(if a car is not pictured here, it has been sold)

Electric Bugeye Sprite first drive, videos

This is one of the best cars we have ever built.

How could this be? Am I really claiming that a completely electric powered vehicle is better than our best gas-powered wonder? Well, if I told you we had an iconic classic car that needed a fraction of the maintenance of its petrol brethren, always started, leaked no oil, never overheated and never needed another gearbox rebuild, wouldn’t that interest you?

And I haven’t even gotten to the performance… this thing is a rocket. Imagine squeezing the throttle and inducing oversteer any time you want, with acceleration times finally getting in the neighborhood modern vehicles. This car gets to 60 mph faster our best 1275 supercharged Bugeye. Faster with fewer headaches is no small feat.

You DO have to keep it charged. There is that minor detail. Sparky needs to be plugged-in every 100 or so miles, or you will get to tow or push home this car (just like any gas-powered Bugeye). It does have “limp home” mode, which automatically activates when your power level gets below 30%, and it drives you home at 30% of normal HP (a mode in which it is still quite a bit faster than a 948 Bugeye).

We have fit the car with a 110 receptacle in the fuel filler cap that will take any household extension cord. We’ve also fit a 220 fast charger, so you can revitalize the power plant in as little as a few hours if a 220 wall charger is or public charging station is available. These home wall units BTW are about $300 and require a 220 line. So, yes, you do have to keep it charged, but don’t most Bugeye owners generally make sub-100 mile trips anyway?

I did not expect to be so smitten by this car. Perhaps it is the balance-the car feels light and neutral, we got the weight bias right. Or it’s instant acceleration at all throttle settings. These are very seductive qualities. But I am most smitten about how much better this performs than the gas powered equivalent. To get this kind of performance from a gas Bugeye is very hard, almost precarious. Every system starts to suffer when you push gas Bugeyes to these performance levels. They were not designed to handle more than 100 HP (remember the stock 948 engine was about 45 HP. But this electric drivetrain is not being taxed at all when you press the throttle to the floor. Nor is the clutch suffering, or anything else. This feels like it can take it, and will be able to take it for generations to come. We’ll let you know as we build some test miles…

When you drive this car, you start to understand why so many major performance car companies are using electric motors in their new supercars. The technology is that good.

I had a long talk today with one of our typical customers, late 60s male, grew up around British cars, now owns a Westfield Eleven, Bugeye and Big Healey, and loves these cars because they evoke the sounds, smells and sometimes problems that remind him of his youth, and great adventures he had before the age of the Internet, cell phones (and maybe even fast food). When I asked him about the electric Bugeye, he replied, “keep your day job.” For this man, an electric Bugeye sounds about as attractive as a vacation in Baghdad.

I imagine a few of you readers probably feel the same way. And don’t worry, we will continue to build great dinosaur drive Bugeyes with the same enthusiasm. In fact, we have petro-cars in our shop from all over the country for sorting, that will keep us busy for the next three months. But it’s difficult to disregard electric drive when it works this well.

We will next complete the cosmetics on the FrogE, and finish detailing a number of fun accents to give this unlikely recipient of high tech wonders some dirty fingernails (and a Prince of Darkness sense of humor) of it’s own.

It is, after all, only a Bugeye.

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