Watt Electric Vehicle Company (WEVC), the Newquay-based niche vehicle firm that recently unveiled an all-new lightweight EV platform designed specifically for low-volume applications, has launched an £81,250 (AUD$146,000) own-design coupé that combines the innovative new chassis architecture with styling reminiscent of a 1950s Porsche 356A.
The car is designed as a flagship for WEVC’s new chassis system (called PACES, for Passenger And Commercial EV Skateboard) and to show that with careful development, modern EVs can reap the benefits of lightness that few volume battery-electric models achieve at present.
The new car, officially called the WEVC Coupé, has already undergone 10 months of successful dynamic prototype testing and development. Advanced development will continue for several more months until work begins on the first 21 individually tailored launch-edition cars, to be built at WEVC’s Cornish HQ. First deliveries begin early next year.
Although the car’s styling recalls a 1950s icon, the WEVC Coupé has a modern, simple interior design. Its all-composite body incorporates dozens of changes to the familiar shape, to improve aerodynamics and offer the high standards of surfacing and panel fit that today’s customers expect.
Under the skin, the WEVC Coupé bristles with state-of-the-art design innovations that allow it to comply with all relevant ISO regulations and safety standards yet deliver a kerb weight below 1000kg – even though it carries a 40kWh battery, giving a WLTP range of 370 kilometres. The single, compact, mid-mounted electric motor produces 120kW, drives the rear wheels and covers 0-100km/h in just over 5.0sec.
Neil Yates, founder and owner of WEVC, said his new car represents two debuts for the company: its first all-new vehicle and the first application for the PACES platform. Yates, who has more than 20 years’ experience of building niche vehicles and highly successful competition cars, said the focus with the WEVC Coupé is on building “a light, engaging sports car at the opposite end of the spectrum from the current trend towards hugely powerful but heavy electric supercars”.
Yates also said: “Our car will maximise driver engagement and real-world enjoyment. With double-wishbone suspension, 16-inch wheels and 60-profile tyres, it has a comfortable ride, excellent steering feel and a handling balance that is entertaining and exploitable, rather than simply chasing outright grip.
Like many bigger-volume creations, the PACES platform is a bonded aluminium ‘skateboard’ but it offers two key refinements: a battery case integrated into the primary structure (a major weight saver) and a freedom from complex corner castings that add greatly to cost.
Instead, PACES has a range of clever, ready-made and lightweight extrusions that bond and interlock to deliver extremely accurate and rigid structures using a new technique called FlexTech. This dramatically lowers costs (and thus allows low-volume manufacture) because it needs very little investment in tooling or post-assembly machining.
Yates believes PACES will suit a wide variety of lowvolume applications, from quadricycle-style city cars to trucks and buses. Since Automotive Daily’s exclusive partner Autocar exclusively broke news of the PACES concept earlier this year, Yates reports “lively” worldwide interest in the technology from a variety of sources. He expects production applications to follow “before too long”.