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UK electric car land speed record broken at Elvington Airfield
10:40am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
A battery-powered sports car bought as a second-hand Lotus on eBay has broken the UK electric car land speed record by topping 150mph.
The Nemesis, a heavily modified Lotus Exige, reached a landmark 151mph over two runs of the one-mile course at Elvington Airfield near York yesterday.
Driver Nick Ponting also managed to help the Nemesis to hit its new top speed, a whopping 153.022mph, over a quarter-mile stretch just before noon.
The previous electric car land speed record was 137mph, set by Don Wales, the grandson of legendary racer Sir Michael Campbell, in the Bluebird Electric.
This record was smashed by the Nemesis, which was bought by Dale Vince, the founder of Gloucestershire-based green electricity firm Ecotricity, for £10,000 on the online auction site two-and-a-half years ago.
Mr Vince, 51, a self-confessed “hippie”, spent £750,000 on modifications to the motor, including stretching the chassis, moving the centre of gravity forward and installing a carbon fibre battery box, not to mention new bodywork.
It was designed and built by a team of British motorsport engineers who, between them, have worked with companies such as McLaren, Williams and Lotus, and who have built Formula One and Le Mans racing cars.
Less than 18 months after work started, the car – which can be charged in under 30 minutes for normal use and just an hour for this type of racing – eclipsed the old record.
Mr Vince said: “I’m so pleased. It’s been a lot of hard work by our team in Norfolk. I call them the A Team.
“What we call the ‘donor car’ was a Lotus we bought on eBay. We’ve invested about £750,000 on modifications, but it was all worth it.
‘‘That’s actually quite cheap for a motor car.
“It’s the first electric supercar built in Britain. I’m very proud.
“The reason for doing this is to kick-start the electric car revolution which we think Britain badly needs.
‘‘People think that electric cars are slow and boring – we wanted to smash that stereotype.
“The idea for the car started about four or five years ago.
“We wanted to challenge stereotypes and show that we could build an electric supercar that could smash world records.
‘‘Now we want to show people that they can use electric cars and that it’s a reasonable alternative.
‘‘We’ve done lots of work to see what it would be like for the country and it’s all incredibly positive.”
The 12ft 6in long Nemesis has a 0-100mph speed of 8.5 seconds, weighs 1.25 tonnes and has two 125kw motors which generate 330bhp. It runs on green electricity generated by Ecotricity’s network of 53 wind turbines around the UK.
Mr Ponting, 21, has been racing cars for seven years. He said: “It’s really quick, the acceleration is phenomenal, it doesn’t stop accelerating.
“It’s been a great day with a great result. There was a bit of pressure this morning but we broke the record, first at 148mph and now over 150mph, it’s great.''