Oxford Professors race ahead

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A team from the department of Engineering and Computer Science at Christ Church have broken the world electric land speed record.

The Energy and Power Group at Christ Church have developed the YASA (Yokeless And Segmented Armature) engine. The group undertakes experimental and computational sustainable energy research with a ‘particular focus on smart energy systems, energy storage, transport and electrical machines’.

The engine achieved a record 204.185mph when tested in a converted Le Mans racer at Elvington Airfield, which is positive news for a future with more efficient motors. Dr McCulloch, a Christ Church tutor who led the team developing the engine, commented: “We always knew this was the highest torque density motor in the world”.

He added that he was “pleased that it has shown its strengths in this context. He also thanked Lord Drayson, who drove the car and whose company, Drayson Racing, had worked with YASA Motors, as well as the expertise of his capable engineering team.

Lord Drayson said that the achievement was intended to draw attention to the potential of electrical vehicle technology.

He told the BBC: “Obviously this is a very special racing car, but by setting this new world record here in Britain we say two things[…]One it is a pointer to the future – the technology that we developed for this car will filter down to the cars we use every day[…] And secondly it’s a message about how here in the UK we’re a world leader with this technology. We’ve led motorsport engineering, now we’re also leading with electric motorsport engineering.”

This record has not been broken since 1974, when Battery Box General Electric achieved 175mph.

Graduate student Dr Tim Woolmer, who worked on the team, said:“The YASA motor is a pleasant reminder that innovation is always possible where creativity and academic freedom are encouraged.”