Unstealthed: A VC-Funded Electric Supercar in a Shelby Chassis

on August 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM


Q: How fast can I go? A: How much do you want to spend? 

It seems like Renovo Motors, the just-unstealthed EV builder, wants to build really fast battery-powered cars.

Like, 0-to-60-in-3.4-seconds fast.

Elon Musk of Tesla certainly wants to build really fast performance cars. But Musk also wants to build a mass-market EV, move the world to solar power and stationary battery storage, and accelerate our migration to other regions of the universe.

All Renovo wants to do, apparently, is build fast cars. The firm unveiled its super EV with the 1964 Le Mans-winning silhouette at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this past weekend.

There does not appear to be a mass-market vehicle in the works for Renovo. The company’s response when asked about mass-market vehicles was, “Renovo will continue to develop and produce high-performance products that give our customers unique and exciting driving experiences.

Here are the car’s published specs:

  • 1,000 foot-pounds of direct-drive torque
  • 0-60 mph in less than 3.4 seconds
  • Factory-modified Shelby CSX9000 rolling chassis
  • 30-minute quick charge and 5-hour Level 2 charge
  • Entering limited production in 2015
  • Built in Silicon Valley, Calif.
  • Curb weight of 3,250 lbs.
  • Twin sequential axial flux motors producing more than 500 horsepower

The price? Well, if you have to ask…

It’s $529,000, according to the website Autoblog.

According to the company, that gets you a range of 100 miles from the 30 kilowatt-hour battery pack. “Multiple separate battery enclosures enable a performance-oriented weight distribution and minimize chassis volume requirements.”

The company called the current vehicle a “production prototype,” but whether that means all of the vehicle’s parts are off of production tools was not revealed. The firm has not yet commented on crash tests, durability testing, and other homologation tests.

It also turns out that entrepreneurs can convince venture capitalists to fund their EV supercar company. One of the investors in Renovo is True Ventures. True Ventures is also an “investor in the parent company of Gigaom,” as notedby Katie Fehrenbacher of Gigaom.

This company is not trying to be like Tesla, which pivoted from its small-volume roadster production to its medium-volume sedan.

Renovo serves a small-volume, luxury-price niche market and is not focused on volume production or scale. Renovo’s CEO Christopher Heiser, quoted on the website Jalopnik, said that he wants the coupe to spend lots of time at the track.

So this really is a track car or a bauble for the super-rich. And it’s not clear if Renovo wants to make the same pivot as Tesla. It’s difficult to see Renovo’s “cost-is-no-object” technology trickling down to the mass market anytime soon.

So perhaps the exit strategy is to sell Renovo, a new luxury EV supercar brand, to an existing automaker looking to leapfrog into electric vehicle technology. If the battery and vehicle technology are that compelling, perhaps Tesla, with its $32.5 billion market cap, might be a potential acquirer.

By Eric Wesoff August 18, 2014

Originally published on Greentech Media