Over the years, quite a few companies have declared and claimed to have come up with breakthroughs in electric technology along with renders and even working prototypes of electric cars and motorcycles that are supposed to have been the next fastest without gasoline. This year at the August 2014 Concours’ d’E Elangance, Renovo motors, based out of California have introduced a new breed of supercar.
The Renovo Coupe’, as it is being called, is based on an existing, well-engineered body and chassis of the Shelby Cobra Daytona CSX9000, which has been mildly redesigned and re-engineered by its original designer, Peter Brock.
Unlike most manufacturers who put up a great show every time they are commencing work on a new model, let alone their launch, the brains at Renovo have been in stealth mode ever since the company was founded in 2010 at Pebble Beach. Four years later, their under the radar work finally paying off in the form of the first finished fully electric supercar under the skin of America’s beloved Shelby Daytona, Renovo’s CEO Christopher Heiser and CTO Jason Stinson ready for its launch and just in time for the original car’s 50th anniversary.
Weight distribution is amazing
Their main aim was to score a chassis that could handle the actual output of the performance numbers that they had on mind for the electric, combined and moulded into something classic and very “American”. The chassis, along with the body and suspension, is modified to withstand the combined load of the twin sequential motors that are capable of churning out 500 horsepower to the rear wheels. The headline is, of course, the torque – 1,000 lb per foot, that is available from a standstill and pushes the Renovo Coupe from 0 to 100 kmph in just under 3.4 seconds. That is supercar territory. The overall packaging and weight distribution is simply put, amazing.
A heavy bodied supercar would actually have pretty much wasted the potential that the brains at Renovo were putting into the powertrain, and hence they decided to develop their own breed of Lithium ion battery technology with focus on performance and safety, high heat tolerance, and the ability to charge and discharge rapidly. The most important factor was the weight and dimensions of the battery set since the car would have to be compact enough to shift the weight distribution for good handling and deliver a low kerb weight, which turns out to be lighter than a Ferrari 458 Italia.
The battery pack is small, and provides for about 30 kwh and limits the range on full charge to just a little over 150 km. The company claims to have given up the option of putting bigger batteries for 400+km range, but the weight of the car would have gone upto 2200 kg from the current 800 kg, which is actually incredibly light for a supercar. A level two charger is employed to top off the battery in just about 5 hours. There is also a separate port for a quick charge, which juices the cells in 30 minutes flat, since their ideology says that quick charging is the need in electric vehicle technology and specially performance electric.
Both Heiser and Stinson have spent time working and developing their skills with robotics, software and other start up companies, and the latter has even worked with Intel for 18 years. They’ve both lived in the bay area and when introduced by mutual friends from Tesla, allowed their common passion for cars to unite them and form Renovo motors.
The shape of the Shelby Daytona has been iconic ever since its inception half a century ago. When approached by the Renovo team and given the idea of combining their work with his, Brock – the designer of the Shelby Daytona, was more than willing to help. The final product brilliantly carries the spirit of the original car, the feel of the American culture and heritage, and merges it all with the future in the form of electric power.
The Interiors have been upgraded to something absolutely premium in touch, feel and experience. Plenty of new gauges and displays, along with a selector that allows adjustment on the brake regeneration option on the move are just some of the things that adorn the interior of the electric super.
Production is set to begin next year in Silicon Valley itself with an official launch and deliveries commencing towards the end of the year. The company is aiming at small batches and plans to limit the sales to the West Coast before it goes nationwide, so it’s pretty hard to contemplate whether we would be able to see the car in flesh at some motor show being held in our country, but if we do and however much we have to wait, it will surely be worth all our patience and excitement.