SALT LAKE CITY – A team of Ohio State University students that set out to build the fastest electric car on the planet is heading home with a broken clutch and big grins.
The Buckeye Bullet was clocked on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats at speeds averaging 307 mph, which could set a new record if it is verified by the governing body of motorsports. The old record for an electric car was 246 mph.
“We’ve been at this for 16 years now and have our newest lithium-ion powered vehicle out,” team manager David Cooke said by cell phone from the salt flats, about 100 miles west of Salt Lake City. “Our vehicle was capable of going much faster.”
The effort to reach higher speeds ended after three runs Tuesday, when a clutch that connects the powerful motor to a gearbox ripped apart. The team tried to install a new clutch overnight but couldn’t get the old one off. Test runs started Monday.
The car was designed by Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, which is refining technology for electric cars of the future.
A professional driver drove the Buckeye Bullet on runs Monday and Tuesday. Track sensors measured the vehicle’s speed. The fastest run at 307.905 mph on Tuesday was an average of back-and-forth runs.