Meet the Renovo Coupe: The First American All-Electric Supercar

Posted on August 28, 2014 7:00 PM by J.D. Kane

Just over two weeks ago, we brought you news on Saleen Automotive’s Foursixteen, a modified version of the all-electric Tesla Model S, and how it was making its debut at the prestigious Concourse d’Elegance in Monterey, CA. Saleen’s Foursixteen is basically a Model S on electric steroids, with higher performance and much more aggressive styling.

Another all-electric vehicle made its first public appearance at Pebble Beach. The Renovo Coupe, touted by its makers as “the first American All-Electric Supercar,” also debuted in Monterey.

The Renovo Coupe looks to all the world like a modern rendition of one of America’s most legendary Grand Touring racing cars from the mid-1960s, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. The Renovo Coupe even wears the alternate international racing colors of the USA, dark blue with dual white stripes.

Of course, the Renovo Coupe differs from its mid-1960s inspiration in one particularly way: Instead of a 4.72L Ford V8 small block, twin sequential electric motors which generate a total of 500BHP and an asphalt-shredding 1000lbs/ft of torque provide motive power to the Renovo Coupe. This should enable the car to reach 0-60mph in just 3.4secs. Top speed is said to be 120mph. If that top speed figure is less than inspirational, just consider that acceleration and drivability are far more useful in the real world with speed limits than the ability to hit 200mph or so.

Renovo Coupe Electric Supercar

The Renovo Coupe is also an example of one of the classic dilemmas of vehicle design, but electric vehicles in particular. At its quoted weight of 3250lbs, the Renovo Coupe is limited to a maximum range of just 100 miles. Electric batteries are heavy, so to increase the vehicle’s range meant that its weight would also have to increase, with a corresponding decrease in performance as well. However, Renovo says that the limited battery capacity is offset by a very quick charge-up time. It should take no more than 30mins to fully recharge the Renovo Coupe.

Renovo’s leadership and design staff is interesting on its own. CTO Jason Stinson is a former design engineer at Intel, and he and CEO Christopher Heiser worked with Peter Brock, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe’s chief designer, on getting precisely the right vibe for the Renovo Coupe. Brock said, “”When the Renovo team approached me with the idea of incorporating my work into their designs, I was thrilled. The finished product definitely carries the spirit of the original car strongly into the future.”

The Renovo Coupe, which is priced at $529,000, is scheduled to begin limited production in Q1 2015. Deliveries will take place soon thereafter.

  • CMCNestT .

    It has supercar price but not supercar specs.

    Renovo is using a kit car body? Really?

    • JD Kane

      I would tend to agree, although that torque output stat is really astonishing.

      I’m not sure, though, if it’s fair to call the body a “kit car body.” As the article says, Peter Brock himself gave this project his approval.

      I see this car more as an early “proof of concept,” as well as an overt homage to the Shelby Daytona Coupe. As far as the price goes, well, I think that’s more down to scarcity than a reflection of the car’s performance capabilities.

      • Derek

        “although that torque output stat is really astonishing” I agree, but with all that torque why isn’t the 0 – 60 time much better? I’m sure the weight has something to do with it, but it’s still puzzling to me.

        • JD Kane

          Because acceleration isn’t solely about torque output. If I were to guess, tires are the limiting factor. With such a monstrous torque output, you’d have a lot of wheelspin right away.

          • Tom Roeder

            Totally J.D. Power is meaningless if you can’t hook-up. Weight distribution…lots of things. Future module programs may change the power band (if there is such a thing in an electric car) completely.

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