Over 100 years ago the internal combustion engine won the preference of auto makers over other technologies such as electric and steam. However, what was an ideal solution 100 years ago, is not ideal for today. In the search for new options, the old ideas are emerging with the help of technology.
Ferdinand Porsche invented a hybrid vehicle in 1899, the Lohner Porsche, and it had an engine in each front wheel, an idea modern vehicles are presenting again, such as the Lightning GT and the Volvo ReCharge. In such an environment, steam cars may also get their chance, and the British Steam Car aims to prove these vehicles can run fast. How does 274 km/h sound? Well, that is the goal.
The British Steam Car is a 3-ton, 7.66 m long vehicle powered by a two-stage steam turbine that generates 364 bhp. The vehicle, built to cut through the air at high speeds will be a serious contender to the steam car world, established in 1906 by Fred Marriott in a Stanley, which reached 205.45 km/h.
Bob Barber achieved 234.33 km/h in 1985, but it did not qualify for the world record because it only made one run, and world records require two runs in opposite directions within one hour.
The task may seem easy, but it is far from that. Starting the British Steam Car is an operation that takes from 6 to 8 minutes. When the vehicle completes its first run, it will have to be refuelled, which also demands a lot of time.
Propane gas is used to heat the water, and generates only water and carbon dioxide as by-products, which may prove to be environmentally interesting compared to petrol.
The attempt to break the world record will take place at the 60th Bonneville Speed Week, at the salt flats in Utah.