Evonik Unveils Elise-E; The World's Lightest Electric Sports Car

Evonik Industries, an industrial corporation in Germany and one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals firms, unveiled
its lightweight electric Elise-E at CAR-Symposium 2012 in Bochum, Germany. The battery-powered Elise-E tips the scales at a scant 2,094 pounds, allowing its 150-kW electric motor to propel it from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds. Top speed is listed at 124 mph.

The Elise-E fuses the combined efforts Evonik, British automaker Lotus, and lithium-ion battery firm, Li-Tech Battery GmbH, which is a joint venture between Evonik and Daimler. Lotus’s platform has seen plug-in vehicle applications before: its chassis was used in the first-generation Tesla Roadster―which halted sales last year after Tesla finished its 2,500-unit run of Elise-based sports car―and the short-lived Dodge Circuit EV concept, which was part of the Chrysler’s now-disbanded ENVI electric vehicle program.

The Elise-E will showcase Evonik and Li-Tech’s CERIO battery technology, which features a light-weight ceramic separator membrane called SEPARION, which Evonik describes as “extremely thin and highly heat-resistant.” The patented separator draws on nanotechnology to allow for a compact design, which the company claims results in “high energy density at a low weight.”

Focusing on weight, Evonik Industries made use of its structural foam ROHACELL and carbon fiber to design a structure for the Elise-E that’s nearly 70 percent lighter than a comparable steel unit. In addition, the Elise-E features lightweight PLEXIGLAS side windows and unique lightweight, low-rolling resistance tires manufactured by Evonik.

The Elise-E truly showcases how the use of lightweight materials throughout a vehicle can result in a finished electric automobile that weighs less than 1,000 kilograms. In fact, Evonik says that the Elise-E is the “first-ever electrical sports car with a weight below 1,000 kg.”