Friday, April 14, 2006

When slot cars grow up

front "wheel well" of the X-1
Originally uploaded by thomas pix.
How many times in your life are you asked if you'd like to take a spin around the block in a car that goes 0-60 in 3 seconds? My guess is no more than once, so of course I said yes.

And I still haven't stopped smiling from my two minutes in the passenger seat of the Wrightspeed X1 (be sure to check out the video on the Wrightspeed web site showing the X1 out-drag a Ferrari 360 Spider and a Porsche Carrera GT). While the site tells you it's a startup using "ultra clean technology" to produce highly energy efficient performance cars, the real thing is so much more than that.

The X1 is a 1500-lb street legal prototype with Lithium-ion batteries and a high-power electric motor. When you sit in the X1, your butt is all of 6 inches off the ground, so the sensation of speed is already baked in, even if you're only going 15 miles an hour. Of course, we went faster than that, but nowhere near as fast as the bragged-about "to 80mph and back in a city block" (we made it to 50 and back, taking it easy). The acceleration is snap-your-neck-back quick, and the whole thing's just so damn quiet.

See my full X1 Flickr set for more pix.

And here's a video from YouTube:

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