A group of students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia has set a new world speed record for an electric vehicle. The Sunswift team's eVe car averaged over 100 km/h (62 mph) over a distance of 500 km (311 mi). The previous record for an electric car over the same distance was 73 km/h (45 mph).

The record attempt was held on a 4.2 km (2.6 mi) circular track at the Australian Automotive Research Centre in Victoria. According to UNSW, the existing record has stood for 26 years, although Gizmag was unable to verify that against Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) documentation. The attempt is pending FIA confirmation, but assuming all goes well, UNSW says it will be the first time that an FIA world record has been set in Australia since 1984.

The Sunswift eVe used for the record attempt is the fifth car built by the Sunswift team. In 2011, the Sunswift IVy was used to set the Guinness World Record for the fastest solar-powered car. The Jaycar Sunswift III, meanwhile, was used to set a world record for the fastest solar-powered road trip from Perth to Sydney in 2007.

According to the Sunswift team, the eVe has a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) and a maximum range of 800 km (497 mi). It features 800 W solar panels on its roof and hood that charge a 60 kg (132 lb) battery. The panels were not used for the record attempt, for which the vehicle must travel the distance on one full battery charge. However, UNSW says the team hopes that it has shown that the car is ready for practical use. Work is continuing towards meeting Australian road registration requirements, which the team believes it could reach within a year.

"This record was about establishing a whole new level of single-charge travel for high-speed electric vehicles, which we hope will revolutionize the electric car industry," says project director and engineering student Hayden Smith in a press release. "Five hundred kilometers is pretty much as far as a normal person would want to drive in a single day. It's another demonstration that one day you could be driving our car."

The video below provides an introduction to the world record attempt.

Source: University of New South Wales