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A Skeptical Engineer
OSU Buckeye Bullet Hits 341 mph

OSU Buckeye Bullet Hits 341 mph

The all-electric Venture Buckeye Bullet 3, a student engineering project at Ohio State University, set a new world’s land speed record for electric vehicles of 341.4 mph, breaking the previous record of 307.5 mph set in 2010 by the same team. The car actually hit a top speed of 358 mph on one of its runs, but they have to take the average of two runs, one in the opposite direction of the other, as per the rules set by the Federation Internationale de ‘Automobile (FIA), the France-based organization that governs motorsports and speed records for cars. In fact, the record must still be certified by the FIA, which checks to see all the rules were followed.

The Bullet set the record at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, and this year they had perfect conditions: dry, compacted salt and clear skies. Attempts at setting a record the last three years were stymied by bad weather and track conditions.

The car’s two custom electric motors from Venturi Automobiles pulled over two megawatts of power from a lithium-ion battery pack developed by A123 Systems. The driver was Roger Schroer from the Ohio State-affiliated Transportation Research Center, an independent proving ground and vehicle testing organization in East Liberty, Ohio.

OSU students have been building high-speed electric cars for 22 years. In 2004, for example, the Bullet 1 used metal hydride batteries to set a national land speed record of 315 mph. Then in 2009, the Bullet 2 used a hydrogen fuel cell to set an international record of 303 mph.

Go Buckeyes! Congratulations, and I can’t wait to see what you can do next year.


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