Silicon Valley's Drako Motors unleashes track-torching 206-mph electric sedan
It's become all too common for a startup to materialize out of nowhere with claims of having the next groundbreaking electric car. In fact, it's happened twice this month alone. Much less common is for that startup to accompany those claims with a production-ready vehicle. But here comes Drako Motors, a Silicon Valley-based startup you've probably never heard of, with an all-out hyper-GT it says is ready for production. Four doors, four seats and four motors, the 1,200-hp GTE debuts as the world's most powerful sedan, a grand tourer built to exceed 200 mph (322 km/h) and vector sharply around twisting pavement with four passengers and all their bags.
Founded by entrepreneurs Dean Drako and Shiv Sikand, Drako Motors wasn't completely anonymous prior to its big GTE debut at the Quail this weekend. The company first officially announced its presence in the automotive arena back in 2015, when it launched an electric sports car software platform called DriveOS. It's since moved from Silicon Valley light (Austin, Texas) to Silicon Valley proper (San Jose) and now has more than just software to show, revealing an all-new electric supercar it positions as the world's most powerful grand tourer.
The "GTE" name isn't particularly exciting or innovative, but the car behind it makes up for its shortcomings several times over, packing specs that would impress from a tiny two-seater, let alone a sedan built to transport four people with room for their baggage. Each of the car's four wheels is connected to a dedicated permanent magnet hybrid synchronous motor through a direct-drive gearbox.
With power from the 90-kWh floor-mounted battery pack, the motors team for 1,200 hp (895 kW) and 6,500 lb-ft (8,813 Nm) of wheel torque, providing the promise of near-race-car levels of acceleration and speed. Drako doesn't throw out any sprint time estimates but says the GTE is capable of topping out at 206 mph (332 km/h).
The GTE isn't built merely as a spec-spitting straight-liner; it's real promise lies in fast, sharp handling and record-breaking track laps. A torque vectoring system derived from Drako's DriveOS software and put through its paces on the Nürburgring is a cornerstone of the GTE design. Controllers at each motor adjust positive and negative torque at each wheel more than 1,000 times a second, optimizing acceleration, cornering and stability.
Injecting a bit of old school touch in its cutting-edge electric supercar, Drako lets the driver control that torque vectoring, along with front/rear power distribution, regenerative braking and slip control, using a series of dials mounted on the carbon-fiber-trimmed center console. A second set of dials lets the driver fine-tune settings for the driving conditions ahead with race, track, dry, rain, snow and ice options.
The GTE's styling is much like its nameplate – fitting enough but rather forgettable. It's certainly attractive for a four-door, but we'd be hard-pressed to pick it out of a lineup of other performance electric sedans from lesser-known startups, even after studying its curves and angles rather closely. Perhaps the most interesting view comes from behind, where the Kamm tail-style fascia drops straight down into a hearty diffuser. The Fisker chassis below dictates Karma-esque profile dimensions, while battery cooling shapes the front into a porous sieve of grille and intake mesh positioned to assist the internal cooling system in keeping things within optimal temperature range.
The GTE relies on a four-way-adjustable Öhlins suspension system and can be shod in 20-in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires for track or 21-in Pilot Sport 4S tires for street. Front and rear Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes provide stopping power. The onboard 15-kW charger delivers standard AC charging, and Chademo and CCS hardware offers DC fast charging up to 150 kW.
The GTE starts at a cool, clean US$1.25 million, and Drako stresses that it's not in the concept or prototype stages but is in fact ready for production. Drako is accepting orders now and promises a hands-on customer test drive event in November. It will build only 25 examples, and the first deliveries will begin in 2020.
Source: Drako Motors