Electric Cars Were The Future In 1973, But The Enfield 8000 Was Too Little Too Soon

Electric Cars Were The Future In 1973, But The Enfield 8000 Was Too Little Too Soon

In 1969, Enfield Automotive built its first prototype car, the 465. It was propelled by a 3 kW electric motor attached to a 48v battery. It was an adorably small two-seater with tiny wheels and sliding doors. Only three were made, but it was followed by the Enfield 8000. The 8000 was similar to the 465 but had twice the power: 6 kW or about 8 horsepower.

The lead-acid batteries were good for a range of around 40 miles (60 km), though Autocar found a usable range of only 25 (40km). The recharge time was about 8 hours. It could accelerate to 30 mph (48 km/h) in just under 16 seconds. Zero-to-sixty? Nope, top speed was only 48 mph (77 km/h).

It was built with a combination of British car parts, it used modified Mini doors, the rear axle was from the Reliant Robin, and some of the suspension came from a Hillman Imp. Forty miles of range and a top speed of 48 mph (77 km/h) proved to be less than acceptable for the motoring public and only 120 were built. Over half of them were bought by the country’s electricity boards to be used by its metre readers.

Many years later, EV tech progressed past lead-acid batteries and 6 kW of power. So much so that one man, Jonny Smith, swapped out the Enfield’s 8 horsepower motor for an 800 horsepower motor and built a 9-second drag racing car out of one.

This car really has everything you (I) could want in a vehicle: It’s a tiny car with an absurd motor swap. It was originally built many years ago by a small company with big dreams about the future. It does effortless burnouts, needs a wheelie bar, and is street legal.

The Enfield 8000 was a car ahead of its time. If you happen to find one for sale in your area, I urge you to buy it and motor swap a Zero motorcycle powertrain into one. Electric cars really are the future, and after many years, the future is here.

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