Lord Paul Drayson, former Labour-party Minister of Science, drove an electric car based on a Lola B12 to a top speed of 204.2 MPH, breaking the old speed record set way back in 1974, and possibly setting a land speed record for any member of the House of Lords.
The car is known as the Lola B12 69/EV, and is the product of Drayson's company, Drayson Racing Technologies. The car started life as a Lola LeMans Prototype (LMP) car, powered by a 5.5L Judd engine, and now has a 20 Kw/h battery and a YASA electric motor that makes 850 BHP, which makes the car good for a 0-60 time of 3 seconds flat.
To comply with the record attempt rules, the car weighs less than 2204 lbs, driverless. The chassis has also been modified with recycled carbon fiber (from aftermarket spoilers and tennis rackets, I bet) to help aerodynamics.
Interestingly, one of the first speed records, beating a mile-a-minute, was set by another electric car way back in 1899, the pleasingly torpedo-looking Jamais Contente.
Now that Drayson has wrested the old speed record (which was 175 MPH) from Battery Box General Electric, the next step is to focus on Formula E racing, FIA's electric racing series set to start in 2014. While making an electric car go fast is pretty well-understood, a full-on racing series gets tricky, as issues like range, recharging/battery swapping, and energy conservation all become important.
Hopefully someone's working on how to make these new electric racecars nice and loud and figuring out some spark-shooting mechanisms.