As they have for the past several years, the kids from Ohio State University made the trek out to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah this month to see how fast they could go without emitting any pollutants. The Buckeye Bullet has always been electrically driven, but in past years the juice for the motors was provided by hydrogen fuel cells. In 2009, a fuel cell-powered Bullet set an FIA two-way land speed record of 300.992 miles per hour. This year, OSU has teamed up with Venturi, the Monaco-based maker of very few electric vehicles, and transformed the Buckeye Bullet 2 into a test mule for an all-new 2011 car.
The fuel cells have now been replaced by lithium-ion batteries from A123 Systems and, after several days of aborted runs and wind-storms, the team finally got in two clean passes Monday afternoon. On the first run, the Bullet traversed the flying mile at 286 miles per hour. After repacking the parachute and turning the car around, the students watched as the car sped by in the opposite direction at 297 mph for a two-way average of 291 mph and, yet again, a new battery-powered vehicle record.