Buckeye Bullet 2.5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

It isn't easy, but work to engineer, design and develop the third version of the Buckeye Bullet capable of breaking past 400 miles per hour is underway. The Ohio State University (OSU) team behind the Buckeye Bullet has revealed that version 3.0 is to be a fresh design that relies on the power of batteries alone to rocket the streamlined vehicle to its blazing top speed.

OSU says version 3.0 will feature a body and fin shape based on aerodynamic simulations conducted at the Ohio Supercomputer Center. Other drag-reducing tweaks – such as driver position and strategic placement of wind deflectors – are currently under consideration. Version 3.0 will be constructed and tested during OSU's 2011-2012 academic year. The OSU team aims to break past the 400-mph mark by the end of 2012 and, in the process, shatter its own electric land speed records.

In 2004, the nickel-metal hydride battery-powered Buckeye Bullet version 1.0 zoomed its way into the record books by hitting 314 mph. Hydrogen fuel cells were employed in the disappointing version 2.0, but version 2.5 of the Buckeye Bullet brought a return to the battery-only setup, which sizzled down the salt flats to a top speed of 307.7 mph. Is 400 mph too ambitious? Looks like we'll find out in 2012.

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