First look at the Delta E-4 CoupéNew 150mph all-electric British sports car

30 April 2011

Delta E-4 Coupé

The Delta E-4 Coupé is lightweight thanks to a carbon fibre construction

Silverstone-based Delta Motorsport has announced it is to launch an all-electric sports car called the Delta E-4 Coupé.

Designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, the Delta E-4 Coupé combines lightweight construction and slippery aerodynamics to offer a sporty drive and a 250-mile range.

Want to know more about electric cars? Read our electric cars guide to find out more about running costs, ranges and government grants.

Delta E-4 Coupé: carbon fibre bodywork

At present the Delta E-4 is powered by a pair of 118bhp electric motors driving the rear wheels – though the design would allow for an all-wheel drive version with four motors. It can hit 60mph in less than five seconds, and go on to 150mph.

Delta Motorsport describes it as an ULEnV – an Ultra Low Energy Vehicle. This is in contrast to Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEV); the difference being you can put batteries and electric motors in anything, but to achieve genuinely low energy usage you need to start from the ground up. Hence the E-4 Coupé.

Unlike traditional cars, the E-4's chassis has been constructed from carbon fibre composite. This reduces its weight to just 85kg - two-thirds lighter than it would be if it were a conventional material. Carbon fibre is very strong as well as very light, however, so the E-4 is expected to easily meet EU crash test standards.

Long the preserve of exotic supercars, you can expect to see much greater use of carbon fibre among mainstream manufacturers within the next few years for these very reasons. It is a more expensive material at present, but the price will fall as more carmakers use it.

Read more reviews of sports cars

Delta E-4 Coupé: fun to drive

As well as being hi-tech, Delta Motorsport is promising the E-4 will be fun to drive.

Its electric motors have been developed by a subsidiary of Oxford University – Oxford YASA Motors – and weigh just 23kg apiece while providing a massive 442lb ft of instant torque (pulling power).

They’re powered by batteries located low down in the vehicle floor, and since these are the heaviest part of the vehicle they give the E-4 a very low centre of gravity – good for both handling and stability.

The E-4 Coupé is said to seat four in comfort, and the cabin is accessed via a pair of large, forward-hinged doors.

Delta E-4 in action

Development of the car has been supported by a grant from the Regional Development Agency for the East Midlands area (EMDA), while Delta has built five examples for the Technology Strategy Board Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Program.

These are part of the EEMS (Energy Efficient Motorsport) Accelerate consortium, which aims to showcase high performance electric vehicles with cutting edge British design and engineering.

There is no word on pricing or availability just yet, but Delta is holding a full press launch – including test drives – for the E-4 Coupé next month.

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