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1970s electric city car finds new life as 12-second drag EV

June 22nd, 2015

The Flux Capacitor gets its first track workout.

There’s an unlikely-looking contender for the title of Europe’s fastest street-legal electric vehicle (EV). It started life as an Enfield 8000, a small electric city car built in the mid-1970s. Now it’s the Flux Capacitor, the latest (and orange-ist) automotive project from Johnny Smith, a UK car journalist probably best known to American readers from his BBC America show.

The Enfield 8000 was commissioned by a Greek tycoon after the oil shock in 1973, and it was designed by John Ackroyd, who was later responsible for the 1982 “Thrust 2” land speed record car. Fewer than 120 Enfields were built off the southern coast of England on the Isle of Wight. They were competent EVs for their time, with all the provisos that statement brings. Eight 12V batteries fed an 8 hp (6 kW) motor, giving the car a top speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) and a range between 35-55 miles (56-89 km).

Smith decided to give an Enfield 8000 a new life as a drag racer, with thoroughly up-to-date internals. A pair of electric motors provide 500 hp (373 kW) and 1,000 ft lb (1356 Nm), fed by a custom Li-ion battery. The suspension and brakes have been suitably upgraded, as has the top speed (120 mph/193 km/h). Smith’s goal is a quarter-mile time under 12 seconds.

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