New electric car world speed record set by Drayson Racing, 204.2mph on batteries

A new world record has been set by an electric car designed by Drayson Racing. Managing a top speed of 204.2mph at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire, the Lola B12 69/EV is now the fastest electric car in the world.

Previous records were held by the General Electric Battery Box, which managed 175mph back in 1974. Chief executive Lord Drayson of Drayson Racing was driving the car when it set the record.

Motorsport looks to be the next outlet for car manufacturers to push electric cars. Nissan, for example, has just unveiled the Zeod RC which uses both electric and petrol power. Nissan is hoping to enter the Zeod RC into next year's Le Mans 24 hour race.

Lord Drayson was previously a Labour minister but now heads up the small racing firm based in Oxford, where it aims to build new sustainable automotive technologies.

The Lola B12 69/EV is actually an adapted Le Mans car, which uses things like recycled carbon fibre to save on weight. The whole vehicle has a dry weight of less than 1000kg.

Incredibly the 20 kilowatt hour battery in the vehicle offered up as much as 850 horsepower. This is nearly as much as McLaren's new P1 hybrid super car, which uses both a petrol and electric motor.

"Obviously this is a very special racing car, but by setting this new world record here in Britain we say two things," said Drayson.

"One, it is a pointer to the future - the technology that we developed for this car will filter down to the cars we use every day. 

"And secondly it's a message about how here in the UK we're a world leader with this technology. We've led motorsport engineering, now we're also leading with electric motorsport engineering."

So important was Drayson Racing's effort that Google's own Eric Schmidt had been spending time with the team ahead of its world record run. 

"Google has a very active R&D programme with regard to electric vehicle technology so it's great that one of the world's leading technology companies came to our event today," Lord Drayson added.