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Oh Lord! Member of U.K. Parliament breaks electric car speed record

Posting in Education

Jolting Lola. The Drayson team has put a charge into its Lola race car. Above, an earlier, non-electric version.

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You might take it for granted that someone will break the land speed record for electric cars every now and then. But you might not assume the driver would be a sitting member of a country's legislature.

Welcome to the United Kingdom, which appoints rather than elects members of Parliament's upper house, the House of Lords.

Those learned Lords and Ladies - 754 of them -  come from all manner of professions and backgrounds. They are scientists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, politicians, educators and many other accomplished types including, yes, race car drivers.

Thus it was that the Right Honorable Lord Paul Drayson, who is a labour party member of the legislative chamber and is CEO of Drayson Racing Technologies near Oxford, rightly and honorably hit 204.2 miles per hour after stepping into his Lola B12 69/EV electric vehicle at a Royal Air Force race track in Yorkshire.

That shattered the previous record of 175 mph for an electric car that weighs less than 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds), set by Battery Box General Electric nearly 40 years ago the BBC reported. (Forty years ago? So much for taking these things for granted!)

Drayson, who is also the president of the British Motorsport Industry Association, adapted one of his own Le Mans Series cars that previously used a bio-ethanol engine. He replaced it with a 20 kilowatt-hour, 850 horsepower battery. He also refined the car's carbon fiber chassis to minimize air friction.

"What it, I hope, shows to people is just what the future potential of electric cars is," Lord Drayson told the BBC. "The technology that we used for this car will filter down to the cars we use every day."

Or as Janis Joplin might have sung, Oh lord, won't you buy me, a Drayson E-V.

Photo from Morio via Wikimedia.

More lordly race cars on SmartPlanet:

— By on June 25, 2013, 10:28 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure