ABB e=motion Car to Attempt US Land Speed Record

April 20, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

A high-speed electrical car powered by motors and drives developed by ABB Inc. (Zurich, Switzerland) will attempt to break the land speed record for an electrical vehicle on May 5, 2005, in West Wendover, NV. The 32 ft (10 m) long, ABB e=motion car will try to beat the current official Federation Internationale d'Automobile (FIA) electric land speed record of 245 mph (394 kph) and become the first-ever electrically powered vehicle to break the 300 mph (483 kph) barrier.

The FIA will monitor and certify the attempt. To qualify as an official land speed record under FIA rules, the car must perform two recorded runs at better than 252 mph over a distance of 0.622 miles (1 km). The e=motion car has already reached speeds of 146 mph (237 kph) in just 1,000 yards (914 m) during tests in the UK, and unofficially broken the 139 mph UK record for an electric vehicle.

The ABB e=motion car has no mechanical gears - acceleration is controlled entirely by ABB variable speed drives regulating two 50 HP ABB electric ac motors, which produce a combined output of more than 500 bhp (brake horsepower). ABB's system uses a regenerative standard inverter from its ACS800 motor drives line to convert the 600 Vdc output from the car's four packs of 52 lead-acid batteries into ac power for the two motors.

To prevent overheating during the record attempt, each motor has been adapted to include a forced-ventilation system that is comprised of a series of 24 Vdc fans, to help keep the motors below their maximum operating temperature of 180 °C (356 °F). ABB sensors fitted to each motor winding provide real-time information about motor temperatures and help protect the motors.