Bell bottoms and oversized collars from the 1970s might strike some as kitschy, but the concept of an urban electric vehicle pioneered by UK-based Enfield during the early part of that decade remains current. With Nissan starting production of its all-electric Leaf in Sunderland in the UK earlier this year, the BBC recounts the brief history of a car that it says was ahead of its time.
The car's squat styling and performance may seem dated by today's standards but the Enfield 8000, which was borne out of a 1966 competition conducted by the United Kingdom Electricity Council, used its eight six-volt battery monoblocks to power the vehicle to a top speed of 48 miles per hour. And while the car's drag coefficient was tested to be better than that of a Porsche, it took a little over 12 seconds to get from 0 to 30 mph. And it cost about twice as much as a Mini at the time.
The Enfield moved production to Greece in 1973 and ceased operations in 1976 because of slow sales. A few remain in the hands of collectors, and UK journalist Jonny Smith touted his '74 Enfield last year, saying at the time that he planned to drop a more powerful electric motor into the car. He even named it the Flux Capacitor in honor of the time-traveling DeLorean in "Back to the Future." If you'd like to go on your own falshback, check out an 83-second video on the original Enfield below.