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Lotus Elise Battery

on Thu, 05/02/2009 - 17:00

Lotus Elise Battery
The Lotus Elise S2 uses a standard 12v lead-acid car battery. The mid-engined configuration and tight packaging sees the battery mounted in the boot just over the left wheel arch and under hunched rear quarter bodywork. This location, while in part most likely good for weight distribution, does slightly reduce the otherwise already limited boot space and can make it a little fiddly to access the terminals if you ever need to connect leads. A word of caution if you’re looking to buy your first Elise, don’t be fooled, I’ll name no names but I’ve been to a few garages/shows where the battery has been temporarily removed from the boot to give a false impression of space; sneaky (note this doesn’t apply to the S1 Elise that had the battery mounted up front).

I find the battery in the Elise flattens more quickly than your average car, which is possibly down to the alarm/immobilizer and the flashing red light that constantly blinks in the cabin when armed. I tend to find about three and a half weeks is the dreaded cut off point beyond which there is a strong chance it won't start. In a bid to keep weight down the battery is one of the smallest standard models on the market (a type-063) but no different to the one in my old Vauxhall Corsa which I’m sure could last 6 weeks or more before starting to struggle. In a car like the Lotus Elise this isn’t ideal. While I'd like to say I get out in it every week the reality is I don't and I suspect many other owners are in the same situation. On occasion it feels like a ticking clock and can cause quite a bit of unwanted stress. The Elise is my only car and if it doesn't start when I really need to get somewhere I’ll inevitably be met by unimpressed comments of why I don’t own a more practical car...

Jump starting generally isn’t a problem, although if you have RAC/AA cover try and insist they jump using a portable device rather than the more powerful battery on their van. Having been warned myself I succumbed to the assurance of one mechanic that there really would be “no difference”, only to have a blown fuse a few minutes later - and I can tell you it doesn’t take 5 minutes to change some of the fuses in the Elise, on this particular occasion it blew a fuse mounted in a small box in an incredibly tricky to access area inside the engine bay.

Having been through -ahem- several batteries, I can't say one is noticeably better than another but I am pretty happy with the Bosche Silver (580-063-039) I'm running at the moment. You can get light weight Lithium Ion racing batteries but at over £500 a pop there are far more economical ways to add lightness (i.e. you could leave the passenger at home :-).

The Elise user manual provides a step by step guide on how to change the battery, alternatively you can find it on the Seloc Tech Wiki - Fit Lotus Elise S2 K-Series Battery

UPDATE: A couple of years after writing this, and experiencing quite a few more flat batteries, I was eventually bought my own portable jumpstart (by parents who were fed up with me being late when I came to visit). Read more in my blog post Clarke Jumpstart 910

UPDATE 2: Ok, so jump starting works but still isn’t all that much fun, step in the Battery Charger and Reconditioner. Read more in my blog post CTEK MSX5.0 Battery Charger