Students at Brigham Young University (BYU) have been working for years to build a car with which to set a record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the E1 category (made up of electric vehicles that weigh less than 500 kilograms). Finally, after thousands of man-hours of careful planning, crafting and testing, the moment of truth had arrived. The Electric Blue Streamliner was trailered to the famous salty expanse and, after adding a couple bits of additional equipment, passed its technical inspection. Following a short initial test, it was decided that the aluminum wheels wouldn't cut it – or control it – and would need to be exchanged for hoops with a bit of rubber.
Up until now, there hadn't been a record set in their chosen category and it was decided that somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 miles per hour would be a suitable goal. With its 150 kW motor and 960 A123 batteries tucked inside the 17 foot, 2 inch-long carbon-fiber body, the slick design shouldn't have too much trouble achieving it. Indeed, with its original wheels replaced with those from a Top Fuel dragster, the qualifying run ended after achieving a perfectly fine 139 mph.
At long last, it was showtime. The driver was securely strapped in with a 7-point harness and the top hatch was latched. Slowly pulling away, he applied maximum throttle and the speed started building up. After 100 mph, the ride smoothed somewhat and hopes soared within the hearts of the proud onlookers. Sadly, misfortune was imminent. At about 170 mph, the streamliner caught a groove and started to turn. The driver tried to compensate and thought he almost had it back under control but it was not to be. Realizing the inevitable, the parachute was pulled – years of effort rolled to safely to a stop.
Hit the jump for videos of both the ill-fated attempt and the successful qualifying run. We wish the BYU School of Technology team better luck when they give it another go, perhaps next year.
[Source: Electric Blue Streamliner via DIY Electric Car]