Today at Silverstone, I had a fascinating glimpse of the British motor industry’s future, in the form of a deeply impressive all-carbon, all-electric coupe called Delta E4. It was both moving and exciting.
The E4 has just been revealed by one of the UK’s new-wave of quick-thinking, quick-acting automotive consultancies, Delta Motorsport, who invited a bunch of hacks in for a first drive.
Delta’s two British principals, Nick Carpenter and Simon Dowson, spent three years dreaming up a “pet” low-carbon project, while working on other economy cars and motorsport projects. Then, starting in 2009, they took ‘way less than two years — and a paltry £750,000 of public money — to produce a run of five remarkably good-looking, capable and well finished little battery-powered E4 two-plus-twos. First of all they look great, because the styling was put in the hands of a design professional, but there’s much more to them than that. The car, financed by grants from the East Midlands Development Agency and the Technology Strategy Board, is rear-driven by a pair of Oxford YASA electric motors (made by another new young and thriving British company, based close to the Dreaming Spires as the name suggests). It is capable of a 0-60 mph sprint in 6.5 seconds. Top speed is 116 mph, the range is 140 miles and the kerb weight is an amazingly low 975 kg despite the fact that the 32kW/h battery pack weighs around 350kg.