At Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research teams of students led by professor Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni have been designing alternative fuel race cars that run on batteries or hydrogen fuel cells since 1990 that hold US (314.958 mpg, 508.485 km/h) and international land speed records(271.737 mph, 437.318 km/h). Cars are tested at world-famous Bonneville Speedway near Wendover Utah.
The Buckeye Bullet Wheel program owes its birth to Ohio State’s participation in an electric racing event called the Formula Lightning Series, an open wheel formula style race at major racetracks around the US, during the 1990s when they entered the Smokin’ Buckeye that ran on 31 lead acid batteries that would be replaced in 17 seconds during pit stops. Ohio State won 50% of the races. After the Formula Lightning Series was phased out team members and their program sponsors decided to compete for land speed records. The first goal was to break the world record for top speed in an electric vehicle There have been four incarnations of the car.
Buckeye Bullet 1.0 (BB1) set the speed records using 10,000 rechargeable C-cell batteries, a custom 400 hp (300 kW) three phase AC power motor, and are built of carbon fiber. The ride height or ground clearance is 1.5 inches (33 mm), curb weight is 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg), length is 31 feet (9.4 m) and the car has a suspension system that is independent for each wheel.
Buckeye Bullet 2, (BB2) built and tested in 2007, is the first hydrogen fuel cell powered land speed streamliner and eclipsed BB1’s speed reaching 286.476 mph (451.038 km/h) and an international land speed record of 303.025 mph (487.672 km/h).
Buckeye Bullet 2.5 (BB2.5) was a battery electric version of BB2. It used the same frame and body as BB2 but replaced the fuel cell power source with batteries. BB2.5 was the test bed for technology being considered for Buckeye Bullet 3 (BB3). BB 2.5 used A123 Systems 32113 cylindrical cells. BB2.5 set the US record at 307.666 mph (495.144 km/h).
Buckeye Bullet 3 (BB3) is currently under development and represents over a decade racing design engineering and testing. BB3 will have two custom-made electric motors designed and developed by Venturi the and powered by prismatic A123 batteries. Naturally the goal for BB3 is that it surpass all previous electric vehicle records.
The two major sponsors of the Buckeye Bullet Wheel are A123 Systems, an electric battery maker, and Venturi of France a designer of zero emission, 100% electric sports cars.