As you may have noticed on AROnline, were proud of Britain and British engineering. Staunch supporters of the underdog too. So when a British team of engineers breaks a LSR (land speed record) we get excited! Sustainable energy firm Ecotricity usual stock in trade is as a supplier of renewable energy, however boss man Dale Vince OBE had a pet project – an electric supercar.
To prove you can take the boy out of Norfolk, but not the Norfolk out of the boy, Vince and his team hunted for a Lotus; an Exige to be precise. A couple of clicks on eBay, done and dusted. Fast forward four years to the present and Exige evolved into the Nemesis. So how did they do it?
Old friend of MG Rover and petrolhead Peter Stevens offered his services, subtly reprofiling the car. Some slight ducting tweaks on the front clam shell, and a longer diffused tail at the rear being the most obvious changes. Next up Toyota’s multi vale four cylinder IC engine and transmission got swiftly replaced by two 125 kW electric motors (125,000 watt) giving 330bhp and 600Nm of torque; as with all electric motors pretty much available from zero revolutions.
This also necessitated an extended 90mm increase in wheelbase. Power sits behind the front seats in a composite container holding the 96 100A/h 4.2 volt battery cells. These batteries charged by wind farm supplied energy. Rather patriotically the exterior is resemblant in a union flag motif, dimensionally a little narrower, a little longer, a little higher than the stock Exige. However at 1166kg, a whopping 233kg heavier than a stock Exige – 25% heavier. Or for the layman an Exige with two 18 stone rugby players perched on the roof rack….
Under £1m later, the team found themselves at Elvington Airfield in York. The ex-RAF airfield is famously known as the site of Richard Hammond’s ill-fated crash; however on 27 September 2012, 21 year old Nick Ponting happened to be the man in the news headlines. The existing record by Don Wales (grandson of Sir Malcom Cambell) set upon Pendine Sands of 137mph was surprisingly set over twelve years ago. This benchmark Ecotricity needed to beat. For the creation of a legitimate record Ponting needed two passes – one in each direction – to equate for any wind assistance. Away they went.
Using the Motor Sports Association’s calibrated test equipment, Ponting’s first two-way average being 148.419mph, a new British LSR, subsequently be topped with a new verified run of of 151.607mph.
British engineering at its best…