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. As you have seen on ElectricAutosport.com before, electric cars and prototypes are being pushed to its limits for many years.
There is something to celebrate! It has been 115 years ago that an electric race car went over 100 km/h for the first time in history. On April 29, 1899, Belgian race car driver Camille Jénatzy set a land speed record at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France, reaching 105.882 kilometres per hour.
At that time both France and Great Britain were supporting the development of electric vehicles. 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 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. It was shown last week during the ‘Clean Week’ event at Circuit Zolder in Belgium.
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. This summer an attempt to break this record has been scheduled and Venturi, known for its advanced EV engineering and its team in the FIA Formula E Championship with Leonardo DiCaprio, is planning to go even faster. For this occasion, the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 carries the nickname ‘Jamais Contente. Will it break the 600 km/h barrier?
History repeats itself: technology is being pushed to its limits and records with electric vehicles are being broken in order to attract the attention of customers, pursuing them to buy electric.
Reading tip: 2014 electric land speed record preview
Photos taken by Circuit Zolder CEO Thierry Deflandre.