John Wayland and his team over at Plasma Boy Racing have done it again. After the installation of a brand new set of advanced Dow/Kokam lithium polymer batteries, and a little frame stiffening, the storied White Zombie—a converted 1972 electric Datsun 1200—has set a new world record for a street legal electric car by running a 1/4 mile drag race in 10.400 seconds at a top speed of 117.21 mph.
Wayland, who is the owner and principle architect of the White Zombie, estimates that the car did 0-60 mph in about 1.8 seconds during the run. Even the world's most expensive, and quickest, street legal, combustion-engined supercar, the Bugatti Veyron, can only squeeze out a 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds. That's why I love this little whipper snapper of a car... in one fell swoop it gives the ultra-luxury, insanely rich car crowd something to think about and quiets those who might say that plug-ins are toy cars that will never be able to compete against combustion engines.
Here we are, coming to the end of 2010 and the release of the world's first mass-market and affordably-priced electric car, the Nissan LEAF—possibly heralding in a new age of personal transportation—and it somehow seems incredibly fitting that the LEAF's street legal brethren from almost 40 years ago has just broken the 11 second barrier in a 1/4 mile drag race. Not only that, in the record breaking run the White Zombie was up against (and beat) another brother, the Nissan Skyline GTR—a modern day monster of a combustion-engined car.
Not only is the White Zombie an incredibly formidable drag racer, it takes the "street legal" part of its moniker very seriously. The day after busting out a 10.4 second 1/4 mile, Wayland took the Zombie for 48 mile trip and only used up about half of its 22.7 kWh battery pack. In a blog post, Wayland said that he estimated "the car could do 110-120 miles on the open highway, and less at around 90-100 miles in mixed style driving round town," but that seeing it actually return those numbers in real driving circumstances is pretty gratifying. "How cool is it, to have a low 10 second electric car that also has a 100 mile range?", he added.
Photo courtesy of Carol Brown via Plasma Boy Racing/John Wayland