The Lotus Chronicles

bare tub

side view

Well, it looks like it’s time to start logging the progress on the Lotus.  It is an Electric Vehicle (EV) build project that I have been planning for quite a while and now that some other things like the hydroponics and the scooter and soon Sparky are up and running, I can turn my attention to the next thing.

It will be a real undertaking.  There is a fiberglass tub of a ’74 Lotus Elite which includes the doors and power windows and little else.  It has been otherwise gutted.  The Lotus was built like a boat in an upper and lower half which were glued together.  A Steel subframe then held the motor and suspension components in place.  I don’t have the subframe.  The nightmare is that I will essentially be building a car except for the body.  The cool thing is that I get to build the whole car except the body!  I can build it to my specs!  Forget modifying a gas car to function as an electric.  Just throw most of the stuff out and start over!

I have a few components already.  The drivetrain is a 11″ Kostov motor mated to a VW clutch and transmission both rated for 500 ft/lbs of torque.  The motor makes just over 400 ft/lbs at 1000 amps.  The rear suspension is out of a Porsche 944 turbo with aluminum control arms which will probably be modified for a coilover shock.  I should have the finished and assembled rear suspension components in a few days.  The fun part is going to be setting up the rear sub-frame and locating the mounting points for the transmission and control arms.  For that I have a VW Super beetle on a trailer in my backyard to use as a reference point.  Sorry neighbors, but it will be gone soon.

The front end is a drag racing setup based on a Ford Mustang II geometry.  This should be a bit easier to set up though I am still worried about the positioning of the upper control arms.  The spindles are from a Pinto mating to a custom hub from Aerospace Components with as big a rotor as I can fit inside a 15″ rim.  The cool thing about their stuff is that almost everything they make is billet aluminum and ridiculously light.  The brakes are manual and there will be no need for a vacuum pump in this vehicle.  The wheels will be the old Porsche “phone dial” rims.  Kind of ugly, but made of a magnesium/aluminum alloy and very light and strong.  The tires will be some LRR (Low Rolling Resistance) type TBD although I think a set of drag radials may be usefull at some point.

Beyond that, it needs a new windshield, a whole new interior, door latches and on and on.  The body needs some minor work although everything that was steel on this thing has to be re-made in aluminum except for the side impact bars in the doors which need to be taken out, sand-blasted and powdercoated.

Major components still to be procured are a Soliton 1 controller and a Manzanita Micro charger.  The batteries will be bought last and make will depend on what appears to be best at the time that the project is ready.  Basically, I wlll build the car first, test it out on a small, low voltage, lead battery pack and then buy and fit about 30kWhr of lithium batteries.  There will be air conditioning!  ducting and control will be handled by likely a “Vintage Air” system with one of a few electric compressors being fitted.

Another fun project will be the management of most on board systems with either a tablet or touchscreen computer.  It will manage the charger, controller, entertainment, GPS and internet.  I won’t be doing much of the work on that part of the project.  I have a neighbor who does I.T. and loves a challenge.  He has already started the basic research.

This will be a huge project.  It will likely take about two years if not three.  In the end it should beat most production cars from 0-60 and go 100 miles on a charge and do it in comfort with reliability.  Of course there are a lot of details that I have left out  which will be covered later.  Feel free to comment and as time goes on and things get done I will keep you up to date.  I may not publish on this page every week or two, but when something interresting gets done I will try to write about it.


Motor, clutch, adaptor and transmission

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