She’s alive! The wait is over as JONNY SMITH, TV presenter and motoring journalist, reveals some exciting news about the Adrian Flux-sponsored hot-rod electric vehicle. We won’t spoil his moment, so over to you Jonny.
This is possibly the most exciting blog I’ve written. Because everything until now has been the lead up to actually racing the Flux Capacitor for the first time.
Almost three years after buying an electrically dead flood damaged Enfield 8000, the moment to first shake-down and then race the little nine-foot-long ‘leccy relic was here. Weather conditions at Santa Pod were kind to us, Olly Young at Current Racing was on hand to run the necessary checks and help charge the Hyperdrive Kokam lithium-ion battery pack for the first time, and dial in the desired power tune to the old EV’s modern controller and battery management system.
I know it sounds stupid, but the Enfield felt surprisingly together and ready for action. The first job of the shakedown is to check nothing feels dangerous, then it’s time to bed in both the elec motor’s brushes and also the custom BG Developments braking system.
After the shakedowns in Santa Pod’s deserted pit area earlier in the week (which you will see in the vid) I had half an idea of how the Flux Capacitor felt. And it was quick, even cruising at 1000 of the 2000 available amps. We upped the amps to 1300 for a quick squirt and then felt ready to punish the full quarter mile a few days later.
Race suit on, battery pack charged and happy, the debut quarter mile run was a mild 16-second affair. But the main thing was that the car felt like it was stable and happy at high speeds. That was always my worry, what with the 1.75-metre wheelbase and all. Time to turn up the power.
Over the course of the Santa Pod Big Bang event, the Enfield covered nine quarter mile passes. Our second run was 13.7 second @ 92mph. 3 seconds had been shaved off the ET by simply dropping rear tyre pressure by 10 psi (for grip) and increasing amps to 1400.
In an EV race car, the amps act as your instant torque (acceleration) and the voltage level will govern your terminal speed. The car is direct drive with no gearbox, so it’s all down to the voltage we race with, versus the gearing in the Ford 9” back axle (3:00 to 1 ratio). We raced with just over 200 volts.
Clinching 3 consistent 13 second runs felt amazing. Each time the little Enfield never shimmied at speed or felt like it needed a parachute to stop. We dialled in 1400 amps and took the voltage to 220v.
I’d got used to using the line-lock to hold the front wheels and let the rears smoke up for the burnout. Perhaps it was coincidence but my biggest burnout to date tallied with getting the Flux Capacitor into the 12s. It gripped hard on its street legal drag radials and never lost traction at all. The wheelie bars just kissed the ground on initial launch.
SILENT BUT VIOLENT
I could hardly believe the rate of progression with the car over the weekend. Never did I think would we hit 12 second quarter mile times so soon, but did three in a row.
First a 12.62 @ 101.6mph, then a 12.83 @ 102.3mph. Not only was the yellow peril in the mid 12s, but also it had cracked 100mph before crossing Santa Pod’s finish gantry.
The fastest we have gone so far is 12.56 @ 101.4mph. In other words, 0-101mph in 12.5 seconds. That is the 1/8th mile in 7.9 at 87 mph, which approximately equates to 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. It felt ridiculous. It was as if the humble British electric midget was born to go this fast with such ease. I barely fought the wheel all weekend.
As it was out first race meeting and the car fresh, we made sure there was still plenty of power and adjustment left untapped. There’s still an extra 150 volts and 600 amps to play with and try to put down onto tarmac, and of course you have to consider track temp, ambient temp (which heavily effects the power of batteries – we were running a second slower in the morning than the afternoon for no reason!) and tyre pressure.
But the best bit? People’s reaction. The chuckles. The cheers. The kids asking their Dads if it was a real car.
I write this as we pack the car to head to our second Santa Pod race session, hoping to see an early 12 second. Who knows, we may break into the 11s quicker than I thought. Who said British engineering was rubbish?
A massive thank you to Adrian Flux, npower, Hyperdrive and Red Maple to their patience and continued belief in this daft little project. Also big props to Nick at Gas It for lending me his motorhome and toaster. Thanks to Olly Young at Current Racing, without whom I would have never got this car finished, safe or fast. Cheers guys.