ABB-Powered Electric Car Attempts to Break Land Speed Record in United States
ABB e=motion team confident of success in Nevada on May 5
NORWALK, Conn., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A high-speed electrical car, powered by ABB motors and drives, will attempt to break the land speed record for an electrical vehicle on May 5 in Nevada, U.S. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050421/CLTH002 ) The 32-foot (10 meter) long, mustard-yellow ABB e=motion car will try to beat the current official FIA (Federation Internationale d'Automobile) 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 car, whose main sponsor is the global engineering company ABB, will make the record attempt on a closed, secured section of paved road near the city of West Wendover, northeastern Nevada. The FIA, the world's leading motorsports ruling body, 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 (one kilometer). The e=motion car is the brainchild of Britons Mark Newby and Colin Fallows. It has already delivered spectacular acceleration during tests in the U.K., easily reaching 146 mph (237 kph) in just 1,000 yards (914 meters) - the longest distance available to the team in the U.K. - and unofficially breaking the 139 mph U.K. record for an electric vehicle. "With this sort of performance, we're confident that our car will easily beat the existing electric car land speed record," says Newby. The ABB e=motion car has no mechanical gears - acceleration is controlled entirely by ABB variable speed drives regulating two 50-horsepower electric motors from ABB. "ABB technology has put this car in the super-speed league, and demonstrates our unique ability to meet unusual technology challenges with a pioneering spirit," said Ron Kurtz, ABB U.S. spokesman. The current FIA electric car record is held by the White Lightning team from the U.S. Other record attempts have been made, but not under FIA rules. An ABB e=motion attempt to break the record on salt flats of Tunisia in 2004 was postponed after the surface was deemed unsafe due to unusual weather conditions, but there are no such doubts about the road in Nevada. Further information about the e=motion record attempt, including pictures and additional technical detail, is available on ABB's Web site ( www.abb.com/e=motion ). ABB e=motion: key technical data An ABB industrial drive and two 50 horsepower AC motors will be used to power ABB e=motion The motors produce a combined output of more than 500bhp (brake horsepower, i.e. power measured at a vehicle's crankshaft). As a comparison with gasoline-driven cars, the new Chevrolet Corvette, launched this year is fitted with a 7.0-litre (427-cubic-inch) V8 engine that produces 500bhp. ABB's system uses a regenerative standard inverter from its ACS800 motor drives line to convert the 600V DC (direct current) output from the car's four packs of 52 lead-acid batteries into AC (alternating current) 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-volt DC fans, to help keep the motors below their maximum operating temperature of 180 degrees C (356 degrees F). ABB sensors fitted to each motor winding provide real-time information about motor temperatures and help protect the motors. High torque for immediate acceleration Fast acceleration is the key to the record attempt. For this reason, ABB's motor/drive system also uses the company's Direct Torque Control drive technology, which provides excellent control of motor torque, with full motor torque available even at zero speed. "Other challengers to the record commonly use gear-driven systems in their cars to achieve the fastest possible acceleration, whereas the technology we've supplied steadily controls torque across the whole speed range," says Frank Griffith, one of the ABB team who helped to develop the car's power system. "Although a geared vehicle can achieve 100 mph in a few seconds, its rate of acceleration falls away much more quickly compared to our system; this one will continue to accelerate even past the 300 mph mark, provided sufficient battery power is available." Design challenges in building the car Newby and Fallows struggled for 18 months to find a company that could supply the equipment needed to power the car, before contacting ABB in November 2002. "Of the companies we originally approached, none could provide either the technology or expertise that justified a world record attempt of this magnitude," said Fallows who designed the car. "We initially approached ABB because we were aware of the company's profile in the world of electrical engineering. Its solution, based on standard industrial motors and drives, proved extremely compact, which was very important as we only had a limited amount of space available in the car." One of the biggest challenges was the need to simulate the vehicle dynamics and performance likely to be experienced during the record attempt without physically testing the car on a track. "Likely performance was modeled and calculated using a set of estimated conditions involving factors such as rolling resistance, drag and battery discharge rate," says Griffith. "Much of this information either did not exist or else had to be extrapolated from data found on the Internet." To help fine-tune the system's performance, ABB used data from the two independent four-channel data loggers incorporated within the drive. "The data loggers enabled us to improve the performance of our system in the same way as Formula One teams do with their cars," explains Steve Malpass, a member of the ABB design team. "One of the data loggers was set to a rapid sampling rate of one sample per millisecond to record all the actual events as they happened. "By setting the other logger to a slower rate, we were able to record information on trends that occurred throughout the test runs, which provided us with an overall picture of how the car was performing." Environmental benefits ABB is the world's largest manufacturer of electric motors and drives. They are designed to be environmentally friendly, reducing energy costs for customers and sharply cutting emissions. The company's variable speed AC drives, installed around the world, cut global C02 emissions by an annual total of 68 million tons - equivalent to the emissions of a country the size of Finland. The energy saved is annual equivalent to the output of ten average sized power plants. ABB has a massive installed base of these drives - more than one million in the past 20 years. ABB ( www.abb.com ) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 102,000 people. The company's U.S. operations employ nearly 10,000 in manufacturing and other facilities in 30 states.
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