Thanks to EnviroTech, Inc. in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, electric cars just got a fresh injection of sexy. Stop envisioning the four-door electric sedans popular with the granola crunchy crowd – and start thinking sleek, fast hot rod … that costs next to nothing to operate.
An Affordable Electric Hot Rod
Able to go from 0 – 60 mph in under five seconds and reach a top speed over 100 mph, the Lightning Electric looks like a car ripped from the pages of a 1940’s issue of Hot Rod Magazine. Despite its old-school looks, this electric two-seater is a truly modern speedster (it has no roof), equipped with modern high-performance brakes, modern suspension, and quick-ratio steering, giving this baby the goods to handle the streets as well as the strips.
At the unveiling of the Lightning Electric, Mark Kalish (president of EnviroTech) explained his vision of electric enthusiast rides, saying “I felt like the electric cars available aren’t that fun to drive. They’re just for transportation, a four-door sedan. I wanted something that would really bring back the real driving experience.”
Kalish’s Lightning, for the record, brings “the real driving experience” back with a vengeance!
The Lightning Electric’s range is about forty miles – which seems short, but is more than enough for a Sunday drive. Keeping the battery loads light pays off elsewhere, too – a fill up is relatively quick, and costs about 30 cents (compares to $9 for a 3 gallon = 40 mile V8 powered “hot rod” that would find keeping with Kalish’s Lightning easier said than done!).
The technology used in the Lightning isn’t “new” or “cutting edge”, and has more to do with the recent DIY-EV Convention crowd than the Hyundai/Toyota tech battle brewing across the Pacific. The proven technology used here, however, has been around for years – so reliability and ease of maintenance (and [arts availability!) aren’t issues. The Lightning Electric’s lead acid battery, for example, is readily available (and affordable!), even if it does lack the capacity (and sky-high pricetag!) of more modern lithium-ion batteries.
Kalish believes that once more hybrids are released on the market, lithium ion batteries will become more affordable. When that happens, EnviroTech will make the switch, which will increase the range of the Lightning. In the meantime, the current battery works perfectly, needing just an hour or two to recharge.
The Lightning is ideal for hot rod enthusiasts who like to roll up the garage door, push up their sleeves, and work on a car themselves. But Kalish says the design of the car is simple enough that a regular mechanic will have no problem conducting regular maintenance. “Like loading batteries in a flash light”, Kalish says.
Each of the Lightning Electrics sold will be built to order, and EnviroTech can produce four to five vehicles at a time, taking one year to manufacture them; Kalish anticipates that improving as orders increase. The Lightning can be customized according to a customer’s specifications, and has an average price of $28,000. Minus the federal tax credit for a plug in electric car, a complete Lightning Electric can cost just $20,000.
In 2012, Kalish plans on taking the Lightning Electric on one of America’s most challenging road races, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the second oldest motor sport race in America. A twelve mile circuit at high elevations is a struggle for some combustion engines, and these engines need adjustments to perform well. But the Lightening, an electric vehicle will not, as Nissan learned earlier this year with the electric LEAF.
Another electric hot rod is just what the world needs, and at a surprisingly affordable price compared to many of the other EVs out there. Does this appeal to the green hot rodder in you, or what!?
Source | Photos: EnviroTech.