UK battery tech company Nyobolt have got together with design and engineering business Callum, to develop a nimble and lightweight sportscar that can showcase its ultra-fast charging battery technology. Designed by Julian Thomson and developed and executed by Callum together with Nyobolt, the Nyobolt EV is set to feature the Cambridge-based company’s new advanced battery technology that can charge fully in less than six minutes.
“Unlocking the challenges faced by electric vehicle designers has been key to the development of our breakthrough fast-charging batteries,” said Sai Shivareddy, CEO at Nyobolt. “Previously, enabling a light weight fast-charging vehicle was not possible without compromising its lifetime, and so people have been relying on costly and large battery packs in the vehicle. With our unique technology we have achieved a six-minute charge car, and developed smaller battery packs that can deliver more power and charge in less time.”
Nyobolt approached revered car designer, Julian Thomson back in 2021, when he was still working as a freelance designer before being appointed design director at GM Advanced Design Europe, and he invited Callum – best known for creating bespoke and limited-edition products across art, audio, automotive, fashion and motorsport brands – to see the design through to execution. Thomson’s natural starting point was the Lotus Elise, which since its release in September 1996, he has always wanted to evolve and modernise.
“Nyobolt’s pioneering battery technology has provided us with a unique and inspiring opportunity to support in the design and execution of a vehicle set to mark the way forward for EV technology,” said David Fairbairn, managing director at Callum. “The collaborative creativity, engineering capabilities and steadfast efforts of Nyobolt, Julian Thomson and Callum have resulted in an EV that is not only exciting technically for the industry, but something that is beautiful to behold, too.”
The best of both worlds
The Nyobolt EV is the result of this collaboration – a sports car with greater presence and exaggerated proportions. Sitting on 19” wheels all around, its low-slung body 100mm wider and 150mm longer than its inspiration, while maintaining an aggressive attitude and hunkered stance that’s reminiscent of the original. The wide front track quickly rolls into the body and back out again into muscular rear haunches with signature ‘duck tail’, creating a unique hourglass shape.
Particular attention was paid to developing the vehicle’s taut surfaces with a focus on structural, clean lines for its lightweight composite panels. The car’s waistline has been lifted, further exaggerating the Nyobolt EV’s bold proportions and striking ‘down road graphic’. Crisper parting lines for the front and rear clams and contoured sills reflect the Elise’s originals, alongside the front and rear cooling intake graphics. A contrasting rigid composite roof panel can be unbolted and removed for an open-top motoring.
Bespoke front and rear LED lamps afford a sleek and lighter lamp graphic. Maintaining the iconic roundel shape at the rear, modern technology has allowed the addition of a solid beam of light that slices horizontally through the body. At the front, the lamps are without lenses – a nod to the original – with a mesh-covered aperture at the rear of the unit to provide additional cooling to the front fans. Ducts within the rear lamps allow further heat dispersion.
Callum opted for bespoke HD ultra-low latency cameras as a more elegant and effective visibility solution to see over the rear haunches than the carry over Rover parts found on the original. A Type 2 charging port is discreetly located in the B pillar behind a flap on the right-hand side of the car.
“The aim was to evolve the design and bring it up to date while keeping that iconic sports car character that was so well received in the Elise,” said Aleck Jones, creative lead at Callum. “Typically, you run into feasibility issues with initial sketches and a design loses impact as it moves from concept into reality, but incredibly – and thanks to the close working relationship between Callum’s design and engineering teams – we have been able to realise our early images and unique vision in the real world.
“Nyobolt’s technology allows this car to tick all the boxes that made the original Elise such a desirable drivers’ car with a cult following, but it’s electric. These two things don’t usually come together due to weight and battery packaging constraints.”
Accessibility for all
Targeting an industry solution to charging, battery materials supply and degradation, Nyobolt reveals new battery technology that is smaller, lighter, and faster to charge. In the Nyobolt EV, set to weigh close to one tonne, this translates into a 35kWh battery that is capable of fully charging in just six minutes with existing charging infrastructure, delivering a range of up to 250km. Additionally, the battery has been tested for over 2,000 fast charging cycles without significant performance loss.
Nyobolt’s ready-to-deploy technology, which will go into production in early 2024, unlocks this ‘holy grail’ through a proven 10C (six-minute) charge lithium-ion technology that is capable of immediate application and rapid scale-up. This breakthrough translates to a nimbler, more efficient EV with a lower up-front cost, lower running costs and lower use of scarce raw material.
Working alongside the design team and Nyobolt, Callum’s engineering department is responsible for bringing the design to life, developing the new carbon fibre bodywork that accurately reflects the design vision, along with front and rear lamps and bespoke 19” wheels. It will also undertake the integration of the Nyobolt battery pack, high voltage powertrain components and systems, and cooling system design, as well as developing a bespoke electrical harness for the first engineering prototype that will shortly follow.
Together, Callum and Nyobolt have taken a system-level approach that has addressed each element – from materials, to cell, to pack, to drivetrain, to whole vehicle. The final collaborative design reflects the original vehicle’s premise of a high power-to-weight ratio within a very attractive package, with Nyobolt’s revolutionary battery technology ready to be adopted to applications across the automotive industry.
“Our partnership with Callum shows how adoption of system-level technology innovations can transform the future of electric vehicles and increase accessibility of EVs,” said Shivareddy, “Including to the 40% of UK households who can’t charge their vehicle at home overnight.”