Drayson Racing Technologies and the Lola Cars group have just revealed what is intended to be the fastest electric-powered racing car in the world. The Lola-Drayson B12/69EV features Drayson's brand new 4X2-640 electric drivetrain, inductive charging, composite battery power, moveable aerodynamics and electrical regenerative damping. Its four electric motors are said to deliver a whopping 850 horsepower and a top speed of around 200 mph.
In 2007, Lord Paul Drayson left the UK government and set up a business with his wife Elspeth, aimed at pioneering green technology in the harsh environment of motorsport. Drayson Racing Technologies subsequently developed a GT2 Aston Martin that ran on second generation bio-ethanol and was raced in the American Le Mans Series and the 2009 Le Mans 24-hour race. A spell as the UK government's Minister for Science and Innovation gave Lord Drayson access to data underlining the scale of the challenge presented by climate change, which served to reinforce his resolve.
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The company went on to develop a unique Le Mans Prototype (LMP) racing car with a flex-fuel Judd V10 engine which allowed the car to run on both second generation E85 bio-ethanol fuel and conventional petrol race fuel. At the Road America ALMS race in August 2010, the Lola B10/60 LMP car achieved an overall win.
Now the Drayson Racing Technologies and Lola Cars partnership has set its sights on producing the fastest electric-powered racecar to lap a circuit. Built around the current Lola LMP1 chassis, the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV was unveiled earlier this month at the UK's 2012 Low Carbon Racing Conference at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
The four axial flux Oxford YASA motors generate over 850 peak horse power to the rear wheels, taking the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV up to a top speed of 320 km/h (just shy of 200 mph) - it is said to be capable of producing more power than a petrol equivalent vehicle. Off the starting line, the electric racer is claimed to zoom from zero to 60 mph (96.56 km/h) in 3 seconds, or zero to 100 mph (160.93 km/h) in 5.1 seconds.
Drayson says that the partnership's "main aim is to prove that an electric powered LMP car can lap as fast, if not faster than a conventionally powered car and to show how exciting an 850 horsepower, 200 mph plus electric car is on track."
The car's design is centered around optimizing qualifying performance in short attack runs. The new generation Lithium Nanophosphate battery cells made exclusively by A123 Systems, and used for the first time in the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV, will only last for around 15 minutes in race mode - but at those speeds, what a 15 minutes that will be!
The batteries are recharged using a Qualcomm HaloIPT wireless induction system, where coils positioned in the floor of the vehicle start juicing the packs when placed over recharging pads in the pit garage. Safety concerns have been central to the design process, with the team ensuring that the batteries discharge on impact and that fire risks are eliminated.
The batteries and the electric motors are situated behind the driver, along with power inverters and a cooling system. The new electric racing car also has a single reduction gear linking the drive from the electric motors to the driveshafts, plus it incorporates Rhinehart inverters, new active aerodynamic features developed by Lola in conjunction with BAE Systems (the latter also responsible for developing the structural composite battery technology), and new recycled carbon fiber technology developed in house by Lola. The electronic control systems come courtesy of Cosworth, and there are Multimatic electrical regenerative dampers and Warwick Manufacturing Group recyclable body panels.
The Lola-Drayson B12/69EV will begin its track testing regime in the coming months, ahead of a planned showing at the 2013 FIA electric car championship.View gallery - 11 images