The future of drag racing is definitely electric cars. That may seem like heresy to a lot of people, but if you’ve watched the Tesla P85D blowing away American muscle cars like the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, you’ll know why I feel the way I do. But you don’t need a Tesla to dominate the drag strip, as the UK’s Johnny Smith.
Transport Evolved wrote an excellent piece on Johnny’s custom made dragster based on a 1975 Enfield Electric car. Not only is the Enfield lighter today than it was 40 years ago, but it also packs over 1,000 horsepower in a diminutive body christened the “Flux Capacitor”. That’s a heckuva lot more power than the 6 ponies the Enfield was originally rated at, though that’s far from the only improvement.
A lithium-ion battery pack made from 144 Kokam cells with 600 kW and 2,000 amps feeds two Current Racing electric motors cranking out as much as 1,003 horsepower and 1,200+ ft-lbs of torque. All that in a car with a wheelbase of 68 inches, about half the wheelbase of the of the Tesla Model S, while weighing a whole lot less too. In fact, the 85 kWh battery pack weighs almost as much as the entire Flux Capacitor.
Weighing just 150 lb, the Kokam battery pack assembled by Hyperdrive actually helps make the Flux Capacitor lighter than the original Enfield Electric it was based on; 1945 lbs today, compared to 2,150 back in ‘75. 1,000 horsepower and less than a ton of weight? That sounds like the kind of car that should be shooting off single-digit drag runs, but alas, Johnny has yet to run the Flux Capacitor at full power. A race against the Black Current electric Beetle ended predictably in the Vdubs favor, but the Flux Capacitor
His best run yet was a 12.62 in the quarter-mile at 101 MPH, though he’s only allowing about 70% of its potential to come to bear. If he turns it up to full-power, it should easily be able to out pace cars like the Tesla P85D, and perhaps even give the Assault and Battery electric Miata a run for its money. I can’t wait to see it line up against some unsuspecting muscle machines.
I’d highly recommend reading the whole Transport Evolved piece for a more in-depth look at Johnny Smith’s tiny electric sleeper. It demonstrates just how much potential electric cars have for performance and motorsports. The age of the combustion engine is coming to an end.