Former McLaren designer unveils new electric sports car
22 January 2009

This is the P1-E, a new British electric sports car created by former McLaren designer Jim Dowle.

The two-seat P1-E is a development of a petrol-powered model first revealed at the beginning of last year.

It’s inspired by the Lancia Stratos and Lotus Exige, but gets Mercedes SLR-style doors.

This new electric version of the P1 is powered by lithium-ion batteries, will reach 60mph in a claimed 2.9sec and will have a limited top speed of 130mph. The body will be made of lightweight composite panels over a carbonfibre and aluminium tub. The whole car will weigh 1055kg and have a range of 230 miles.

Dowle wants to place the emphasis of his new car on its handling. “A big part is to produce something people want to drive,” he said. “We hope it will raise the bar for electric vehicles.”

The P1-E will use a four-wheel-drive system to harness the 590lb ft of torque developed by the electric motors at either end of the chassis, with combined output for the twin motors expected to be 290kW (389bhp).

Dowle and his company JJAD already face considerable opposition from other electric sports car manufacturers such as Fisker and Tesla.

Production of the P1-E is still more than two years away, during which time Dowle believes technology will develop to allow the company to take the upper hand over its rivals.

“Tesla is a good benchmark, but the technology is moving fast. Our car will be more advanced than the Tesla,” said Dowle.

The company plans to develop three prototypes over the next few years, and believes close attention to detail will prevent them from running into the financial difficulties that many small-volume manufacturers face. “We’ve budgeted for everything,” said Dowle, “right down to the cleaner’s wages.”

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JJAD plans to build around 500 models of the £55k P1-E per year when it goes into production in 2012.

George Barrow

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