Automotive

Renovo updates its electric Shelby with Nvidia-powered cockpit

Renovo updates its electric Sh...
The Renovo Coupe at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Renovo Coupe at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The high-tech cockpit includes an 11.6-in touchscreen and digital gauges (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The high-tech cockpit includes an 11.6-in touchscreen and digital gauges (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Renovo shows a high-tech, Nvidia-powered cockpit at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Renovo shows a high-tech, Nvidia-powered cockpit at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Nvidia's all-new Tegra X1 chip opens up new possibilities for automakers (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Nvidia's all-new Tegra X1 chip opens up new possibilities for automakers (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Renovo Coupe wears a chrome wrap in Las Vegas (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The Renovo Coupe wears a chrome wrap in Las Vegas (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Renovo plans to ready the Coupe this year (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Renovo plans to ready the Coupe this year (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The body is factory built by Shelby to Renovo's specifications (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The body is factory built by Shelby to Renovo's specifications (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Renovo Coupe at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The Renovo Coupe at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Coupe is powered by two electric motors that combine for 500 hp and 1,000 lb-ft
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The Coupe is powered by two electric motors that combine for 500 hp and 1,000 lb-ft
The popped hood of the Renovo Coupe (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The popped hood of the Renovo Coupe (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Renovo first revealed the Coupe last year
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Renovo first revealed the Coupe last year
The Coupe will start at a cool $529K
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The Coupe will start at a cool $529K
Classic looks, modern technology
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Classic looks, modern technology
Classic looks, modern technology
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Classic looks, modern technology
The Renovo hits 60 mph in 3.4 seconds
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The Renovo hits 60 mph in 3.4 seconds

California startup Renovo Motors showed off the ageless Shelby body and electric powertrain of its Renovo Coupe at last year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but it waited until this year's CES to open up the doors to the car's high-tech interior. Now that it has, it's put together all the pieces of an authentically-bodied Shelby with 500-hp electric powertrain and cutting-edge Nvidia Tegra X1-powered infotainment system ... a strange but alluring combination if ever there was one.

While the Renovo Coupe from last year had a more traditional interior layout, with analog gauges and toggle switches, the Renovo Coupe from CES packs nearly as much digital display space as the Volkswagen Golf R Touch. Its center stack is filled with an 11.6-in touchscreen that's basically an infotainment tablet, while the all-digital instrument panel packs a set of brightly-lit gauges. Behind those screens is Nvidia's recently revealed Tegra X1, a mobile super chip that offers a full teraflop of computing power.

Renovo shows a high-tech, Nvidia-powered cockpit at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Renovo shows a high-tech, Nvidia-powered cockpit at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

In preparing for CES, Renovo used Nvidia's DRIVE Studio software to design the digital cockpit. The HMI design software tool chain and runtime engine was developed specifically for designing instrument clusters and infotainment systems.

"In a few short weeks, design teams at Renovo and Nvidia created a beautiful, functional cockpit concept, showcasing the flexibility of Nvidia DRIVE Studio and the power of our new Tegra X1 super chip," said Danny Shapiro, senior director of automotive at Nvidia. "DRIVE Studio enables carmakers to easily create a wide range of exquisite designs for in-vehicle systems and ultimately enable customers to personalize their own vehicle interiors."

You'd be forgiven for scratching your head while trying to wrap it around the idea of a factory-built Shelby CSX9000 stuffed with bleeding edge technology like supercomputers and electric motors. We'd been staring inquisitively at the Renovo Coupe since last August, and the CES appearance left us more dumbfounded than ever. Renovo's co-founder and chief technical officer Jason Stinson clarified that the car's duality is at the heart of the company's playbook.

"What we tried to do is marry this classic, timeless look with modern technology. On the exterior, we have this timeless, classic body, Peter Brock design, and then we made it with what we think is the world's most technologically advanced drivetrain," Stinson explained. "In the interior, we don't have a ton of cup holders, we don't have a lot of distraction, but we then have this insane teraflop-level compute platform that we think is going to offer just some really amazing interfacing and experience for our customers."

The Renovo hits 60 mph in 3.4 seconds
The Renovo hits 60 mph in 3.4 seconds

With production not planned until later this year, Renovo will continue refining the interior design. When we pointed out the obvious – what's up with the flat-faced central display? – Stinson stressed that it's still a work in progress.

"I wouldn't disagree with you that it's a little flat," he said. "Certainly, that'll be one of the things, as we go into production, figuring out what the right angle is. Should it be tilted toward the driver, should we use a curved screen, what should that display ultimately look like?"

We can't imagine that upright screen won't give way to something more ergonomic. Beyond that type of clean-up, Renovo sees an opportunity to further leverage the digital technology toward creating a more engaging driving experience.

"One of the things we're excited about, that base level platform offers things like driver's assist, you can do multiple displays," Stinson says. "We're all Silicon Valley guys; we think in terms of video games, and you look at Gran Turismo, and how it helps you go around the track. This system with the compute platform and the vision that's available to it, we could do that inside the car and have the car itself basically help you go around the track."

Stinson wasn't ready to answer the question of what specific types of driver-assist technologies the finalized Coupe might include, but Nvidia used CES to show what its Tegra X1-powered DRIVE PX system is capable of. DRIVE PX uses dual X1s and up to 12 high-resolution cameras to give the vehicle surround vision. The chipmaker demonstrated how a driver could use the system for smartphone-activated autonomous parking.

Beyond its high-tech driver's area, the Coupe is a performance-forward piece of machinery equipped with twin sequential axial flux motors that fire out up to 500 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. A 740-volt lithium-ion battery powers those motors, and the car can sprint from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in a mere 3.4 seconds, topping out at 120 mph (193 km/h).

The Coupe is powered by two electric motors that combine for 500 hp and 1,000 lb-ft
The Coupe is powered by two electric motors that combine for 500 hp and 1,000 lb-ft

The car at CES was Renovo's last validation prototype, and the company plans to get the first cars into customer hands by the end of the year. As you might imagine, a high-tech electric sports car with state-of-the-art electronics and Shelby body shell and chassis won't come cheap – US$529,000 of not cheap. The company hasn't decided if the X1 digital infotainment system will be standard equipment or available as an upgrade.

Source: Renovo Motors

2 comments
Michael Wilson
where are the eco hippies? A "new" 500hp electric car desicrating the body of a polluting icon and not a single eco hippy making a comment. ::shrugs:: I don't put myself amongst their ranks, but I frankly love the idea of this vehicle. It pretty much forecasts what my father (retired mechanic of 40 years has said). "pretty soon in the future, you'll be able to resurrect any of your old favorite cars without all the mechanical headaches or frustrations or worry for lack of parts by swapping in an electric drive train." This was not exactly what he had in mind, but its a start. Doing it with the hallowed shelby body is almost sacrilege, as the burbling, popping, snorting, angry, big cube v8 sound is something we've all come to associate with the shape..... However, judging from the power output, I would say that at least fun driving will be around for awhile.... It may not sound quite the same, but as long as it will still hang the tail out in the corner and put me in the seat when I accelerate, I"ll be happy. So long as the slow driving hippies that love to turn up on the articles don't get their way.
Quarlsnarg
While i'm not a tree hugging hippie, I do like the idea of Eco-friendly power for my fav. 1960 Corvette Roadster, (the year i was born). I do however look forward to unplugging my Vett. from my solar/wind powered home's charging station and taking a long drive along the beaches (born in Panama City, Fl.) Plastering myself back into the seat as i blow some teenager's Saudi dependent gas guzzler off the road. This is of course until they get my jet-pack where it's accessible to the masses! Meanwhile i shall concentrate on salvaging enough gold from consumer recycled electronics and platinum from spent catalytic converters, so i can afford to buy all the parts and pieces for my Roadster... All the while hoping to meet more people like Mr. Michael Wilson, who obviously has a great sense of humor and whit comparable only to my own, (and maybe Samuel Clemons)! Untill the day we meet upon the streets to drag race our electric super cars while making big noise emulating v8 tuned exhaust's with our lips... VROooooMmmm...