Service Examples

lotus_before.jpgThis project began with a customers dream of electrifying a late 60's Lotus Elan. His favorite car since childhood. You might notice body line similarities with an early Corvette and a Mazda Miata. It's no coincidence, but that's another story.

This article shares how we're greatly improving on a great handling, light weight and minimalist interior car. It's British, so "not running" goes without saying right? It will be quicker, yet easier to drive. And quite possibly the most efficient & reliable Elan ever.

The roller was purchased from eBay for this project. As with any restoration, it has had many mysteries to be solved before electrification. It's history included a building roof that had caved in on top of it. As we dis-assembled it, damage on the front right frame became evident. As one of the lightest cars ever produced, it's frail and can be difficult to repair properly. So what did we do?

Out with the old stock frame, and in with the new Spyder frame. Imported from England, this box tube and braced frame offers superior stiffness that the original "Z-bend" sheet metal never could. The running gear including differential, half-shafts with CV's, calipers, etc., are from a late model Ford. 

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Trued to the new frame, bodywork is underway. NorthWest AutoFab has straightened the body, hung & trued the doors, flared the fenders, replaced the pop-up headlights with the nice insets shown here, and much more.

 

 

 

For reference, here are two images from the web that we use as inspiration for where we're heading. The style of the grey/silver Elan and the carbon fiber dash of another.

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In the spirit of keeping this car light, the motor is an oil cooled PMAC from AM Racing that weighs in at 47kg (103lbs). The upper water-jet-cut steel motor mount is shown on the rear of the motor. White plastic mounts were cut first, to verify the design geometry would properly position the motor to the chassis.

 

Motor with new mounts powder coating and installed. The rear mounts transfer torque to the chassis. The front mount primarily supports it.

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Between the motor and the differential lies the drive shaft. This was the result of collaborating with a driveline specialist, and it turned out great using standard Ford parts. The motor and differential are both fixed (to the chassis) relative to each other, and  angles are slight. A tuff yet lightweight plunging CV was chosen for the motor end, and a stout u-joint at the other.  The small diameter hollow shaft makes for a  better fit in the narrow chassis space available, and will handle the smooth torque of this system. The CV stub was formerly the output stub on the front prop-shaft of a Ford Explorer transfer case.  It's shape was well suited for modifications to mate with the unusual spline on the motor shaft.

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lotus_bat_mounts.jpgThe battery pack will be around 400V, contained in 4 small temperature controlled compartments. Two under the hood and two in the trunk.

Under the hood, the RMS invert is easy to access above the rear-most battery compartment. This is not the latest design, but it provides an idea of the compact-yet-accessible layout.

The top 3 CAD images show how battery boxes will mount to the chassis (red) under the hood and in front of the fiberglass firewall (green).

The bottom 3 views show the trunk area.