Over the next three days, a heavily modified Corvette will run blistering laps up and down a stretch of concrete originally built for Space Shuttle landings. Driver Johnny Bohmer will be at the wheel, on Nasa’s landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. He’ll be trying to set the world record for the fastest, road legal, all-electric car.
Built by Maryland based Genovation, the car he’s driving already holds the world record; this electrified Corvette hit 186.8mph in February of 2016. But its developers want more. They figure that their creation, which they call a Genovation GXE, should be able to go even faster.
“We think the car is fully capable of breaking 200mph,” says Andrew Saul, CEO of Genovation.
The car is based on a 2006 Corvette Z06, but the gas guzzling guts are gone. In their place, engineers fitted dual, liquid cooled, electric motors. They produce in excess of 700hp, and more than 600 lb-ft of torque. The ‘vette’s original V8 only produced around 505hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Only. Hah.
In “normal” driving, the GXE gets a range of about 130 miles from its 44kWh battery pack. Not exactly a road-trip machine. The original machine achieved a not entirely horrible 16mpg in the city (on paper anyway), for a total range of around 288 miles. Point: Z06.
These speed runs, however, are far from normal driving. Battery-punishing drag increases with the square of speed, and Bohmer is out to go as fast as possible. The three-mile stretch should provide enough space for the car’s dual electric motors to push it past its own previous personal best, because this time Bohmer will be driving with everything the car’s got.
“The first time doing high speed testing we de-powered the car, and we just happened to break the record”, says Saul.
He and the and team pulled the car apart after that run, learned what they could, and then made improvements they believe will give them better handling when they put it back together.
The Genovation team plans to build and sell similarly modified cars to enthusiasts. They’ll buy an unsullied gas car, remove and sell the engine, install their dual-motor electric powertrain, and sell it for upwards of $330,000. Perfect for anyone who wants a high-speed piece of Americana—and bragging rights over a Tesla owner.