An attempt to smash the UK's electric vehicle land speed record on Saturday reportedly ended in disaster as the Bluebird was badly damaged following an impact with a pothole. Foul weather limited visibility and, according to reports, a pothole, led to the near-catastrophic incident.

Piloted by Joseph Wales, the electric Bluebird set out to break the UK's existing 137-miles-per-hour electric vehicle speed record set back in 2000, but Mother Nature put Wales' skills to the test. The first leg of the Bluebird's trial run at Pendine Sands in Wales went as planned, but the return leg didn't.

Limited visibility and slippery conditions caused the Bluebird to slide sidewards at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The electric vehicle dipped and then bounced after hitting a pothole in the sand. This up-and-down motion damaged the prototype's bodywork, steering components and suspension and ended any chance of Wales completing a run.

Of the failed attempt, Don Wales, father of driver Joseph Wales, explained, "When you can't see the ground in front of you for 60 meters or 70 meters you're in trouble before you've seen it." However, Don Wales remains an optimistic man, stating "This really is the start of a two or three-year campaign with a target of 500 mph." Surely Wales realizes that 500 mph is more than a stone's throw away from 137, right?


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      Chris M
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, that illustrates why most Land Speed Records are set at the Bonneville salt flats. It's huge, almost perfectly level, repaves itself every year during the winter rainy season, and of course has no potholes. For electrics, the thin air at that high altitude is an advantage.
      alan
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is it me, or is the word 'disaster' a bit strong? I thought I was going to read that the guy was killed, or at least in a coma.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Eliica did 370 km/h already in 2004, and that with a street legal Godzilla-limo design. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliica
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 4 Years Ago
      Autoblog's journalism ends in disaster.. ;]
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Is it me, or is the word 'disaster' a bit strong?" I agree, journalists always want the most spectacular headlines and often go to great lengths to distort the truth to do so. This one is far from the worst.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One does not need a vehicle body as aero as this design if all that is targeted is around 150 mph. Just a moments glance would suggest that this team is looking down the road to a goal speed much more like 3-400 mph than 137 mph. Heck, the 2011 Stanford University Solar Car Challenge design appears to be capable of almost 100 mph, and this is running totally on direct solar power !
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      Existing electric land speed record is 307mph by Ohio State U's Buckeye Bullet. http://engineering.osu.edu/news/?p=1473 The must be talking about the speed record on this beach, and I guess it is much harder to get to high speeds on beach sand.
        paulwesterberg
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        This is the UK record which is much harder because the smaller land mass has few places that are suitable for high speed racing.
      HVH20
      • 4 Years Ago
      Video or it didnt happen.
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @HVH20
        Um, I don't have a video of the Wright brothers flight. I knew it was just a conspiracy!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The land speed record in the UK is 137 mph? I've got video from 5 years ago of an electric streamliner built by college students in the US that went 317 mph on AA batteries.
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hell boy!That ain't nuttin'! I got's me a Hummer that travelled at more'n 500mph! ' Ah had that faithful with me on board VC-25A during operation Fluoride. Yours. Brigadier General Jack (mad) D. Ripper, (retired) United States Air Force (Former) Commander Burpelson Air Force Base. Tea Party Advisor (hon) to the Governor of Texas.
      Timo
      • 4 Years Ago
      137mph sounds low. It is easy for street-legal cars to go above that number. Tesla Roadster electrically limited top speed is 125mph, and something like Nemesis EV can easily beat that. I'm pretty darn sure that record has been already broken by someone in UK soil, by some electric dragster or something.
    • Load More Comments