The engineering students of Brigham Young University recently set a new speed record with their self-built electric car. Racing on the Salt Flats of Utah, the student-built car reached a high speed of 175 miles per hour during its two qualifying runs. The record-breaking win is the perfect close for team leader, Professor Perry Carter, who is retiring after 31 years of teaching and seven years leading the electric vehicle project.
The aerodynamic, royal blue car averaged a speed of 155.8 miles per hour during its two course run, breaking the speed record for its weight class. The sleek vehicle, called a streamliner, seats one driver, and is capped by a tail fin for speed and agility. The wheels are enclosed to deter air resistance, making the vehicle look more like a submarine than a car. The car body, built of lightweight carbon fiber, was shaped to maximize speed using a 3D modeling wind tunnel program.
Coupled with the lightweight and streamline design, the car, named “Electric Blue,” reached high speeds thanks to lithium iron phosphate batteries. But the car is designed only for the need for speed — definitely not for commercial use. It hovers extremely low to the ground – only about an inch above – which creates an extremely wide turning radius that is only practical in open areas like the Salt Flats.
The record breaking is quite a feat for BYU students, whose vehicle was disqualified last year when it rolled during its required second run. Their model last year only achieved 139 miles per hour.