We've covered Epic Electric Vehicles before. From their plug-in ski boat, to their emissions-free ATV, Epic seems to offer a vehicle for almost any terrain. Their third installment takes on the open road in open air style: the three-wheeled Epic Torq roadster EV.
"I have some very interesting projects. Some based in efficiency, some based in fun," says Chris Anthony, Founder and CEO of Epic Electric Vehicles. The Torq appears to lean a bit more towards the latter.
Gallery: Epic Torq
The Torq rides on just three wheels. The two front wheels are powered by the electric motor, which provides even power distribution coming from a limited slip differential.
The front suspension was designed by Formula 1 engineer and Ariel Atom collaborator, Dennis Palatov, and has a similar double wishbone style setup. The springs come off the wheels at such an angle that they meet the chassis near the center of the vehicle. Interestingly, Epic claims that the suspension setup was so efficient that an anti-roll bar wasn't necessary. The rear wheel is also sprung, but it does not rotate. All the steering comes from the front wheels.
The Torq's performance specs are nothing short of amazing. 0-60 miles per hour in four seconds and 1.3g of lateral acceleration (greater than a Ferrari F430) mean both strong power and handling characteristics. When given our test ride, our driver was able to take a 90-degree right turn at about 55 mph. When we were given our chance behind the wheel, we were able to get the back end lose for a little drift, but it all felt very controlled. One of the engineers mentioned the fact that, because there is only one rear wheel, the driver can focus on it exclusively, making judging corners in the Torq easier compared with a normal car.
Battery range can be up to as much as 85 miles if carefully driven, but less if driven how it is supposed to. Charge time is three to five hours. Charging is through the industry standard J1772 connector, making traveling around a city with charging stations no problem.
The Torq's two-year development cycle was aided by Epic's very successful boat operations. (Epic sells a lot of electric boats overseas, especially in areas around Lake Geneva.) Currently, Epic has six Torqs built, and has plans to build 50 for the rest of the year. Next year they will build 200. The total production time is roughly two weeks, after the 540 pound carbon steel chassis is built.
We caught up with the first person to receive the keys to the Torq, David Vesprimi, former Director of Communications for Tesla Motors and executive at many other green initiatives. His current stable of cars includes an E30 BMW, Nissan Leaf, Toyota MR2 modded for the track, and a modded Smart. So, we can assume he knows his cars.
When asked for his plans with the Torq, he said he isn't sure yet. "It will certainly make for a fun toy, but could also be a commuter," said Vesprimi.
Vesprimi also said that he would consider taking his Torq to the track, especially Infineon Raceway where there are noise restrictions. One of his main concerns was torque steer, given all the power going to the front wheels. He was surprised when he first drove it and didn't notice much. He points to the unique suspension and limited slip differential.
We couldn't agree more. The Torq is fun to drive and, given your location, could make for an interesting commuter. Though expect extra time to answer questions with just about everyone who sees the Torq. Not bad, but be aware of the $65,000 starting price.