Dale Vince, the founder of Gloucestershire-based wind farm company Ecotricity, has paid a team of engineers £1 million (US$1.6 million) to transform a second-hand Lotus Exige into Britain's first road legal electric supercar, the Nemesis. The kicker is that £400,000 (US$646,000) of that £1 million was sourced from the British Government's Technology Strategy Board, with no plans as yet to put the vehicle into production.
"It looks totally inappropriate for a millionaire to be cruising around in a sports car funded, at least in part, by the rest of us." said campaign manager Fiona McEvoy of TaxPayer's Alliance.
Vince's engineers lengthened the chassis by 90 mm (3.54 inches) and traded in the Exige's 1.8 L engine and fuel tank for two brushless motors and 96 lithium-ion polymer cells. A new transmission was also fitted.
The Nemesis has a range of 100 to 150 miles (161 to 241 km) and can be recharged in just 2 hours using a fast charger or 8 to 9 hours from a standard wall socket. By utilising Ecotricity's network of 51 wind turbines, Mr. Vince's new toy is truly a zero emissions vehicle.
And that's not all. The Nemesis is allegedly good for a 0 to 100 mph (161 km/h) time of just 8.5 seconds, which is suspiciously faster than a Bugatti Veyron. It will also do 135 mph (217 km/h), though the company is hoping that it will soon beat the 139 mph (224 km/h) record for a British electric car.
So what of the unhappy taxpayers? Well, Mr. Vince has assured the British public that the technology will reach the market all in good time, in the form of a 250 mph (402 km/h) plus electric supercar and an electric tractor. To which I say, I'll believe it when I see it.
My verdict? Elon Musk shouldn't start selling Tesla stock just yet.
By Tristan Hankins