ABB, e=motion team cancel electric car land speed record attempt

Wendover, NV—ABB reports that the U.K.-based e=motion team has abandoned its recent attempt to break the world land-speed record for an electric car.

By Control Engineering Staff May 11, 2005

Wendover, NV— ABB reports that the U.K.-based e=motion team has abandoned its recent attempt to break the world land-speed record for an electric car. Some reports say the team hasn’t announced whether it will attempt to break the record in the future, but others indicate they’ll try again in a year.

After a successful May 4 trial run on a highway near Wendover, the car experienced a series of false starts. The vehicle is powered by ABB’s variable speed drive and two of its 50-hp motors. Technical problems arose in the car`s control circuits, reportedly preventing it from starting. A detailed investigation to find the exact nature of the fault will be done when the car returns to the U.K.

‘It’s been one of the most difficult weeks that we’ve had,’ says Colin Fallows, the ABB e=motion car’s designer. He reports there’s a problem affecting the car’s throttle control system, but that the team isn’t quite sure what it is at this point. Fallows adds the next step is to bring the car back into the workshop, and find out what went wrong.

Mark Newby, ABB e=motion’s driver, adds that, ‘To get so close, and yet be so far, is frustrating for us all, for sure.’ Newby reports the e=motion team has been working on its attempt for months, but now needs to regroup back in the U.K. Despite the setback, he adds, there is no doubt in his mind the car can and will do what its makers say it can do. “It’s safe, it’s fast, and it’s a real good piece of kit. It’s just that sometimes in motorsport, in any sport, you get circumstances that conspire against you.’

Steve Ruddell, ABB’s drives and motors manager in the U.K., adds that, ‘Projects like this one are a direct reflection of our pioneering spirit. Win or lose, it’s exciting for us to be involved with people like Colin and Mark, who are pushing the envelope of technology.’

The 32-foot (10-meter) long, mustard-yellow ABB e=motion car was trying to beat the current official Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA) electric land speed record of 245 mph (394 kph), and become the first-ever electrically powered vehicle to break the 300 mph (483 kph) barrier, under FIA rules.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news desk
jmontague@reedbusiness.com