‘Wind-powered’ Nemesis gets public lift-off !

The much-talked about ‘wind-powered’ Ecotricity Nemesis sportscar was publicly unveiled for the first time at a special preview in London last night (November 4) ahead of its first outing on public roads tomorrow at the RAC Future Car Rally.

The 170mph circa £700,000 prototype designed by Peter Stevens is based on a Lotus Exige bought on Ebay and will be driven by tree-hugging petrolhead Ecotricity Owner Dale Vince as he attempts to successfully complete the 60-mile rally taking place on Saturday November 6 2010 from Brighton to London.

The Nemesis is dubbed a ‘wind-powered’ car, not because of any electricity-generating onboard wind turbines but because all of the energy used to power its twin electric motors collectively capable of 330bhp will be sourced from the renewable wind energy power supplier Ecotricity.  The company's graphic use of the Union Jack, in grey tones this time instead of their usual greens, was strewn over the car highlighting Vince's 'Made in Green Britain' slogan.

The donor car has changed significantly over the 18-month project to accommodate its new EV powertrain and eco mission, as Stevens exclusively told Green Car Design:

“For a start it’s got a longer wheelbase by 90mm so the rear body’s different which meant we could clean up some of the lines that were a bit awkward. The back is longer and we’ve lowered and moved the tail with a different kind of diffuser to reduce drag, not to create downforce. All the ducting at the front is different too and behind the seats is a carbon Kevlar box which is the battery container.”

Other eco elements include the replacement of the drag-creating air ducts in front of the original Exige’s rear wheels with an extra wind-cheating panel and a front bonnet panel made with a biodegradable resin that utilises hemp.

The design and engineering team behind the Nemesis has a vast experience in building Le Mans cars among others and says the car has better weight distribution than the petrol-powered Exige because the centre of gravity is lower down and further forward due to the battery placement, so the handling should be better. Although still a one-off prototype the 1166kg car has a complete Alcantara-clad interior (replete with embroidered headrests) and claims a 0-62mph time of around 4.4 seconds and just 8.5 seconds to 100mph.

The future of the vehicle is firstly as Vince’s personal car, secondly to break the current EV world speed record of 139mph in 2011 and thirdly to help develop a future 250mph+ electric supercar and electric tractor (!)