Top Gear Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust
BBC Top Gear's Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust was presented to the world in last night's television show, and to co-incide with the car's launch its makers issued a press release.
Judging by its length, the team spent longer writing the release than they did building the car, and it's printed below in all its hilarious detail.
For a slightly less biased view, you can download Autocar's road test, watch our test on video and see hi-res pictures here
THE HAMMERHEAD EAGLE i-THRUST - A NEW DAWN FOR ELECTRIC CARS
INTRODUCTIONThe Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust represents the start of an exciting future for the electric car, born from a desire to shake off the compromises of existing electric vehicles and to deliver a superior car for less than the price of its key rival, the G Wiz.
The Eagle i-Thrust is brand a new design, created and built entirely in the UK, and boasts an extraordinary combination of unique styling, sports car handling and an innovative propulsion system that harnesses a familiar battery-based electric powertrain in league with the dependable power of a diesel generator to provide maximum range and efficiency.
The Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust promises to shake off the dynamic compromises of existing electric vehicles, boasting a well-proven chassis from one of Britain’s leading sports car makers in league with direct, unassisted steering and – thanks to the aft location of the batteries – a rearward weight bias that will be familiar to any keen driver who has ever sampled the legendary Porsche 911.
STYLINGThe Eagle i-Thrust’s distinctive looks were created entirely in-house at Hammerhead’s Technology Centre in Oxfordshire, drawing inspiration from a wide range of influences outside of the car world, including sharks, fighter jets, leaves and the actor Peter Bowles.
However, the styling is not driven purely by aesthetics. It is also dictated by the innovative and simple way in which the shell is put together, giving substantial benefits in build efficiency and facilitating easy repairs in the event of damage.
The bodyshell itself is made from aluminium, chosen not only for its low weight but also for its crash characteristics and quality appearance, both of which are clearly superior to the glassfibre or plastic typically employed to form the bodies of the Eagle’s key electric car rivals.
POWERTRAINThe Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust uses a dependable Wales & Edwards 96 volt electric motor allied to a well proven 12 volt batteries. However, in an innovative move typical of this ingenious vehicle, these batteries are kept topped up by a smooth and adequately powerful diesel generator promising greatly enhanced range and usability.
CHASSISOne of the most remarkable aspects of the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust is that it progressed from first sketches to the first running example in considerably less than one month.
This rapid development time was possible thanks to the adoption of well-proven technology for the i-Thrust’s chassis, utilising the familiar and dependable backbone structure from the TVR Chimaera.
The immediate benefit of employing this respected sports car chassis is that it brings with it all-round double wishbone suspension, immediately lending the i-Thrust a sporty and dynamic ‘race car’ feel that is further enhanced by the retention of the donor car’s direct acting rack-and-pinion steering system.
In the interests of driving purity, the steering sensibly lacks power assistance, a rare touch in modern cars. The Eagle also retains the powerful and reassuring brakes of the original TVR. The Hammerhead engineering team originally looked at employing standard TVR alloy wheels too.
However, during early on-road testing with the first running prototype – known within the Hammerhead Technology Centre as ‘The Geoff’ – it was realised that tyres of a lower rolling resistance would bring significant gains in range and overall efficiency.
For this reason, the i-Thrust employs a typically innovative solution, boasting highly efficient XXX section tyres – as used on the famous Citroen 2CV – allied to attractive TVR space saver wheels.
This ingenious combination is typical of the lateral thinking and prudent use of well-proven parts that typifies the Eagle i-Thrust, in this case boosting efficiency without compromising the high levels of grip and progressive handing behaviour that keen drivers expect.
INTERIOROne of the most innovative features of the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust is undoubtedly its radical three abreast seating layout, inspired by the both the practicality of the Fiat Multipla and the sportiness of the legendary McLaren F1.
As with many aspects of the i-Thrust, implementing such a seating plan proved to be a technical challenge for the engineering team at Hammerhead’s Oxfordshire Technology Centre but it was a challenge they tackled with ease.
Chief amongst the problems posed by this radical layout was the question of how to accommodate the central seat atop the central backbone of the chassis underneath. The solution proved to be elegant in its simplicity, whilst also giving the i-Thrust one of its most distinctive design features – the unmistakable HeadBox™ which gives the central passenger an unrivalled view of his surroundings.
It is also a feature which speaks volumes about the innovation and radical thinking that is packed into the Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust.