Students from The Ohio State University set a new world speed record for an electrically powered vehicle

Watts up with OSU

Because we’re located less than an hour away from Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, there are few people here at that are big fans of Ohio State. That being said, we grudgingly admit that we are, on occasion, able to come up with reasons to, shall we say, appreciate the contributions The Ohio State University makes to the automotive industry and, forthwith, is one of those reasons:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="339"]smoking buckeye smoking buckeye[/caption]

Greased lightning

It all began with the Formula Lightning series in 1994. The electric open-wheeled formula racing series consisting of student teams from colleges of engineering first appeared at the Cleveland CART race. Throughout the 1990’s, the OSU student team and their vehicle, “the smoking buckeye,” dominated the series, winning more than 50 percent of the races entered as well as capturing every national championship ever awarded (certainly besting John Cooper’s record during that time).

In 2000, the “smoking buckeye” was retired with the series, itself, ending in 2004. According to the OSU engineering department, “After some brainstorming and discussions with existing program sponsors, the team decided to take electric racing to a whole new level and go for all out speed. The goal: to break the world record for top speed in an electric vehicle, 248 mph.

The Buckeye Bullet

The Buckeye Bullet team was formed and, since that time, has constructed three Buckeye Bullet vehicles.

Buckeye Bullet 1 – Although the first, Bullet 1 still holds the record as the world’s fastest electric car with an unofficial top recorded speed of 321.834 mph. It also holds the U.S. electric land speed record at 314.958 mph (Class III/E) and it set a BNI (non-FIA) recognized international record at 271.737 on October 3, 2004.

Buckeye Bullet 2 – The second-generation Bullet was an alternative-fuel vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Bullet 2 ran at Speedweek 2007 and 2008, recording top speeds of 223.334 mph in 2007 and 286.476 in 2008. In September of 2009, it set international land speed records of 303.025 mph in the flying kilometer and 302.877 mph in the flying mile.

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 – This year, OSU teamed up with Venturi, a “Monaco-based maker of very few electric vehicles” and turned Buckeye Bullet 2 into a test mule for Venturi’s upcoming 2011 model. The 2’s fuel cells were replaced by lithium-ion batteries from A123 Systems and, once again, the Bullet was ready to go. According to the Buckeye Bullet twitter site, on August 24th at around 4:00 p.m., the newly-christened Bullet 2.5 completed 2 runs at Speedweek with an average of 307.66 mph in the mile and a top recorded speed of 320 mph.

From all of us here at, good job guys. Go Bucs (at least on the salt flats)!

images courtesy of Buckeye Bullet team and OSU engineering department