Meet the Renovo Coupe: The Car Which Puts the Electric into Muscle

What does it take to make a classic American Muscle car? An aggressive stance? A long hood? How about rear wheel drive, a blistering 0-60 mph time and tire-shredding power?

Traditionally, that power comes from a powerful, torquey V-6 or V-8 engine, but what if it came from an electric motor instead? Is it still a muscle car?

Renovo motors thinks so, and having seen its brand-new Renovo Coupe, we’d have to agree.

Iconic and powerful, but will the Renovo Coupe find buyers when it costs more than half a million dollars?

Iconic and powerful, but will the Renovo Coupe find buyers when it costs more than half a million dollars?

The Renovo Coupe was given its debut at last weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and combines the timeless style of the iconic 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe with a powerful all-electric drivetrain.

Built around a factory-modified CSX9000 chassis supplied by Shelby, the Renovo Coupe features not one but two mid-mounted electric motors producing a claimed total of more than 372 kilowatts or 500 horsepower at the rear wheels. Torque meanwhile is measured at over 1,000 foot-pounds, and 0-60 happens in a 3.4 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to ‘over’ 120 mph.

That places the Renovo Coupe ahead of the prestigious Tesla Model S in a straight-line sprint, although we suspect the Model S wins in the range stakes.  That’s because the Renovo Coupe has been built primarily as a short-distance sprinter rather than a long-distance tourer, tipping the scales at a lean 3,250 lbs, more than 1,000 lbs lighter than the Model S. While that’s substantially heavier than the original 2,299 pound Daytona Coupe on which it is based, that’s impressively light for a powerful muscle car — and we should note a little lighter than a 2014 Ford Mustang V6 Coupe. 

Under the hood, there's a nice reminder of the V8 which would normally be there.

Under the hood, there’s a nice reminder of the V8 which would normally be there.

Charging takes five hours from a standard level 2 charging station (current undisclosed,) while the Renovo Coupe can be rapid charged to 80 percent full in thirty minutes from a rapid DC charging station.

Inside, there’s a suitably-themed cockpit with traditional needle gauges and what Renovo describes as a “muscular drive selector,” a lever enabling the driver to dynamically control the amount of regenerative breaking from the motor in real time.

As you’d expect Renovo claims some firsts for the 100% American electric muscle car, including being the first electric car on the market to split its battery pack into three for the perfect balance. Look under the hood, and you’ll even see a cute hint to the car’s heritage: its power electronics are arranged in a V-formation reminiscent of the powerful V-8 engines normally found in the Daytona engine bay.

It may be built on a LeMans winner, but the Renovo Coupe is more of a sprinter than a Grand Tourer due to its limited range.

It may be built on a LeMans winner, but the Renovo Coupe is more of a sprinter than a Grand Tourer due to its limited range.

The bad bit? The Renovo Coupe won’t go on sale until September next year, and is rumoured to go on sale at a price upwards of $529,000 during its limited-production. For that price, you’d be able to buy several Tesla Model S P85 Sedans, so don’t expect a huge number of buyers to line up.

Then again, as with any muscle car, the proof of the Renovo Coupe’s true value won’t be its purchase price — but how well it does on the quarter mile.

And for that, we’ll have to wait to find out.

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  • CDspeed

    The Daytona coupe is no muscle car, it was a successful race car.