Lord Drayson’s American Friends

Bill Dube’ and Eva Hakansson, a husband and wife battery-building and electric motorcycle-racing team, have many world records of their own, but are always happy to help others win a few.

According to their Facebook page, “The Drayson B12 69/EV electric car driven by Lord Drayson set a new FIA world speed record today for electric cars under 1,000 [kilograms] (2,200 pounds) of 204.2 mph (328.6 km/h).

Bill and I are particularly happy for the Drayson team since we have been involved in the design of the 850 horsepower battery pack.”

In fact, at last year’s CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium, the couple discussed how they built the pack for the Drayson team, a meticulous and hazardous process that requires thorough grounding, both electrically and intellectually.

As explained on their Facebook page, “The KillaCycle team designed and constructed the battery pack for this vehicle.  Mavizen put us together with Drayson and worked all the logistics. Derek Barger pitched in to help with a portion of the fabrication on this huge pack made from A123Systems cells.  Bill did most of the design work, while Eva did most of the fabrication work on the pack.”

The BBC reported that, “UK-based Drayson Racing Technologies today set an FIA world electric land speed record at RAF Elvington airstrip in Yorkshire, England. Their B12 69/EV electric Le Mans Prototype topped out at 204.185 miles per hour on the 1.86 mile-long runway. The modified low-drag electric race car was piloted by the company’s owner and former UK science minister Lord Paul Drayson.”

The BBC quoted Lord Drayson from a statement prepared before the record attempt.  “The reason we are doing this is to showcase the maximum level of EV performance at the moment–and in a real racing car rather than a teardrop-shaped land speed record car.  It’s a tremendous technical challenge but we believe it’s about time someone moved this record on to demonstrate just how far EV technology has come.”

“About time” might refer to the 40 years since the Battery Box General Electric hit 175 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats.  The Drayson machine is a great deal more complex.

The car features four axial flux electric motors, sending 640 kilowatts of power to the rear wheels.   Based on a lightweight Lola LMP1 race chassis, it is modified for the record attempt to drop 95 kilograms (209 pounds) to stay within mandated 1,000 kilogram limit.  The battery pack, built in modular form, according to Bill Dube’, was also reduced to a mere 480 kilowatts (643 horsepower) – more than enough to set the new land speed record.

Congratulations to all concerned, and especially to Eva, who received her M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver on June 8.   Doubtless, she and Bill will be going after their own new records over the next few months.

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