Wrightspeed X1

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X1 Prototype
ProductionNone, prototype only
DesignerIan Wright
Body and chassis
Body styleOpen wheel roadster
LayoutRear mid-motor, rear-wheel drive
PlatformAriel Atom
RelatedAriel Atom, tzero
Electric motor3-phase, 4-pole AC Induction
TransmissionSingle gear ratio 8.25:1 (no clutch)
Wheelbase2345 mm / 92.3 in
Length3410 mm / 134.25 in
Width1798 mm / 70.8 in
Height1195 mm / 47.0 in
Curb weight697 kg / 1536 lb

The Wrightspeed X1 is a one-off Ariel Atom heavily modified to use an all-electric powertrain. The Atom was chosen for its light weight and efficient design. The electric motor and inverter are sourced from AC Propulsion, makers of the TZero concept car, while the batteries are low weight, high energy density lithium ion provided from A123 Systems. As with the Atom the transmission is a Honda unit, but stripped of its shifting mechanism and other parts to provide only the second gear speed, allowed by the wide speed and torque range available from the electric motor.

Built by San Francisco-based New Zealand engineer Ian Wright, the X1 created a stir when it bested several sports cars in a drag race, including a Carrera GT (even with a rolling start, an advantage for the gas burning vehicles), all while being filmed by local news station KRON 4. Despite the impressive performance, the vehicle is intended only as a proof of concept. Future production is planned; however, according to the website, "... the production car will be quite different, since it will meet the safety standards, which the prototype does not. It will, however, be at least as quick as the prototype.". Mr. Wright was a co-founder of electric-car company Tesla Motors, but has since left to pursue his own ideas.


  • 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) 2.9 seconds[1]
  • Standing 400 m (14 mile) 11.6 seconds
  • Top speed 167 km/h (104 mph) (electronically limited)
  • Range greater than 160 km (100 miles) in urban use
  • Charger: onboard conductive. Input 100–250 V 50 or 60 Hz
  • Current: user adjustable up to 80 A
  • Energy consumption 120 W⋅h/km (200 W⋅h/mi) in urban use, equivalent to 170 mpg‑US (1.4 l/100 km; 200 mpg‑imp) or 33,705 W⋅h/US gal (8,905 W⋅h/L; 40,480 W⋅h/imp gal)

The X1 prototype (various technical images)[edit]

Most of these images are applicable to the Ariel Atom

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Specifications | Wrightspeed Inc". Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2013.

External links[edit]