If a speed record falls in a dry lake bed and (hardly) no one is around – does it make a sound?


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The original quote about a tree falling in a forest, from the French magazine “Chauntauquan” in 1883, source attributed to George Berkeley, philosopher and visionary.

Anyway, it can be said that a small band of automotive visionaries, speed-merchants if you like, did hear “something” on the salt flats of Bonneville on Monday the 19th of September.

It was not the roar of the twin 1,500 HP motors, but the wind off a huge vertical tail fin and the super slick body of a bullet racer and the rumble of fast turning wheels on that salt.

Very quiet it was as the thirty-six foot long “Venturi Buckeye Bullet”, a collaboration of Venturi Automobiles, a Monaco based luxury e-vehicle and powertrain manufacturer and the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University had just made history. Driver: Roger Schroder had just climbed out of the most powerful electric car in the world. His twenty-two mile (11 miles each way) average on bristling bright-white course was 341.4mph. They smashed the record of 307mph that was set in 2010 by THEMSELVES!

The Venturi and Ohio State engineers pushed through three years of frustration primary caused by bad weather leaving most of the Bonneville salt flats under water and the top layers of salt in very poor condition. Bonneville recovered late this September just enough to make a window of opportunity for the historic event. Ultimately the perservered and … The 5,000 pound electric bullet was clocked reaching 358mph at one point, though for a record to stand. There has to be back-to-back runs within the space of one hour. The VBB’s power comes from eight battery packs. A total of 2,000 lithium iron phosphate cells producing over two megawatts of power. Large specially designed battery cooing tank keeps batteries at … temperaturs for optimum performance and safety. The Venturi designed gearbos has two speeds. At 10,000rpm in first gear speeds can be 275mph. Electrohydraulic clutches take the vehicle into second and the final drive.

At the end of the run, driver Schrorer said…”the track was getting better and better. I know we can go further “(faster).


Author: Bob Koveleski, San Diego. Automorrow

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