A British-built sports car called Nemesis is to attempt to break the UK electric car land speed record later this month, currently held by the Bluebird Electric.
The Nemesis, the brainchild of Dale Vince, the founder of green electricity firm Ecotricity, will attempt to set a new record at Elvington Airfield near York on September 27, 2012.
To be driven by Gloucester-based racing-car driver Nick Ponting, the Nemesis has an estimated top speed of 200 mph-which means it should be able to smash the current record of 137 mph set by Don Wales, the grandson of legendary racer, Sir Malcolm Campbell.
The car will be powered entirely by Ecotricity’s own 100 per cent renewable electricity generated by the company’s network of 53 windmills around the UK.
Nemesis’ driver, Ponting received his race licence at 14 and the now 21-year-old has experience across a range of racing cars from Formula BMWs to Formula Fords.
Mr Vince said: “We built the ‘Nemesis’ to smash the stereotype of electric cars as something Noddy would drive – slow, boring, not cool.
“But also to stimulate thought and debate about how we’ll be getting around when the world runs out of oil. And what we’ve been able to demonstrate is that wind-powered cars are not just feasible, but can be a load of fun.
“We made a number of modifications to the road-legal specification of the car to give it more down-force at higher-speed. We’re now quietly confident we’ll break the record.”
Nemesis was designed and built in less than two years by a team of leading British motorsport engineers in Norfolk. The car has already proven that it is capable of a 0-100mph sprint in just 8.5 seconds. On paper the electric motor is capable of topping 200mph, although real-world conditions – such as contending with aerodynamic lift needed to be addressed in converting the car from road-legal before they could tackle the record.
Ponting said: “There was certainly an element of ‘stepping into the unknown’ when we did the test-runs in July after the Nemesis had undergone a range of modifications from its normal road-legal specification.
"I've done wheel-to-wheel single-seater racing in excess of 150mph, which is quite exciting at times, but the Nemesis has been very impressive in testing and phenomenally quick.
“There were still a few downforce issues as we built up the pace in the test-runs, but we’ve sorted those out and we’re now ready to take on the record.”
The Motor Sports Association adjudicate the record attempt when it takes place this month.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
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