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Jonny Smith’s Enfield 8000 aims to become fastest accelerating electric vehicle

Jonny Smith with his Enfield 8000 EV nicknamed the Flux Capacitor

Jonny Smith with his Enfield 8000 EV nicknamed the Flux Capacitor

An Enfield 8000, an electric car from the 1970’s, has been modified by television presenter Jonny Smith with the aim of becoming the fastest accelerating electric vehicle .

Jonny’s goal is to race the Enfield on a quarter-mile drag strip, aiming to break the current British record for a street legal EV – this means beating the £103,000 Tesla Roadster Sport, which accelerates from 0 to 60mph in 3.7 seconds and can run the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds.

The Enfield was originally created in response to the oil crisis; it was built for city driving and had a maximum speed of 40mph. Jonny’s car was part of the Midland Electricity Board’s (MEB’s) fleet. So it’s appropriate that npower, formed out of MEB, is sponsoring the speed challenge.

Jonny Smith, said: “I’m really pleased to have npower onboard and so enthusiastic with my project. The reason for doing this is to try and show what electric performance vehicles are capable of – that their place in motorsport should only increase. The Enfield is a rare electric relic – only 120 were ever made – and I desperately wanted to resurrect one to show people that EVs are not some new invention. It’ll be an envelope pusher, but one I can drive to the corner shop as well as take drag racing.

“At barely more than 9ft long, the challenge will be to put supercar-rivalling power to the tarmac and keep it in a straight line, hence why I am fitting some wheelie bars! Everything about creating a custom car is a learning curve, especially replacing the old electric technology with cutting edge EV components. Having the support of an energy supplier is crucial to power the car and provide expert advice on the charging infrastructure and technology required.”

Nicknamed the ‘Flux Capacitor’ as a homage to the key gadget that powers Michael J Fox’s time-travelling DeLorean in Back to the Future, the car has been transformed from a flood damaged classic into a drag race car with MOT. The aluminium body was stripped bare and repainted, while the rear of the original steel tube chassis has been modified to accept a Ford dragster back axle and full safety roll cage. Gone is the Enfield’s original 8hp 6kW 48-volt electric motor, replaced with a pair of custom built 9-inch motors modified to cope with 2000 amps at 170-volts.

The timing of the record attempt is yet to be confirmed and more details of where the ‘Flux Capacitor’ will be on show are due to follow later in 2013.

Find out more about electric vehicles: See our
Electric Car Guide