The spirit of Colin Chapman lives on in the new age of electric cars. Chapman was famous for making cars that were minimalistic — an engine, four wheels, brakes, and a seat. Go have fun. His ideas continue to influence the world of sports cars even today. The original Lotus 7 has morphed into the Caterham 7, but it is still the same lightweight, high performance car it ever was.
Recently, we have seen a number of cars that follow in the footsteps of Colin Chapman, whose motto always was, “To go faster, add lightness.” The Ariel Atom is perhaps the best known. It uses a external tube frame that is super light and super strong. No doors, roof, windows, or built in touchscreen. It is just a raw edged, all out assault on the senses and a recipe for incredible fun behind the wheel.
Kyburg, a Swiss manufacturer has now taken the idea behind the Ariel Atom and translated it into a street legal open wheel, open cockpit electric car. Well, perhaps “car” is not quite the right word. Then again, go kart doesn’t seem to do it justice either. It calls its creation the eRod and it comes in three configurations — Basic, Fun, and Race.
The eRod in Basic form has a 10 kWh battery and a 60 horsepower electric motor. There are 103 lb-ft of torque on tap and it has a range of 43 miles. Top speed is 75 miles an hour and recharging the battery takes 6 hours. The Fun version is essentially the same except the battery size is increased to 17.3 kWh. Range is 80 miles and recharging time increases to 10 hours.
But if you really want to enjoy your electric motoring, specify the Race model. It has a 39 kWh battery and a range of 137 miles. The Race spec eRod comes with a larger electric motor that cranks out 225 lb-ft of torque and 201 horsepower. It can drive at speeds up to 81 mph.
The eRod made its first public appearance at the Geneva auto show. Unfortunately, we have no information about prices or availability. It seems unlikely it will ever find its way to the US. But the idea is out there. It won’t be long before some smart entrepreneur builds something like the eRod for American drivers. When it does, I volunteer to be the first to give it a thorough test drive. A week should be enough!