Sunday afternoon on the putting green behind Pebble Beach Lodge, a sleek, all-new car reels in a diverse crowd of onlookers. Hyper-quick and all-electric, it's built in the U.S. for well-heeled buyers by a Silicon Valley upstart.
But, sorry Elon, it's not a Tesla.
The Renovo Coupe is a concept by Renovo, a Campbell-based outfit that says it's been operating in “stealth mode” for the last four years developing the car. Its stats rival anything else in a valet line in Beverly Hills: more than 500 horsepower, 1,000 pound-feet of torque, zero to 60 mph in less than 3.4 seconds, production numbers in the double digits.
A price tag of $529,000 also helps burnish the Renovo Coupe’s supercar resume.
“We wanted a sports car experience,” Christopher Heiser, chief executive of Renovo, said of building a unique EV. “We wanted something that people got into and instantly felt like, ‘I want to drive, I want to have fun.’”
The Coupe is the first product from Renovo, a private company that says its investments come from venture capital funding. The car uses a modified chassis and a fiberglass body from Shelby American’s Cobra Daytona Coupe. The entire car weighs 3,250 pounds.
The battery cells come from a big-name supplier that Renovo declined to identify. The battery management system and packaging is done in-house. The Coupe will have a range on the street of about 100 miles or 15 to 20 minutes of hard driving on the track, Renovo said.
The company is taking orders now and will begin building customer cars in spring 2015, Heiser said. In the meantime, it will continue to test and fine-tune the drivetrain.
“There’s nothing like this on the road today,” Heiser said. “We don’t have to replace any of the supercars out here today. It just adds to the landscape. It’s its own thing.”
The Renovo Coupe was joined by other concept cars on Pebble Beach’s lawn including the McLaren P1 GTR track car, the Lincoln MKX concept (which will likely change very little when the new MKX crossover debuts next year), Maserati’s Alfieri concept, Toyota’s FT-1 Concept, the 560-horsepower Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, and the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo racer.
The Pebble Beach Concept Lawn is a chance for large and small manufacturers alike to show off what the moneyed attendees of the nearby Concours d’Elegance can look forward to parking in their garages in the future.