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Dale Vince of Ecotricity has posted some musings and video on his Zerocarbonista blog about the progress his team have made with his wind-power Exige we we're telling you about a few months back and things seem to be coming along quite nicely. His team seems to be more than up for the challenge of turning the gas-powered Lotus Exige into an electric vehicle capable of doing 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Of course, the Exige could already meet their top end goal of exceeding 100 mph but doing that with an electric car can be challenging. Like the Tesla Roadster their prototype will unavoidably be compared to, it won't make use of a transmission. Unlike the Roadster, they will also forgo a rear differential by using a separate electric motor for each rear wheel. The motors can spin at speeds of up to 8,000 RPM so their engineer has each one going through a reduction gear that will turn a lot of that speed into power torque. Using the final 2,000 RPM figure to estimate the top speed, our in-house math wizard has calculated this baby could do 148 mph, give or take 10 mph. Probably take. Hit the jump for more.

*Update: Video now after the break!

[Source: Zerocarbonista via Smartplanet]

The "wind car" will store its energy in 96 Kokam lithium polymer batteries in a pack tucked behind the seats. Because of their chemistry they will not need a lot of the monitoring wizardry the Tesla battery pack requires though it remains to be seen just how well the Kokams will perform in the enclosed and potentially hot space just ahead of the motors. If you're curious about what batteries and motors and such look like once installed in the car, you will be pleased to know that the rear deck lid is to be transparent. There were no estimates of range given so we'll just have to wait and see how far it can go, or for that matter, if it can go at all. We won't have to wait long though. The team hopes to have the car rolling some time in October. Though it is a one-off, Mr.Vince mentions that he would like to put out a limited edition of about 20 once the design proves itself worthy. In the mean time, he needs a name for this new contender and is seeking suggestions from the general public. Check out all the details and leave your naming ideas at Zerocarbonista (oh, and tell us in the comments, too). Thanks to Adam V. for the Tip!




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Call it the Ecotricity Ecotrocity.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Will this cost as much as a house, as well?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, Lotus is like the slutty cheerleader of electric car coach builders.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've always liked the Lotus cars except for their ugly lines; I suspect all those vents and body lines have a engineering purpose; but isn't there some way you can hide them instead of accenting them with different colored paint? Nicely engineered ugly car!
        • 2 Months Ago
        Colin:
        I have a '73 Datsun 240Z with a turbo 2.8l engine and run it often at Sears Point and Thunder Hill. Every now and then someone brings a Lotus to the track and as I stated IMHO, it's a nicely engineered car, almost ready for the track out of the box, but ugly. I would like to see them clean up the body like the older Lotuses.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Umm, Lotus makes cars for DRIVERS, not posers.

        This may be news to you, but driver's cars are for DRIVING - function before form.

        Drive one, then make judgments.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Yes, one thing I've always liked about the Tesla styling is that it's a lot less "busy" than the Elise. Most of those ducts are for cooling one thing or another, and electric cars don't require as much cooling air.

        If I was designing an electric car with a separate motor in each rear wheel, I'd make a custom accelerator pedal that could also rock from side to side. Twisting it one way or the other would give one of the rear wheels perhaps 1-2% more juice, allowing the driver to command oversteer or understeer. That could be tricky to master, but worthwhile on the track.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And this beats a Tesla how? By virtue of not existing yet?

      Forgive me for assuming that the article was going to answer that question simply because it was stated so in the title.


      • 6 Years Ago
      First, even the single motor design of the Impact (EV1) achieved 183mph when the gear ratio was changed from 10.75 to 3.491.
      This is with a 102Kw inverter. The poorer acceleration was offset by the use of a 7.7 mile oval track which allowed the build up to that speed.
      As Tesla demonstrated you can either gear the motor for a higher acceleration or a higher maximum speed. But not both together unless a motor of at least twice the frame size is used.
      The two ratio gearbox is lighter (and cheaper) if it works !

      For a single ratio box the larger motor is the solution. The downside is you're carrying the weight (and cost) of a motor twenty times the power you need to cruise at 60mph. So it's a tradeoff.

      One wonders what the subject machine is doing with an 8000rpm top motor speed. That is very low. For more than forty years the limit with most auto companies has been 13500rpm with three phase induction motors. In fact the Tesla roadster benchmark stretches its rpm range to just 120mph in order to keep its acceleration high. It's that tradeoff I mentioned earlier.

      -TX CHL I agree, the problem is that science is not mainstream and it is certainly not encouraging to spend an hour composing a cogent rebuttal that can earn you a "WTF" response either.
      T2
      • 6 Years Ago
      "reduction gear that will turn a lot of that speed into power."

      Little physics lesson needed here. The process of converting rotational speed into TORQUE ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torque) actually decreases the total power slightly. Some reduction of power ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_(physics) ) occurs as some of the energy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_(physics) ) is dissipated as heat. Note that power and energy are not the same; power = energy/time.

      Big deal, you say? Innumeracy and ignorance of physics contribute heavily to a number of society's problems. One of the manifestations of that ignorance is the regularity with which brain-dead articles praising the 'virtues' of hydrogen appear on ABG.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Fixed.

        Far be it from me to be willfully innumerant.