Zytek better than Tesla? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Zytek better than Tesla?

Hey all,

I didn't realize this but a British company, Zytek, made an all-electric Elise long before Tesla ever did - over a decade earlier (produced 1998 to 2003)... Using technology of the day, 25 NiCd-based batteries produced 200HP, and had a range of up to 120 miles. It could be charged in under an hour! In addition, it weighed under 2000lbs, and did 0-90 in just over 11 seconds (quicker than the Lotus Elise of the time).

In some respects the Tesla is better, but they've got 15 years of technology improvements. However, the quick recharge time, the low weight (not a lardy 2800lbs) and the adequate range (what's 120 miles vs Tesla's 250 miles? Really it's only commute-distance anyway since it takes 4 hours to charge on a 240V supply), makes this a pretty good deal.

Oh yeah, and it cost about the same as a regular Elise (not a 100% Tesla mark-up!).

I don't believe Time magazine gave Tesla a "best invention" award (twice), considering - at best - they "improved" on a concept that was identical to theirs! The cleverest thing is really the battery system, and that's using off-the-shelf Li-ion batteries (standard 18650 form factor no less) wired in a huge series/parallel circuit with some clever monitoring to ensure even discharge/charge cycles.

Yes, Tesla did improve on many things (with some major drawbacks like weight), but it's definitely not as innovative as hyped...

[/rant]

Thanks!

S.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 01:13 AM
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http://www.zytekgroup.co.uk/Default.aspx?tid=120


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 07:42 AM
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Very interesting...
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 08:32 AM
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 09:15 AM
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Where is this company now?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-07-2010, 09:33 AM
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wow, never heard of Zytek before.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 04:52 AM
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I like to see these guys make an electric car, tell me that's not a cool car logo and slogan....

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent ONE View Post
Where is this company now?
Still very much in business:

Zytek Group Ltd > Home

Tesla are backed by huge monetary interests (Google, former eBay president, etc) which require a profit. Arguably this is a good thing because it means electric vehicles will get traction as a viable product. However, I feel that had Zytek decided to continue, they would be better able to provide a good product.

"Engineering company vs profit-driven Corporation". Point in case, Zytek presented their vehicle for the first time to the SAE (where it won an award, but no press conference), whereas Tesla had their launch party at a Santa Monica airport (near Hollywood, even though their offices are in Northern California) to a bunch of prospective customers and press. You never heard about Zytek because the emphasis was on Engineering - not Marketing. Bill Gibson at Zytek had a specific requirement - keep the weight down to the same as stock. Not follow the muscle car model of "who cares how heavy - straight-line thrill speed is all that matters"

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Mitsubishi Evolution IX MR SE: RRE Custom Straight Through Exhaust, RRE Custom Downpipe, Kelford 272 Cams, SuperTech Dual Springs, RC 1200cc injectors, Synapse DV, SE High-Flow Intake, Walbro 416LPH Fuel Pump, Tactrix 3-port BCS, Dual-Map E85 tune - 450WHP
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2010, 03:20 AM
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Gas was also ~$1.00/gal. around 1998 when the S1 electric Elise was devised.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2011, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rom View Post
"Engineering company vs profit-driven Corporation". .... You never heard about Zytek because the emphasis was on Engineering - not Marketing. Bill Gibson at Zytek had a specific requirement - keep the weight down to the same as stock....
Sorry but the best engineered product is worthless without sales.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 08:25 AM
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I love the no nonsense efficiency of Lotus. They are a skunk-works operating on a shoestring budget and the Series 1 electric Elise is a case in point. While working for Conoco back in the '90s I remember seeing a write-up of the electric Elise and re-fell in love with Lotuses. In 2006 I finally realized a dream and bought a Series 2 Elise.

You may find it interesting that while visiting Lotus on business in 2006, we brought up the electric Elise several times only to get barely an acknowledgement that it ever existed. I was told later by our Lotus rep. that the Tesla was under full development at the time and that a working prototype was just a few doors down under electronic lock and key. Lotus works under strict confidentiality. Most of their projects are hidden from view to preserve the brand of the clients who hire them. Two of the more notable handling projects were the 2001 A-M Vanquish and the Nissan GT-R.

The Rackman chassis for the Elise and its derivatives has been the platform for many energy-efficient vehicles including the Dodge electric Europa, the Opel Speedster diesel record holder, the Infinity Emerge-E (Evora), and the Elise and Tesla electrics. I always wonder why GM bothered to develope the EV1 chassis when they could have bought an Elite monocoque and saved themselves a lot of trouble.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
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Gas was also ~$1.00/gal. around 1998 when the S1 electric Elise was devised.
Not in the UK it bloody wasn't!


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rom View Post
Still very much in business:

Zytek Group Ltd > Home

Tesla are backed by huge monetary interests (Google, former eBay president, etc) which require a profit. Arguably this is a good thing because it means electric vehicles will get traction as a viable product. However, I feel that had Zytek decided to continue, they would be better able to provide a good product.

"Engineering company vs profit-driven Corporation". Point in case, Zytek presented their vehicle for the first time to the SAE (where it won an award, but no press conference), whereas Tesla had their launch party at a Santa Monica airport (near Hollywood, even though their offices are in Northern California) to a bunch of prospective customers and press. You never heard about Zytek because the emphasis was on Engineering - not Marketing. Bill Gibson at Zytek had a specific requirement - keep the weight down to the same as stock. Not follow the muscle car model of "who cares how heavy - straight-line thrill speed is all that matters"
$465M - I'll say!! Except about the profit part. Not necessary if using taxpayer funding: https://lpo.energy.gov/?projects=tesla-motors
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 10:40 PM
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Wow, a thread resurrection.
Another interesting thing about Zytek is their part in developing a hybrid GT racer for LeMans in 1998, and a podium finish in their hybrid LMP1 car in 1999.
Tell that to the Audi guys.

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