally, during the last attempt on the 21st, the front cooling system tank was punctured, and the team decided to pack it in and try again another day.
The Venturi Buckeye Bullet is a joint project between Venturi Automobiles in Monaco and the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research (hence ‘Buckeye’ in the name). VBB-3 is the fourth electric streamliner built by the two partners, and is powered by two electric motors that produce a combined 3,000 horsepower, making it the most powerful electric car in the world.
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Why it matters
The team hasn’t announced when or where it will make another attempt, but is confident the VBB-3 can hit its 373-mph target in better conditions. Until then, they can rest easy knowing they still retain the 2010 record of 307 mph set by the 700-horsepower VBB-2.5. That, and the Buckeyes are still defending NCAA Football National Champions.
According to the Utah Salt Flats Racing Associating, conditions are slowly improving after a few difficult years of unpredictable weather patterns. A few hours of heavy rain at the Salt Flats can ruin the surface for months, but the organization says the track could be ready for racing in September for the 2015 World of Speed weekend.
Read our full review of the 2015 Venturi VBB3 here.