Automotive

Ultralight Watt Porsche-356-inspired electric coupe transcends time

Ultralight Watt Porsche-356-in...
Classic skin, modern heart
Classic skin, modern heart
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A look at the Watt Electric Vehicle Company Coupe PACES chassis
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A look at the Watt Electric Vehicle Company Coupe PACES chassis
Watt translates the gorgeous curves and volumes of the classic 1956 Porsche 356 A into its own lightweight composite body
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Watt translates the gorgeous curves and volumes of the classic 1956 Porsche 356 A into its own lightweight composite body
WEVC Coupe sketch
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WEVC Coupe sketch
The initial Launch Edition models will have a 161-hp electric drive
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The initial Launch Edition models will have a 161-hp electric drive
WEVC Coupe sketch
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WEVC Coupe sketch
Watt says that it's been testing its prototype for 10 months and plans a reveal of the production car in Summer 2021
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Watt says that it's been testing its prototype for 10 months and plans a reveal of the production car in Summer 2021
The interior sketch promises a sleek, simple cockpit without distraction
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The interior sketch promises a sleek, simple cockpit without distraction
Watt estimates a 230-mile range
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Watt estimates a 230-mile range
Classic skin, modern heart
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Classic skin, modern heart
View gallery - 9 images

It's become quite common for a tuner or EV startup to add a state-of-the-art electric drive to a classic sports car, 4x4 or saloon. But the UK's Watt Electric Vehicle Company doesn't take that well-worn road in announcing a light, nimble electric coupe that looks like a classic Porsche 356 A. Instead, it slides its skateboard chassis below a house-developed composite body styled after the 1956 Porsche. It calls it the WEVC Coupe and adds two seats, a rear electric motor drive and less than 1,000 kilograms of weight distributed evenly across the car.

While it's the Porsche-styled skin that will attract immediate attention, Watt is more excited about what's under that skin. The WEVC Coupe is the first vehicle underpinned by the company's Passenger And Commercial EV Skateboard (PACES) modular architecture.

Aimed specifically at cost-efficient low-volume manufacturing, the platform relies on lightweight aluminum extrusions that interlock and bond together to create a rigid structure, without the need for bespoke parts or expensive tooling. For the WEVC Coupe, Watt integrates the 40-kWh battery housing directly into the chassis rather than building it into its own dedicated case, saving weight while still building to European Small Series Type Approval crash standards.

A look at the Watt Electric Vehicle Company Coupe PACES chassis
A look at the Watt Electric Vehicle Company Coupe PACES chassis

Instead of dropping in two or four motors for the ever-popular e-AWD layout, Watt stays true to the original spirit of a mid-1950s sports coupe with a single-motor rear-wheel drive. Watt will ultimately offer two different powertrain output options, with the 21-model Launch Edition packing 161 hp (120 kW). Watt estimates a range of up to 230 miles (WLTP) and a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) just over five seconds.

None of those numbers really leap off the page, but we suspect the real beauty of the WEVC Coupe will be found behind the wheel. Watt promises a curb weight below 1,000 kg (2,200 lb), distributed at a near-perfect 50:50 front-rear ratio. With a bespoke double-wishbone suspension and tight turning radius, the WEVC Coupe promises to translate its electric horsepower into a lively, responsive ride for drivers who want to experience every square inch of road ahead.

"With our debut vehicle, we wanted to build a light, engaging sports car, at the opposite end of the spectrum from the current trend toward hugely powerful, fast-accelerating, but heavy electric supercars," explains WEVC founder Neil Yates. "The WEVC Coupe’s focus is on engaging the driver, providing enjoyment in real-world situations from city streets to B-roads. With double-wishbone suspension, 16-inch wheels and 60-profile tires, it has a comfortable ride, excellent steering response and a handling balance that is entertaining and exploitable, rather than chasing outright lateral grip."

Watt says that it's been testing its prototype for 10 months and plans a reveal of the production car in Summer 2021
Watt says that it's been testing its prototype for 10 months and plans a reveal of the production car in Summer 2021

As to the Porsche-356-A-styled composite body, it's closely inspired by the shape of the classic Porsche, complete with curved windshield, but with subtle differences aimed at accommodating the bespoke aluminum chassis and optimizing aerodynamics. Watt is careful to point out it has no affiliation with Porsche AG itself.

The WEVC Coupe interior lacks the touch-sensitive digital design that some EV startups feel is necessary for a debut electric sports car, keeping things minimalist and classic with a set of gauges, a three-spoke steering wheel, air vents, a smooth, sleek dashboard and not much else.

The interior sketch promises a sleek, simple cockpit without distraction
The interior sketch promises a sleek, simple cockpit without distraction

Watt has been prototype testing for the past 10 months, and plans to continue to refine the WEVC Coupe on the path toward a November production start at its Cornwall facility. Deliveries of the first £81,250 (approx. US$112,675) Launch Edition cars will begin in early 2022.

Source: Watts Electric Vehicle Company

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19 comments
19 comments
Spud Murphy
They are going to have to more than halve that price for the production vehicles. While it's a neat little vehicle, you could buy a Tesla for that money, get a lot more practical use and better performance.
alexD
I like the design but hate the price.......
Thud
Is the third pedal a dead pedal? I also wonder why they went so vertical with their motor? Seems to be wasting the low center of gravity potential.
Aermaco
When it gets left seat steering, 4 wheel drive and an impact absorbing body,, I would buy that beautiful car, but they'd likely be sold out before get one.
Graham3196
The idea of the chassis as a component looks great but I question the roll over protection, the range and the price. 230 miles will fade to about 140 as the batteries age by the definition of old batteries which is that capacity drops to 60% of the new capacity.
The big advantage of the design seems to be that a standard chassis will save money yet the price looks far too high. Is there a real benefit in a carbon fibre body vs glass fibre in a car with modest performance. It seems that if someone can get a good "skateboard" chassis ready for others to do limited production bodywork we might get a reasonably priced EV.
TonyB
$113,000? They must be joking, I was thinking it would be a good second car if it was under $30,000.
McDesign
I do like this, the car as well as the approach.
tangential
That’s certainly an above average price for a vehicle with what seem to be an average or worse feature set.
jerryd
Rather dumb not making it a full composite monocoque and just bolt the parts to it. It cuts weight, labor, materials a lot which increases range, performance
DavidB
This was exciting news, right up to the last few words, “ Deliveries of the first £81,250 (approx. US$112,675) Launch Edition cars...”

Oh, well.
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