Who says Silicon Valley can only boast tech firms?
Although most could be forgiven for assuming so, America’s innovation capital is expanding its reach across new industries, and the automotive field could very well be next.
Renovo Motors certainly thinks so. The company is manufacturing the first all-electric American supercar, The Coupe, which counts having a 30 minute fast-charge time, and being able to go from 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds on its list of perks. After years of development, the vehicle is ready to hit the market in 2015. We interviewed their Co-Founder and CEO, Christopher Heiser to get a first look into the product.
– Learning about Renovo Motors I got the feeling that this was a tech startup inside an automotive manufacturer’s body. What did the idea for this company stem from?
We like to say that the car is quickly becoming a true Silicon Valley product. Our vehicle has 80 embedded microprocessors, nearly one thousand sensors, five high-speed data networks and continuous connection to the cloud. We realized that our backgrounds–hardware and software development–would be very useful in pushing the limits of EV performance and we were inspired by other Bay Area companies that had trail blazed ahead of us in this incredibly exciting segment.
– The Coupe has been in production for four years. Tell us about the creative process which went into developing such a unique automobile.
Well, our first vehicles will be delivered about a year from now, but over the last five years we have worked hard to develop the platform upon which the Coupe is built. That means thousands of hours and miles of testing to build up our quality and reliability, and of course a lot of fast 0-60 times too. As with any engineering exercise, it’s equal parts innovation, engineering and testing that makes a great product.
– Speaking of The Coupe, it combines a classic look with some modern perks. What can a prospective driver expect from this vehicle?
An extremely unique driving experience. The throttle response is faster than any gas engine car–about 37 milliseconds–and the torque delivery is completely linear all the way past 60 miles an hour. The sound of the drivetrain is more forward, and the response of the car is quite excellent due to its extremely low curb weight.
– We see you’ve teamed up with NVIDA for the project. What do they bring to the venture?
An incredibly powerful and flexible development stack that enables us to deliver really responsive and stunning graphics, and to develop them much faster than with other technologies. We want our customers to have the highest performance systems possible, and NVIDIA gives us a big edge here.
– Down the road, is Renovo Motors looking to expand its market presence with further lines of automobiles, or is the goal here to continue targeting a niche market?
We are looking at a wide range of products, but high performance will be a focus for us. Compared to commuter-class EVs, there is very little selection of high performance cars. We intend to help this segment grow as quickly as possible.
– How do you see the demand for all-electric cars changing in the coming years?
Continuing to increase, especially as projects like Tesla’s Gigafactory help push down the cost of battery technology and customers become more familiar with how EVs can change the way we live and drive.
– The Coupe will be making its first deliveries in 2015, but it’s been in the headlines for some time now. What have you made of the response so far? Did you expect the project to catch on as it has?
We’re incredibly excited that the Coupe has grabbed the attention and interest of such a wide range of the public. It emboldens us in our work, and validates our belief that EVs really are the future of transportation.
– Anything else our readers should know about Renovo Motors, and The Coupe?.
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