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Ohio State Buckeye Bullet Breaks Electric Car Speed Record

The students from Ohio State University’s Center for Auto Research witnessed their electric-powered racer make history. The Buckeye Bullet 2.5 averaged 307.7 miles per hour in back-to-back runs on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, obliterating the previous record of 245.5 m.p.h., set in 1999.

Roger Schroer, the Bullet 2.5’s driver, celebrates after the 307 mile per hour run.The team is awaiting certification of its accomplishment by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body that ratifies world-record runs. A hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of the 2.5, the Buckeye Bullet 2, owns the record for its propulsion class, attaining an average speed of 302.9 m.p.h. in 2009.


To a casual E.V. enthusiast, the record might have seemed a foregone conclusion, as the 1999 mark was established by a racer running nickel-metal hydride batteries, which pack lower energy density than the lithium-ion unit powering the Buckeye Bullet 2.5. However, David Cooke, Ohio State’s team manager, noted in a telephone interview that the original Bullet also ran nickel-metal hydride batteries in 2004 when its car hit 314.9 m.p.h. (That run was rejected by the F.I.A.)
The record might have been broken years earlier, but electric cars are an obscure category in auto racing and few are interested in developing a battery-powered streamliner when piston-driven cars go much faster, said Dave Petrali, chief steward for U.S. Auto Club and a timer for the international motorsports body, the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile.

"It takes a lot of power and a huge battery pack" for an electric car to attain high speeds, he said.

It could take a few weeks for the FIA to ratify the Buckeye Bullet's record. But there was no doubt it broke the previous record, set in 1999 by Pat Rummerfield, who conceded defeat and congratulated the Buckeye team, Petrali said.

A professional driver drove the Buckeye Bullet on runs Monday and yesterday. Track sensors measured the vehicle's speed. The fastest run at 307.905 mph yesterday was an average of back-and-forth runs.
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