Black Mamba: An EV with serious venom
Silex Power has announced the Valene Black Mamba, a three-wheel electric vehicle aiming to combine the thrill of high-performance motorbikes with some of the perks of automobile-driving: a degree of safety and comfort among them. Be in no doubt though, this is a machine designed to put serious venom at the fore.
Interestingly, Silex Power describes the Black Mamba as its first electric vehicle — a nod to the fact that its ambitious Chreos project is still in development.
That said, even as EVs go, the Chreos and Black Mamba are almost as far removed as you get. Where the Chreos was a high-concept, high-end luxury cruiser, the Black Mamba is a high-performance 3-wheeler with the emphasis firmly on adrenaline. In fact, for safety, both acceleration and top speed are electronically limited. And crucially, being at the prototype stage, it's a machine with a foot in the real world.
Though an "advanced prototype," the company is tight-lipped about the Black Mamba's acceleration. Clearly this will vary with the choice of in-hub motors fitted to the rear wheel, which range from 80 kW up to 600 kW. The power available combined with aerodynamics and a low center of mass should give this thing serious bite.
However, the company did reveal to New Atlas that top speed on all models will be limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). According to Silex Power's Johnaton Grech, EVs have an edge when it comes to power with control. "Our drivetrain software specifically adjusts the torque of the rear wheel to prevent spin and maintain grip continuously during fast acceleration," he tells New Atlas. "This is one of the advantages of having an all-electric drivetrain, in which power can be controlled very precisely, thus making such a powerful car easier to control and safer to drive."
The company is a little less shy about the more practical end of the performance specs. Battery packs come in 15, 30 and 50 kWh flavors which Silex claims affords ranges between 180 and 500 km (120 and 310 miles) on one charge. That would seem to depend on certain sensible limits being applied — New Atlas recommends not pairing a 15 kWh battery with a 600 kW motor if you want to make it to the end of your street, for instance.
When it comes to safety, the Black Mamba has a skeleton of seamless steel tubing, and Silex Power insists the legs of both driver and passenger are positioned well behind the front axel. The composite body has "memory properties" which it's claimed will avoid significant damage from low-speed bumps and knocks.
Further, Silex Power suggests this is far from a stripped-back motoring experience. The car is purported to be smartphone-activated, and be one of the first production vehicles to come with the optional Clarion Full Digital Sound System.
Silex Power hopes to manufacture and distribute from 2017. Price is expected to start at €35,000 (US$39,200).
Here's the spec-sheet provided by Silex Power:
- Ultra-lightweight full electric 3-wheel sports car
- Electric motors ranging from 80kW (107bhp) to 600kW (810bhp)
- Up to 500 km autonomy on a single charge (with 50kWh battery pack)
- DC fast charging support, with optional HyperCharging compatibility (AC/DC Charger integrated)
- Steel and aerospace aluminum chassis with optional titanium alloy elements
- Regenerative braking and high-performance disk brakes on each wheel
- Composite material body
- Driver identification system with keyless operation
- Advanced multimedia system with optional Clarion Full Digital Sound System
- Full-LED lighting throughout
- Highly customizable
- Dimensions 3.71 x 1.98 x 1.10 m (12.2 x 6.5 x 3.6 ft)
Source: Silex Power/Valene Motors