Last year, former McLaren designer Jim Dowle presented his P1 prototype sports car to great acclaim. The response at the time was tremendous. This singularly striking vehicle was conceived as an affordable sports model and as a potential challenger to the Lotus Exige.
In the intervening period, Dowle has taken his initial design forward and the P1 has now become the P1-E. The letter E stands for the electric drivetrain and thus for the first sports car powered by an electric motor. By moving in this direction, its designer has bowed to current sentiment and lined his project up under the 'green car' banner. The drivetrain with its lithium-ion batteries and twin electric motors powering all four wheels doesn't exactly come cheap: the price is likely to be around the $75,000 mark. The acceleration figures are sensational: 0 to 60mph in 2.9 seconds. The range between recharges is 230 miles. The four-wheel drive provides the vehicle with maximum traction. A regenerative braking system on each wheel comes as standard.
Dowle says of the P1's further development: "Up to now, cars with electric motors have not exerted any great attraction for motoring enthusiasts. We set out to bring an affordable electric sports car onto the market, one that would combine all the advantages of a conventional machine with those of electrical drive technology, at the same time dispensing with all the disadvantages of both. In short, we wanted to build a car for the 21st century." The P1-E prototype is due to be presented some time this year; however, there are a few funding issues to sort out first.