Martin Rees was previously involved in television production in the United Kingdom, a friend of David Hammond-Williams at the time. He met up with Don Wales and the then project leader, Nelson Kruschandl, in the early days of Bluebird Electric Limited between 1997-98. One such meeting was at the Horseshoe Inn, a hotel and public house at Windmill Hill in East Sussex, just a mile or so up the road from the inventors (then) workshops near the charming village of Herstmonceux. (Windmill Hill is famous for a restored windmill project, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund to the tune of £500,000)
This was a meeting in connection with some publicity material that was being collected when the BE2 was being built to replace the BE1 designs of Nelson Kruschandl. Neil Carr-Jones was at the time the onboard PR, going on to be involved in the RAC Future Car Challenge from around 2011.
In 2001 Martin Rees, David Hammond-Williams and a new designer, Paul Sparrow, launched another bid to build a world land speed record (WLSR) car for Donald (Don) Wales, for Bonneville Speed Week, at the same time proposing service stations for electric vehicles with battery exchange as set out years before in GB patent 2253379.
Martin Rees and Don (and associates) seem to have generated a whole lot of media buzz in February of 2001 via the BBC, but nothing seems to have come of it that we can track down. Nobody seems to have produced a fully worked out technical study to back up this project. What we mean by this is that there are no published technical drawings or calculations for these vehicles - hence the proposal did not give the impression of any real commitment to any one design concept, rather the opposite. At least nothing seems to have been released to give potential sponsors something to hang their hats on. That is only our impression, and please supply to us any such drawings if they are or were produced - and contained no patent-able IP. If we were being asked to invest in any of these projects we'd like to see more than fancy artwork. The following are extracts of what the media have said.
BBC NEWS FEBRUARY 14 2001 - The new Bluebird E3 electric car will be powered by four wheel-mounted motors effectively harnessing double the power of its predecessor. Frustrated by the confines of Pendine Sands, the project team now hopes to benefit from the vast expanses at Bonneville, USA, where the new car will have a longer run to challenge for the record. First, they must find the necessary sponsorship to build and test the E3 before it is unleashed on Bonneville. Bluebird Electric - with Don Wales at the wheel - hopes to continue the legacy this year or next with another British triumph for the record books. The holders of the current UK record hope to have constructed and tested the new Bluebird E3 in time for a possible record attempt in October at the Bonneville salt lake flats, Utah.
NEWS FEBRUARY 14 2001 - A technology company from west Wales has developed a new commercial system for powering electric vehicles, with the aim of creating hundreds of new jobs.
Bluebird Technologies Ltd has focused its attention on the serious mission of turning the multi-trillion car industry on its head.
[This is basically the patent (GB2253379) concept of the original BE1 designer Nelson Kruschandl - it would now be illegal to use the trade name Bluebird in connection with battery exchange where a registered trademark is extant, or indeed, the blue bird logo on a land speed record car, for the same reasons, without the permission of the TM proprietors. Note also that Bluebird Technologies has been wound up.]
BBC NEWS FEBRUARY 14 2001 - Bluebird designer Paul Sparrow hopes he has come up with the winning formula to turn a paper concept into a record-breaking car.
Don Wales (2013) is the grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell, making Donald Campbell his uncle. If taking up the mantle from DC, it might have made more sense to pursue a rocket or jet powered WLSR, perhaps with a version of the CN8. Don is a photographer by trade. His son Joe Wales crashed the electric car shown below on this page in 2011. Now might be the time to set their land and water speed aspirations higher. From inception to record usually takes around 10 years. Don would then be 64 if attempting a rocket or jet powered record. Possibly that is too old to still have the reflexes needed for such high speed endeavors. Joe Wales is in his early 20s.
If the term electric vehicles brings to mind golf buggies and tiny urban cars, the new Bluebirds will make you think again.
COMMENT: If, as the Billionaire article says, 70mph was the target speed for the boat above in 2013, it would fall far short of exceeding the (then) existing record that was at the time held by the USA with Michael Bontoft's electric hydroplane at 98.8 mph, set in October 2008, in two directions as the accompanying Youtube shows. It took Bontoft, from Castle Rock, roughly 18 months to build the boat (shown below) in his garage, which cost him about $30,000. The lithium polymer batteries worth $14,000 were donated by a Korean company, Enerland Division of A123 Systems. Employing materials used to make aircraft, Bontoft constructed the boat to be as light as possible. “It’s fiberglass, carbon fiber and honeycomb,” he said. “The honeycomb layer is a core that fits between the fiberglass and gives it its thickness.” The 70hp motor runs at 133 volts. The speed run was on Devil's Lake in Lincoln City. In February of 2009 the record was ratified by the he Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM record 3681), the European governing body for the racing events. At the same time, Bontoft also set a national record with the American Power Boat Association (APBA) at 98.252 mph. The previous UIM and APBA records were 50 and 70 mph respectively. That's not bad for an £18,000 boat, representing great value for sponsors. Well done to Michael.
Historically, this has been one of the problems with Don's team - not producing designs that are fit for purpose - as in, not high enough performance - and possibly not researching the subject matter sufficiently to be an authority as to records to beat, unlike Ken Norris when working for Donald Campbell, who knew the competition backwards and so was an excellent technical manager. For once the design is snazzy, but sponsors looking for a world record would have been bitterly disappointed, as would the British public. They would have wasted their money with no possibility of a refund. It is strange that billionaire.com did not research the subject a bit more before publication to be able to mention the latest UIM record holder. If anyone can tell us more, please get in touch.
The rather ungainly looking electric car above was built by one of Martin's companies with input from Don Wales. We are surprised at the level of sponsorship achieved, given the low specification of the vehicle, so low in fact that it would never have attained a world land speed record, even at its inception - as demonstrated by its mediocre performance at Pendine Sands. It thus had built in obsolescence, as with the proposed boat above. When designing WLSR vehicles it is better to engineer upgrade-ability to ensure that sponsors get value for money and come home with a trophy to be proud of. At the end of the day, sponsors are there because of the advertising and media PR that will be generated by association with a project. This is a phenomenon that Sir Richard Branson used to the max with his Virgin sponsored ventures such as the Atlantic Challenger, aiming at the Blue Ribband - an event that attained superb media coverage. Red Bull too, is no stranger to sponsoring events in return for branding opportunities, eventually leading to the purchase/formation of a Formula One team, signifying serious profits from energy drinks.
THE BLUEBIRD TROPHY FOR FATHERS AND SONS AT ROCKINGHAM
The world's fastest electric circuit racers will surely be looking for a system to recharge batteries instantly during pit stops. The Ecostar DC50 above incorporates the patent Bluebird™ instant energy transfer system - allowing EV refueling for road cars in around 60 seconds - with a theoretical 10 seconds being possible in a further developed form. Get your free developer License from Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd. The blue bird legend continues with the first road car to bear the mark. To date only Team Speedace are licensed to use this technology for the Cannonball Jogle event planned for June of 2015. Click on the car drawing to learn more. NOTE: This original vehicle design and/or project, is not connected in any way with either Martin Rees or Don Wales or any of their companies.
Corby Enterprise Centre, London Road, Priors Hall Park, NN17 5EU
The Bluebird World Cup trophy is for the Cannonball ZEV International series of events set for 2015. These events are free to enter for the enlightenment of politicians and to encourage utilities to install the infrastructure necessary for mass adoption of EVs. Please note: that there is no connection between this BMS commissioned trophy and the trophy proposed for the advertised Rockingham events.
BLUEBIRD C. 1997 - This is the public house where the Bluebird Electric team met after visiting the workshops at Herstmonceux during the build of the BE2. Windmill Hill is a stones throw from the village of Herstmonceux in East Sussex. The BE1 was completed in Herstmonceux, but begun at Filching Manor Motor Museum near Polegate, also in East Sussex.
This website is Copyright © 2014 Bluebird Marine Systems Limited. The names Bluebird™, Ecostar DC50™ and the blue bird in flight logo are trademarks concerning battery exchange for electric road and racing vehicles, service stations, electric motors, transmissions, solar panels, vehicle body panels and parts. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged. For licensing and other developer permissions to use these trade marks, contact BMS Ltd. The color blue is a protected element of the bird mark. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.