There was even a concern that the human body would not be able to survive travel at more than 60mph. Most of the initial official speed records can be accredited to electric vehicles and, a little more than five years after La Jamais Contente, the 100mph barrier was broken – but this time by petrol power. Ultimately, land speed records became disconnected from direct wheel-driven machines and in 1997 Thrust SSC broke the sound barrier in the Black Rock Desert, USA, driven by Andy Green and jet power. While the road relevance of land speed records appears to have taken a back seat, today’s electric vehicles present new opportunities to rewrite the rule and record books.
Electric on-road acceleration has proven itself unrivalled by internal combustion’s finest, with the likes of a five-door saloon besting cars ten times its price on quarter mile sprints. In this issue, we celebrate electric power and racing – where it has come from and where it is headed, whether that’s on road or track.