While world’s electric car park expands every day, you won’t think that these type of vehicles are actually quite old as they were (already) competitive to gasoline powered cars during the late 1800s. You can consider the same about electric race cars. It has been 115 years ago that an electric race car went over 100 km/h for the first time in history. Faster than any vehicle containing a combustion engine.
On April 29, 1899, Belgian race car driver Camille Jénatzy set a land speed record at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France, reaching 105.882 km/h. A stunning record for normal citizens as their cars, if they could afford one, reached only 30 km/h.
France and Great Britain were supporting the development of electric vehicles in the late 19th century. Jénatzy, son of a rubber tire manufacturer, was an EV pioneer and established his own production facility. But the competition was fierce and thus he and his rivals pushed technology forward by setting land speed records in order to win the harts of the customers.
The vehicle in which Jénatzy set his record was called La Jamais Contente (the never satisfied). It featured a light alloy torpedo shaped bodywork, which looked very futuristic at that time. However, the high position of the driver could be considered as a disadvantage, as it reduced the aerodynamics. Two motors produced 50 kW (68 hp) at 200 V and the vehicle was equipped with Fulmen batteries 100 x 2V cells and Michelin tyres.
A replica of the original was finished in 1994 by students of the Universite de Technologie et du Lycee Technologique de Compiegne in France.
The current land speed record for electric vehicles is 495.140 km/h and was set by Roger Schroer in the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 in 2010.
It is a common habit of humanity: pushing technology to its limits. Records are being broken and competitions being held to attract the attention of customers, pursuing them to buy electric. By challenging teams to complete a 40,000-kilometre race without emissions, 80 Day Race delivers a unique platform for promoting sustainable technologies.