The team over at On Point Dyno — led by Sacha Anis — has built a custom fully electric Lotus Evora dubbed Blue Lightning that is powered by the drive unit from a Tesla Model S 85 and a 32 kWh battery pack from a Chevy Volt.
On Point decided to build the car because they are passionate about the transition to electric vehicles and are using the project to learn about them in order to maximize the performance that can be extracted from electric vehicles. Blue Lightning is a completely custom-built car that was put together (into its current state) in just 5 months — though, it is still not fully completed.
Project lead Sacha Anis summarized why he was compelled to use the car as a platform to bring the climate change discussion to the forefront (emphasis mine):
“One comment that resonated with me through the recent election process was the notion that politicians don’t lead, they follow. So if enough of us have climate change at the forefront of our minds, and are vocal about it, politicians will take more action to get things done to speed the process to stop emissions.”
The video below makes it clear that the drive unit from the Model S has more than enough power to boost this little beast up to lightspeed in no time flat. The reviewer may or may not have injured himself in the process of making the clip (due to the torquey acceleration of Blue Lightning). Because one of the core focus areas of the project is performance, the team isn’t satisfied just yet with a goal of achieving faster lap times than a Porsche 991 GT3, in addition to attracting more attention and ‘looking better’ (though, this last one is clearly a bit subjective).
The team put a lot of work into programming the Evora with a completely custom motor controller, which it developed around the Motec M150. It has been supercharged with custom firmware and allows nearly full control of the electronics in the vehicle. The company also built some nice OEM-like displays that utilize the factory controls and feature a custom startup screen. It’s really well done and makes it clear that the team put a ton of time and effort into giving the car a factory feel with all the performance of a track car.
One impressive feature in the car is regenerative paddle shifting that enables the driver to bring the car to a complete stop with the paddles alone. This is something we saw and shared in our review of the 2017 Chevy Volt and is a feature I expect to become more and more common in EVs as manufacturers and drivers fully realize the improvement to the driving experience it makes.
The Evora charges up in 10 hours on a 3.3 kW charger but the team is working to integrate CHAdeMO DC fast charging, which will enable an 80% charge in just 35 minutes. The 32 kWh battery pack is loaded in just behind the passenger seats and currently allows quite a bit of motor noise into the cabin, as there is no insulation or firewall shielding it from the passenger cabin. Plans are in place to correct this. There’s a custom carbon fiber enclosure in the works that will surely look amazing and add a pop of supercar luxury to the interior.
The cooling system is completely custom. In its current state, it leaves a ton of spare room in what used to house the engine. On the heating side, the team has tapped into the heat generated by the drive unit, which, in combination with the heater core, provides cabin heat through the factory climate control system.
What does the future hold for Blue Lightning? The team clearly has some work to do on the aesthetics of the interior as well as a few more functional upgrades, like power steering and better brakes. Stay current on the project over at Lotus Forums or over on the official Blue Lightning project page.
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