3000-HP Venturi Electric Car At Bonneville: Land Speed Record In One Class, Prior Title Still Stands (UPDATED)


Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3

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With its new "Ludicrous" mode, the Tesla Model S P85D can do 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. But it's not the fastest electric car around, not by a long shot.

In 2010, the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5  (VBB-2.5) streamliner set a land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, reaching more than 300 mph.

This year its creators--France's Venturi Automobiles and Ohio State University--are back for another go with an improved design.

SEE ALSO: At 307 MPH, Ohio-Built Electric Racer Is Anything But Slow (Aug 2010)

UPDATE: The article below was published on July 21, 2015. On August 27, Venturi sent out a statement noting that its new VBB-3 streamliner had achieved a new Land Speed Record (subject to official certification) for one-mile speed in an electric car.

That record was 240.320 mph (386.757 kph).

Very wet conditions on the Bonneville Salt Flats caused the cancellation of Bonneville Speed Week, which was to have been held August 8-14. A heavy rainstorm on August 7 did significant damage to the surface, and the Venturi team couldn't even set up a temporary building until the week of August 15.

Testing didn't start until August 19, and wet, bumpy conditions in parts of its truncated 10-mile length produced vibrations and shaking in the VBB-3 that ultimately disrupted its electric system. The car's sole record run on August 21 was ended when when the front cooling tank was pierced on the return leg.

Roger Schroer, who drove the VBB-3, said, "In eleven years here I have never driven on such a difficult track. The car was sliding on the surface from one side to the other due to soft spots and bumps."

With the safety of its driver the primary concern, the Venturi team withdrew without having beaten its prior overall World Land Speed Record record this year.

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3

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The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 (VBB-3) boasts 3,000 horsepower, and the team wants to see it reach 600 kph (373 mph) this August.

Billed as the world's most powerful electric car, VBB-3 will have to exceed the land-speed record set by its predecessor five years ago.

The record currently stands at an average 307.6 mph, and was set by Ohio State University Transportation Research Center test driver Roger Schroer--who will pilot VBB-3 this year.

Official records use an average of runs in both directions. In 2010, Schroer actually hit a top speed of 320 mph in one direction.

RELATED: Hybrids Are Slow? 185 MPH Bonneville Jetta Says Otherwise (Aug 2012)

The new car's 3,000 hp is a significant improvement over the previous version's 800 hp.

Whereas the VBB-2.5 iteration that set the land speed record was front-wheel drive, VBB-3 will benefit from all-wheel drive.

The roughly 37-foot-long car features a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb composite tub chassis, with carbon-fiber bodywork.

The car is nicknamed "Jamais Contente" (Never Satisfied), in honor of Camille Jenatzy and his historic electric car of the same name.

On April 29, 1899, Jenatzy broke the 100-kph (62 mph) barrier for land vehicles in Jamais Contente.

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5

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That car's descendent has actually been ready for a record attempt since 2013, but circumstances outside the team's control have kept it from running.

During summer 2013 and 2014, heavy storms flooded the Bonneville Salt Flats, making record attempts impossible.

MORE: Electric Cars Take Top Two Spots At Pikes Peak Hill-Climb Race

While there is a possibility similar conditions will spoil record runs this year, Venturi and Ohio State are still planning to make the trek to Utah.

The VBB-3 electric car will be unveiled on the first day of the annual Speed Week event, August 8.

Its record attempts will take place August 17-21.

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