, 27 September 2012
A battery-powered car designed to "smash the boring, Noddy stereotype of the green car" broke the UK electric land speed record on Thursday.
The Nemesis, a Lotus Exige modified by utility company Ecotricity, reached an average speed of 151mph near York today. It was driven by 21-year-old Nick Ponting, who started racing go-karts at the age of 12, and first broke the record by hitting 148mph earlier today at Elvington airfield in North Yorkshire.
The previous record, of 137mph, was set by the grandson of racing legend Sir Malcolm Campbell, Don Wales, driving a Bluebird Electric in 2000. Wales attempted to break his own record in August 2011 but failed after the car hit a pothole on a beach in Wales.
Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity, said the company had built the Nemesis 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."
Hypothetically, the car should be able to achieve 200mph, but real-world conditions reduce that considerably. The car is capable of travelling up to 150 miles between charges, slightly more than most consumer electric cars in the UK, such as the Nissan Leaf, which have a battery range of around 110 miles.
More than 1,700 electric cars have been registered since the launch of a government grant scheme in January 2011 that gives buyers up to £5,000 off the cost of a new electric or hybrid plug-in car.
The Motor Sports Association said it would need to ratify the record before it could be officially declared, which could take several weeks.