Renovo goes from 0-370kW in 0.037secComment on this story
Monterey, California - This may look like a replica of the 1964 Le Mans-winning Shelby CSX9000 coupé - until it pulls away with nothing more than a deep-throated hum, a faint crackle of static electricity and a whiff of ozone.
It's also neither a concept nor a prototype - it's the first production example of the Renovo Coupé, seen for the first time in public at the weekend's Pebble Beach Concourse d'Elegance in Monterey.
Renovo was founded in 2010 with the aim of developing a genuinely exciting electric car, and it has operated in stealth mode for the past four years, until the Coupé was not just running but polished to showroom readiness as "the first all-electric American supercar."
FASTER THAN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
It has two mid-mounted sequential axial-flux electric motors, rated at more than 185kW and a tar-wrinkling 680Nm each - and, more importantly, Renovo claims they can go from standstill to flat out in just 37 milliseconds - about ten times faster than the blink of an eye - redefining forever the term 'throttle response'.
That, says the maker, is good enough to launch the 1477kg Coupé from 0-100km/h in less than 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of more than 190km/h, without any need for clutch or gearshifts.
Power comes from three modular 740-volt lithium-ion battery packs, weighing just under 600kg in total, positioned close to the middle of the chassis and as low down as possible for optimum weight distribution.
Renovo says the batteries, developed in-house and subject to a patent application, can be charged in five hours from a domestic socket or just 30 minutes from a three-phase industrial supply - which means it can be charged between sessions at a track day.
The maker is silent, however, on how long they will run at full tilt boogie, even with regenerative braking (adjustable on the fly from the driver's seat) converting speed into amps into every corner.
The rolling chassis is a genuine, factory modified CSX9000, built for Renovo by Shelby American. It's been redesigned by Peter Brock for the electric drivetrain, with modern brakes, suspension and electric power steering, but retains the iconic styling of the 1964 original.
"This shape was nearly perfect 50 years ago," explained Brock, "and the laws of physics don't change much over time."
On the flight deck, classic analogue gauges surround a modern circular digital display, and a muscular drive selector enables brake regeneration to be adjusted in real-time, a first for a production electric car.
Renovo is planning limited series production of the Coupé in 2015, for sale initially in California and later throughput the United States, at an eye-watering $529 000 (R5.6 million) each.