Thursday, October 11, 2007

Buckeye Bullet 2 sets new FIA fuel cell vehicle land speed record - report 9 from Salt Flats

Friends of the Buckeye Bullet:
This is the ninth of a series of reports describing the progress of the Buckeye Bullet 2 at The Bonneville World Finals. The BB2 is a hydrogen fuel cell land speed vehicle designed to break the speed record for electric vehicles at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It is designed and built by Ohio State University students out of the Center for Automotive Research in Columbus, Ohio. More details may be found at:

Dedicated BB2 fans may also enjoy the daily blog:

More information on the Salt Flats may be found on the official website:


October 11th, 2007, 6 am

Never a dull moment at the Salt Flats... As of yesterday the BB2 was the only team left, after one of the other record seekers had already set a record, and the other two had blown their engines while attempting to set their records.

With the BB2 as the lone survivor, it became clear the Wednesday would be the last day of the meet. Again, no pressure. On this subject, I take the liberty to quote the very nice message of our friend, alumnus and sponsor Ralph Rockow, who has evidently experienced similar situations... Thank you Ralph for everything you have done for us over the years!!

Sure you love life at the Salt Flats…………just like I loved those all night sessions baby sitting the Apollo LEM descent engine test firings with one delay after another!!!

Ralph A. Rockow
Exodyne, Inc.

Given the limited time available the Bullet set out to attempt the hydrogen fuel cell LSR. The attempt began around 1pm local time. In order to qualify for a record, the vehicle would have to complete two runs in opposite directions within 60 minutes. The BB2 started at the far end of the track, with a plan to refuel at the south end, where the pit area is located, and the restart in the outbound direction within one hour. The timed mile for the “flying mile” record is in the middle of the 11-mile course.

One more time, the BB2 had a strong start on both legs of the record runs, but had an automatic shut down once it reached full power, in spite of all the work done during the preceding 24 hours to rectify the hydrogen flow problems. Thus, on both runs the Bullet coasted through the flying mile without any power. Fortunately, coasting is a relative concept, and BB2 was able to average approximately 130 mph along the timed mile, resetting the fuel cell vehicle record in class 3 (unlimited weight) by nearly 50 mph. I will send images of the certificate and other details of the run as soon as I have them in digital form.

I want to make it clear that we shall investigate the history of FIA records, as I believe this to be the first time ever that a vehicle has actually set a FIA record with ZERO TRACTIVE POWER.

In summary, during the past two weeks the Bullet2 has recorded the fastest ever speed for a hydrogen fueled and fuel cell powered vehicle at around 224 mph, and has set the official FIA world record for Group XIV-class 3 (fuel cell engine, unlimited weight) at around 130 mph. (
Subject to FIA (or ASN) recognition)

We are proud of the accomplishments of the OSU student team, and we look forward to reaching even higher goals next August. The team will be returning to Columbus late today.

Go Bucks! Go Fast (or coast, as you prefer)!

Giorgio Rizzoni

P.S.: the last communication I had with the team was from the truck weighing station at the border of Utah with Nevada. Those who have been to Bonneville will know exactly where it is. Weighing the vehicle is a required FIA procedure for certification, and the BB2 has to PROVE that it weighs more than 1000 kg, thus belonging to class 3. Now, those who have seen this monster know that it must weigh the better part of 2.5 tons, so you would think the weigh-in would not be needed. Alas, it was required and the truck scales were shorter than the wheelbase of the BB2, thus requiring that the trailer be weighed with and without the BB2 in it. That provided some humor, as well as a lot of work...


Anonymous said...

Bravo, Bucks, Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Hats off to all of you. Your determination and "stick-to-it"ness is remarkable. You have worked your tails off and are to be saluted.