Business

Sunday 20 May 2018

James Bond stunt car engineer joins electric car maker

 

Bond star Naomie Harris with the Spectre Jaguar stunt car which Mike Keane worked on before moving to Fintos Electric cars. Photo: Getty Images
Bond star Naomie Harris with the Spectre Jaguar stunt car which Mike Keane worked on before moving to Fintos Electric cars. Photo: Getty Images

John Reynolds

An Irish engineer who helped Jaguar build a stunt car for a James Bond film has joined Fintos Electric Cars, which is aiming to have an ecar on the road by 2020.

The firm's chief engineer Mike Keane is a Limerick native who led a team at Formula One team Williams' Advanced Engineering division that worked on the powertrains for the five Jaguar CX-75 models that were used as stunt cars in the Bond film Spectre.

More recently, he worked on Williams' prototype programmes of a number of Range Rover and Nissan models, as well as a Jaguar iPace and an Aston Martin Rapide-E.

Leitrim-based Fintos claims that its Spika model, a two-seater roadster with a €65,000 price tag, will have a range of at least 500km, with a top speed of 140km an hour. It claims a fast-charging capability will enable it charge up in 30 minutes.

"This project has its origins in an EU 'Vital' programme administered by DCU Invent, Queen's University and Dundalk IT.

"With a lot of the initial design work completed over the last few years, we are currently starting the prototyping stage of the process in Carrick-on-Shannon," said Fintos chief executive Tom Finnegan, a former renewable energy entrepreneur who is based there.

Since he embarked on it in 2009, about €200,000 has been invested in the project. It has received interest from a number of potential investors outside Ireland, and might require further investment of up to €2m in total, he said.

There are seven people working on it part-time and full-time.

A second Irishman, engineer John Corrigan has designed the chassis of the Spika car.

Having previously worked for Mayo entrepreneur and former racing driver Martin Birrane's Lola Group, which hoped to compete in Formula One, Corrigan also previously worked for the Renault/Lotus F1 team.

He is currently working for Red Bull's F1 Team, whose technology is being used on the limited edition 250mph Aston Martin Valkyrie 'hypercar,' which it is helping to design.

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