Offaly Express

 

The Alex Eroadster car is a new electric car under development that will be built by Fintos Electric Cars here in Ireland. This project is now into its 3rd year of design and research.

Lead engineer on the project is Limerick man Mike Keane. Mike was formerly head of engineering at Williams Engineering (Williams F1) in the UK. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as well as some of the performance pedigree of Williams to the project.

While with Williams he headed teams working on electric prototype cars for Aston Martin, Jaguar and Nissan. He was also lead engineer in charge of building 5 stunning Jaguar C-x75 stunt cars (the Bond villains) for the James Bond film Spectre in addition to heading the team that built the amazing Nissan Bladeglider showcased at the Rio Olympics

 

The Alex eroadster is an ultra-lightweight 2 seater electric car capable of high performance and long rangeange. “It will be built mostly of carbon fibre and other lightweight composites. By using these lightweight composites the team will get a very light body/chassis combination and thus extend greatly the range of the car” said CEO of Fintos, Tom Finnegan. “A double floor running the full length of the car will be used to store the advanced lithium-ion cells that power the twin AC axial flux motors driving the rear wheels. As it is a low volume “niche” car some of the body panels as well as other internal components will be 3D printed”, said Finnegan.

The body design is largely from the pen of Belfast designers BigSmall. The car, in a way reminiscent of the DeLorean of the early 80s, has unique, eye-catching clamshell roof/doors to provide entry. Ergonomics testing has already been completed on a mock-up of interior dimensions to achieve optimal comfort and ease of instrument use. The interior cockpit area is currently being designed by Spanish designer Hugo Fernandez. It will have visible carbon fibre features and will show some futuristic “Star Wars” influences also.

The car is a high performance sports car capable of 0-100Kph in 6 seconds with a range just shy of 400kms.

Expect to see the first of these cars on the road end of 2018 – beginning of 2019. Lots more information at www.eroadster.net

Silicon Republic

 

 

With Ireland’s history of car production long behind us, one man based in Co Leitrim is trying to reignite the industry once again, but this time for the 21st century, with Ireland’s first home-designed and built electric vehicle (EV).

It’s safe to say that Ireland has a rather chequered history when it comes to cars produced on this island.

Of course, we all know about the infamous DeLorean, manufactured in Belfast that, while one of the most iconic cars in film after its appearances in the Back to the Future series, was a commercial flop.

We also had the Shamrock, a car produced during the 1950s designed like the iconic American cars of its time, yet only a handful were sold and only one or two remain in existence.

Finally, in 1984 the last car produced in Ireland rolled off the production line at Ford’s factory in Cork with every car on the island since imported from abroad.

But now, engineer Tom Finnegan, who is based in Co Leitrim, wants to change that with his own vehicle, the Alex eroadster EV.

As a former rally driving instructor in Waterford, he admits to Siliconrepublic.com that he has always had an interest in what the future would hold for cars, and particularly the rise in EVs, but felt that his ideas 20 years’ ago were unfeasible at the time, but are now within sight.

Alex eroadster concept images

Concept image via Tom Finnegan

An Irish car from the ground up

Starting out as just a concept, Tom began to turn his concept into a reality after approaching the organisers of the Vital project, an EU-funded initiative that helps people with business ideas approach established businesses and form partnerships to create their idea.

In this case, many of the parts of Tom’s Alex eroadster will be sourced directly from Ireland, with the Irish Centre for Composites Research (IComp)and Swift Composites in Louth helping on research for the composite material chassis, while Wicklow-based racing suspension manufacturers TDP.ie are working on the car’s undercarriage.

There’s also been design contributions from Northern Ireland, with Belfast-based design company BigSmall Design contributing to the Alex eroadster’s looks.

Providing a wealth of international experience will be the Danish company Ecomove, which has developed a sandwiched composite structure that is stitched together like bulletproof vests, making it as light as possible while giving the same strength as steel.

With this concept, the Danish company has already established itself in the renewable energies industry, having struck deals to construct wind turbines using its technology.

Tom says that when they begin construction of the first prototype, it will be much simpler to build than existing EVs: “The chassis is a little bit like Ikea as it can be flat-packed and assembled, so it doesn’t work like the old production lines. It’s a much simpler way of doing things.”

Alex eroadster team

The design team (L-R): Gabriel Mathews CEO Swift Composite Prototypes Ltd, Stephen McGilloway BigSmall Design, Mogens Lokke Ecomove Denmark, Mikkel Steen Pedersen Ecomove, Tom Finnegan, Stephen Brady TDP Suspension, Robbie Thornton TDP.

The little car, with big stats

The lightweight chassis is key to Tom’s overarching goal of having a strong car that is as light as physically possible to overcome EVs’ biggest obstacle when it comes to being considered an option for consumers: range.

Taking the example of the Nissan Leaf, the car’s max efficient range will see it go approximately 200km on a single charge, but in reality is closer to 160-170km. Tom, however, envisions his Alex eroadster going as many as 300km on a single charge.

As for the rest of the car, well Tom says it’s designed to be relatively nippy, capable of reaching a top speed of 130kph and can go 0-100kph in about 10 seconds thanks to its two AC motors in the back of the car.

While still very much in the design process at this stage, Tom and his national and international team have high hopes for it making its debut next year.

“Well, we always have to have a date and we do hope to have a prototype finished in July of next year and possibly a semi-prototype before then that will look like the car but might not be running, possibly by March.”

Look out Tesla, there’s a new player in town…

Connacht Tribune

 

Galway man leads project to build first native electric car

by Denise McNamara - 
 

Tom Finnegan with another of his cars, from an earlier design

A Dunmore man is leading a project to build an electric car reminiscent of the last car to be built on the island three decades ago.

Like the DeLorean DMC-12 – which played a starring role in the Back to the Future movies – the ‘Alex eroadster’ will have lifting doors attached to the roof which will boast solar panels for a power boost.

Not only designed to look futuristic, more importantly the design aims to shed weight to improve speed.  In fact this model electric car promises to be 30% lighter than most similar sized cars weighing in at around 700kg. They can do this by using advanced composite materials including carbon fibre and kevlar – a material used in bullet proof vests and glass.

Crucially the vehicle also claims to address previous concerns which have dogged electric cars – the distance a car can travel without the need to charge up.alex27

Project manager Tom Finnegan, a native of Gurteen, Dunmore, insists the Alex eroadster uses new improved battery technology and lightweight structural technologies to greatly increase range between charges. The lightweight chassis is being designed by Ecomove in Denmark.

 
“This car will have lots of acceleration and a good overall top speed,” said Tom.

 

“The battery cells have a very large energy density giving a greater power to weight resulting in more kilometres per charge.  The car can travel 250 – 300kms before charging, getting you to most places in Ireland at a fraction of the cost of conventional cars without having to recharge.  This is well over twice the range of electric cars currently achievable by cars on the Irish market.”

The vehicle will have the battery units stored beneath the floor and the back wheels will be powered by two lightweight AC motors providing rapid acceleration allowing it to easily reach motorway speeds.

A recharge will take 20 to 30 minutes or as Tom puts it, ‘just enough time for a coffee break’.

Irish company Swift Composite Prototypes based in Dunleer, Co Louth, plans to build a new car a week when it enters the market in late 2016 if all things go to schedule. CEO of Swift Gabriel Mathews said ‘he is really excited at the prospect of building this car’.alex26

The car is in the design phase with a working prototype car expected to be soon unveiled. The expected cost of the Alex eroadster is tipped to be around €30,000.

Tom has been developing the idea for some years and produced his own prototype at his Co Roscommon home.

The project took a leap forward when he was partnered with Swift Composite Prototypes – manufacturer of wind turbine blades and components for land transport vehicles – and several universities by the EU programme Vital, which gives financial support and matches entrepreneurs with firms to commercialise ideas or inventions.

“We approached the whole project from the point of view of addressing the problems currently associated with electric cars in general and also public perception of electric cars as a workable alternative to the internal combustion engine,” said the Swift CEO.

Sunday Independent

 

 

Harry Leech

PUBLISHED12/07/2015 | 02:30

 

The composites company said that their design has rethought the car "from the ground up", with a car that is lighter, faster and crucially has a much greater range than rivals in the market.

Named the Alex eroadster, it will retail in the region of €30,000. Swift Composite Prototypes is a composite manufacturing company based in Drogheda, Co Louth. The company primarily manufactures products for use in the green energy and aeronautics industry, including parts for windturbines, buses and other vehicles.

The company now aims to follow in the footsteps of Tesla in the US by going back to the drawing board and designing a 21st Century vehicle from scratch. Not content with swapping out a traditional petrol of diesel engine for two lightweight 15Kw motors in the design process, the car's chassis and body will be built from a composite made from carbon fibre and kevlar.

The idea for the car came when inventor and project manager Tom Finnegan moved to Roscommon and had "too much time on his hands". With a background in engineering and green energy, he designed a prototype electric car based on a Lotus body. The project has grown from a hobby and now aims to end the main barrier to consumers considering green automobile - range anxiety.

"If you ask 100 people why they won't buy an electric car, 99 will say that the car couldn't get them from Dublin to Galway. We've taken this on board and re-thought the car from the bottom up. The use of a lightweight carbon-fibre chassis saves energy as it is 30pc lighter, and also allows us to store more batteries," he said.

Finnegan says the car will have a range of 250km between charges, which will take between 20-30 minutes at a quick-charge point, and will accelerate from 0 to 100km in less than 10 seconds.

The project is receiving input and support from a EU-supported Structural Funds Programme managed between Queen's University Belfast, Dundalk IT and DCU. The company also works closely with the University of Limerick's Institute for Composite Research.

The genesis for the car's name came as the academics and inventors were brain-storming a name and one of the academics believed the cars body-styling was reminiscent of an Alexander McQueen design. The Alex eroadster was born.

While Swift Composite Prototypes initially began working on their own custom-designed chassis, they were put in contact with Danish company EcoMove, which was already producing an award-winning composite chassis that had been tested and rated by the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP).

The Danish company was five years ahead in the design process and had a sound product that ticked all the boxes, so the companies agreed to collaborate. The chassis is one of the few parts of the Alex eroadster not being designed and assembled in the country, however.

The body of the car is being designed in Belfast by graphic-design company BigSmall Design, while the suspension is being custom-designed by Co Wicklow-based TDP Suspension.

The Rathnew company has traditionally custom-designed suspension and manufactured suspension for racing cars, and is well placed to meet the challenge of producing a high-end suspension system that can work with a chassis which has no metal in it.

Swift Composite Prototypes aims to have a prototype ready next year, with the first cars going on sale in early 2017. While Finnegan says that the company has already decided to cap production of the model at 1,000, it hopes to use the car as a launching pad for a larger-scale production of a five-seat family car.

When it goes into production, the Alex eroadster will be the first car produced in Ireland for the commercial market since the DeLorean DMC-12 in 1983, but it's not a comparison that bothers Finnegan.

"We don't mind the comparison really - it has already been dubbed the 'Dun Leerean' by some people, which we think is great as long as it raises awareness of the car. The difference is that the DeLorean was a glorious failure - and this car won't be."

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