Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



First Drive: Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.

First Drive: Delta E-4 Coupé
British motorsport know-how and can-do attitude produce a surprisingly credible electric car, the Delta E-4.

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> Delta reviews

| First Drive | Silverstone, England | Delta E-4 Coupé |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

A tiny budget hasn't stopped UK's Delta Motorsports creating its impressive Delta E-4 Coupé electric car. If this is what can be achieved by a handful of people in a shed then we're wondering exactly why the mainstream manufacturers are dragging their heels with electric vehicles.

Key Facts

Pricing: £70,000 (approx)
Engine: two 120bhp electric motors
Transmission: automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: three-door coupé
Rivals: Tesla Roadster, Nissan LEAF
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Combined economy: range 140 miles
Top speed: 116mph
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Power: 240bhp
Torque: 442lb.ft

In the Metal: 3 3 3 3 3

Not metal, but carbon composites. Indeed, the Delta E-4's body weighs just 85kg, a fraction of what a comparable steel body might. Its styling is a strange mix of conventional cues and some odd detailing, with the sharply truncated rear its smartest feature. For such a tiny budget operation it's a convincing enough looking car and the build quality is impressive, too.

That's true inside as well, with the simple cabin featuring a touch screen centre console and clear instrumentation. It's tight on space, though access is made easier via the huge gullwing doors. The fixed-back seats are pretty seriously reclined too, which does make for a somewhat odd driving position, but the overall fit and finish is surprisingly good for a demonstration vehicle.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

The surprises keep coming when you drive the Delta E-4. The steering is direct, the acceleration brisk and brakes strong. As with so many small electric start-ups the Delta E-4 is aimed at an enthusiastic audience, so even the twin-motor rear-wheel drive 'eco' model can reach 60mph in 6.5 seconds (faster than a Golf GTI) on its way to a 140mph top speed. Opt for the, as yet to be built, four motor, four-wheel drive version and Delta Motorsports promises four seconds to 60mph and a 150mph top speed.

Just don't expect the battery to last too long if you're planning on using all the E-4's available performance. Driven very sensibly the eco model should cover 140 miles between charges, while the larger battery of the Sport model gives it a greater potential range of 200 miles. Driving the E-4 exclusively around Silverstone's Stowe circuit it's quick and quiet, and the body control is good. Unsurprisingly, given we're on a racing circuit, there are no potholes or bumps to really challenge the suspension, but the overall feel is of a nicely balance, well-judged all-rounder.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

The E-4 is as much a technological can-do as a serious showroom proposition, but Delta's people reckon that it could be put into production for a cost of around £70,000 for the eco model. That's a lot, but the E-4 boasts a pretty impressive technological specification - particularly its unique pressed carbon composite structure. Delta reckons if someone, or a manufacturer, can stump up some more money for additional development, then the E-4 could become reality.

Worth Noting

You'll need two extension leads to charge the E-4, as, oddly, you need two plugs to charge it up. It'll fill its batteries in eight hours, though a fast charge is possible in an hour with some new electrical hardware to provide ample power. Still, if you're investing in the car it might be worth spending a bit more on some thicker cables and a new junction box.

Summary

Despite the tiny budget Delta has built not just one, but five working examples of its E-4 coupé. That's a phenomenal achievement, particularly given how impressively finished the car is. Certainly some more investment would help speed up the Coupé's development, but if Delta can achieve so much on so little it really is a mystery why the mainstream makers don't all have at least one electric car in their showrooms. Any firm looking for a shortcut should perhaps look up Delta...


Kyle Fortune. Photography by Max Earey. - 13 May 2011



      - Delta road tests
- Delta news
- E-4 Coupé images

2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.

2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.



2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Delta E-4 Coupé. Image by Max Earey.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©