Wayne Krauth recently raced his car, Snake Oil, against a Ford Mustang, and won. Afterwards, the Mustang driver introduced himself and asked to see the engine that defeated him.

Krauth popped his hood, and the other driver dropped his jaw.  Where he expected to see a giant V8 gas engine, there are only battery packs and a glimpse of an electric motor visible in Snake Oil’s powertrain.

Krauth, who lives in Steep Falls, is a member of the National Electric Drag Racing Association and holds a world record for electric drag racing with Snake Oil. His best 1/8 mile pass was 7.16 seconds at 87.4 mph with 465 HP.  The motor makes well over 1000 ft-lbs of torque, and it is all available from 0 RPM, unlike an internal combustion engine, which has to build up to its peak torque at higher RPMs.  The car weighs 2,240 pounds and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds.

Snake Oil is a kit car replica of a 1965 AC Cobra.  Krauth purchased the kit from Factory Five Racing, started building it in 2010, and had it street legal in 2012.  Progress towards achieving the Cobra’s highest power level has been delayed. The motor must be slowly broken in through gradual power increases so that the brushes don’t get damaged.  Even with Krauth’s restraint to increase power, the transmission keeps getting destroyed by the motor’s high torque.

The impressive motor was custom-built for Snake Oil by Dennis Berube, who is a celebrity in electric vehicle racing.  Berube has accomplished multiple world records for EV speeds with Current Eliminator I – V, his series of electric dragsters.

On Friday, June 10 at Oxford Plains Dragway, Berube will join Krauth to run Snake Oil in the Friday Night Bracket Racing event. Berube is traveling all the way from Thailand, where he’s lived since moving from Arizona, to work with the Cobra.

Frank John of Brooklin and his very fast electric motorcycle will also participate that night.  There are not many EV racers in Maine, so it will be a rare treat to see these three VIPs together.

John has set a record of 6.5 seconds at 117 mph on the 1/8-mile distance.  Berube’s best time for the 1/8 mile was 5.09 seconds at 137 mph, and for the ¼ mile, 7.96 seconds at 170 mph.  Berube has not raced his dragster in years, because he is so much faster than others, he can only break his own records. It is generous of him to turn his attention to Krauth’s Cobra.

Krauth is happy to have this opportunity to raise consciousness about the potential of EV’s.  For many race fans, the thrill of the sport includes hearing the engine and smelling the exhaust.  These sensations are lost when using an electric motor, but the phenomenal torque and acceleration overcome the loss.

Rest assured that the tires will smoke, and if you really need audio, Krauth has installed a device in his vehicle to create engine sounds that accompany acceleration.  You can hear a Shelby V8, a Lamborghini V12, a Harley or The Jetsons car.

I hope you’ll join me at Oxford Plains Dragway next Friday and help me cheer the EV drivers as they set new records.  If you can’t make it, check out Wayne Krauth’s many videos on YouTube.  These EV’s are not your pokey golf carts any more.