Tiny 40-Year-Old Electric Car Now As Fast As Tesla Roadster


1975 Enfield E8000 ECC "Flux Capacitor," by Flickr user Mark Skinner (Used under CC License)

1975 Enfield E8000 ECC "Flux Capacitor," by Flickr user Mark Skinner (Used under CC License)

Enlarge Photo

The era of the modern electric car essentially began in December 2010 with the launch of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.

But there were many electric cars before that, from both established manufacturers and small upstart firms.

One of those small independent companies was the U.K.'s Enfield Automotive, although its electric cars are largely forgotten today.

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Just 120 Enfield E8000 ECC models were built, and the tiny electric car (its wheelbase is just 68 inches) doesn't look like it could a candle to modern machinery.

Unless, that is, an owner gets creative.

Meet "Flux Capacitor," a heavily-modified 1975 Enfield that can run the quarter mile as fast as a 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport--as a loving writeup in Transport Evolved describes.

1975 Enfield E8000 ECC

1975 Enfield E8000 ECC

Enlarge Photo

At first glance, the two-seat E8000 ECC doesn't seem to have the makings of a drag racer.

The "ECC" stands for 'Electric City Car," and with just 6 horsepower in stock form, it's certainly not a car one would want to take on a highway.

As sold new, the car's top speed was 40 mph, while range was estimated at somewhere between 35 and 55 miles.

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Yet in this Enfield, current owner Jonny Smith--one of the hosts of the British car show Fifth Gear--somehow aw the makings of a hot rod.

He put together a team of builders to design and install a 1,003-horsepower electric powertrain in the tiny car--which weighs just 1,945 pounds in race trim.

A pair of electric motors are fed by a custom lithium-ion battery pack, while a heavily-modified Ford rear axle and 14-inch rear tires help put that power to the ground.

1975 Enfield E8000 ECC

1975 Enfield E8000 ECC

Enlarge Photo

Flux Capacitor's best quarter-mile run so far is a 12.56-second pass at just over 101 mph.

However, that was made with the powertrain output limited to 1,400 amps--meaning the car was only using about 70 percent of its capability.

That leaves some room for improvement, and Smith already has a target in sight.

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He wants to beat the Tesla Model S P85D, which means achieving quarter-mile times in the 11-second range.

A tiny 1970s city car beating a modern, high-tech luxury sedan?

Now that would be something to see.

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