What you see above is a group of high-risk teens that built a fully electric Lotus Esprit and drove it all the way across these great United States. It’s pretty awesome.
The Lotus Esprit is a classic of wedge-shaped, 70s glory. Owning one today, in the 21st century, marks you as either an automotive aficionado of the highest order, a Serious James Bond cosplayer, or one of those rare, almost impossibly stupid consumers willing to shell out premium dollars for a British car designed by Italians and powered by a French engine … which may be the same as that first thing, actually.
The relative “pros” and cons of old Lotus ownership notwithstanding, the car itself was donated MINDDRIVE, a non-profit after school program for at-risk high school students in Kansas City. Students from five different schools spent five months converting the old-school supercar into something more like the new-school (Do people say that?) Esprit, thanks to its green cred and 218 MPGe EV.
Once the electric Lotus was finished, some of the students and their program mentors drove the car coast-to-coast across America, giving lectures and talking about the car at various stops. Along the way, they also generated over a terabyte of video footage and photographs, which MINDDRIVE hopes to turn into a documentary film. “We will be seeking other funding sources for the film,” says MINDDRIVE’s Linda Buchner. “It will be made one way or the other. I’m determined to get the story out for these kids.”
I’ve selected a few of my favorite photos and included them, below – but I encourage you to head on over to MINDDRIVE’s website and sift through the pictured yourself. It’s an absolute must for old Lotus and new EV fans!