One headache of owning a car that's nearly 50 years old can be maintaining an engine dating from the era of the sock hop. It's not that the powerplants of the era didn't have their charm, but by modern standards, emissions were alarming and fuel economy was barely even on the radar. But as JFE Engineering has demonstrated, you needn't choose between vintage beauty and zero-emission motoring - you can have it both ways!
The car you see here is a left-hand-drive Datsun Fairlady with a 40 kW electric motor installed. The articles we've found regarding the car are unclear as to whether the gas engine was removed, but given the "EV" designation on the side, we wager that the vehicle is fully electric. The Response.jp article says that the base Fairlady was a 1960 model, but given the body styling and the "SR311 EV" name, we'd venture that it dates from later in the 60s. Perhaps a more knowledgeable reader may be able to clear that question up. In any case, the car weighs 1130 kilograms, or 2491 lbs, likely a few hundred pounds over stock, depending on which model is the base model. What's porked the Fairlady up?
The reason JFE Engineering created this modified car was to exhibit its new rapid-charging battery system. JFE is very proud to inform you that this car's battery can be charged up to 80% in a mere 8 minutes. You can store 11 kilowatt-hours of juice in the lithium ion batteries, which are stuffed behind the seats and in the trunk. The so-called Super RAPIDAS charging system seems poised to address a lot of the concerns regarding lengthy charging times for EVs, but this technology needs to be equipped in the car battery as well and no current EV on the market can accommodate it yet. Even so, this is a rather eye-catching demonstration of the concept.
Similar to how Mitsubishi is promoting its i-MiEV, the car can use its batteries to act as an electric power source. The Response.jp pictures show the car powering a laptop, for example. The car also has air conditioning, heat, and air suspension. The well-hidden charging plug can be accessed by flipping up the rear license plate. We'd love to bring you more specs on the car or any driving impressions, but regrettably this is about all the information we've been able to dig up. JFE Engineering is very keen on promoting the battery technology but doesn't seem to be throwing the car at the motoring press to the extent that actual auto manufacturers often do. Here's hoping they let an intrepid journalist take it for a test drive soon!