Hamilton-built electric Mustang might be the world's craziest
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Few four-wheeled international platforms carry more symbolism than the Ford Mustang. America's most beloved sports car occupies a space where those who dare to mess with it do so at their own peril for fear of being charged with blasphemy.
On the surface of it, the idea of a Mustang powered by an electric engine would be a prime example of something set to ruin the mood of any of these die-hard fans. But maybe this electric Mustang -- christened "Project Craz-E-Horse" -- will be a different story.
It's being built by the experienced hands at Mitchell Race Xtreme in Hamilton, and will make its public debut at next weekend's CRC Speedshow at Auckland Showgrounds.
If all goes to plan, it's set to be the fastest road-legal electric car in the world.
"When the idea was pitched to me, I did kind of give it a sideways look," said car builder Nick Mitchell. "This is definitely different, but the concept is cool.
"A lot of people are screwing their nose up, but when you think that this car is going to do a 7.5-second quarter mile pass at 200mp/h, in theory, that's going to be impressive."
From left; Jacob Candler, Kyle Campbell and Nick Mitchell
Yes, 200mp/h, with a 7.5-second pass -- accelerating to 100km/h faster than a Formula 1 car along the way. And it will accomplish that while still being street legal.
What will make this possible is the state-of-the-art electric engine, no bigger than a couple of shoeboxes tied together. It's being sourced from one of the world's biggest names in electric cars -- John Metric from America's National Electric Drag Racing Association.
"I started talking to a few people overseas who could possibly help from a technical point of view, and I got on to a gentleman in the states called John Metric," said CRC Speedshow front man Ross Prevette.
"When you're talking about normal electric cars, they still use brush-style electric motors. When you start pushing a brush-style electric motor the brushes fail and your engine breaks. So what John has developed is a brushless, permanent magnetic DC motor.
"The technology isn't new, but the way he's built and packaged it is. It's something that's never been done before. Most guys who race electric cars will buy two motors and join them together. The problem with that is that normal brush motors are like a petrol engine -- they produce their maximum horsepower at a specific RPM -- normally about 2500rpm.
"What John's developed is a motor that will spin to 12000rpm, but it develops its maximum power and torque from zero all the way up to 11500rpm. That is unheard of."
With Speedshow just a matter of days away, the Mustang is almost complete, barring the engine that's still going through testing in the US.
The interior has been transformed into that of a caged and rather angry race-focused road car.
Racetech seats and harnesses and a multitude of red garnishes cut by Stainless Design underline the car's intentions inside, while enormous rubber and rear aero completes the look of a serious drag car. Although that rubber is set to be swapped out for a road-legal package sourced from The Bling Company when testing at Meremere Dragway gets under way in a few months.
And that's where some of the most difficult work in the build is set to kick in, says Mitchell.
"Getting all that power hooked up through the tyres and through the diff geometry is something that you need to pay attention to. All the componentry is basically the same as what we know, just bigger. Everything is bigger.
"Most of our builds are between 600-800hp and built to go around corners, this thing is 2000hp and 1400lb-ft of torque, on a light switch. With the help of Metric's specially designed controller, we should be able to adjust the rate of power delivery. Trying to get that thing to hook up is the biggest thing we need to focus on."
- CRC Speedshow, Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23
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