Automotive

Singapore’s first home-grown hypercar: The 1500-horsepower, all-electric Dendrobium

Singapore’s first home-grown h...
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: named after a Singaporean orchid
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: named after a Singaporean orchid
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: super-low front grill
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: super-low front grill
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: scale model presented at the Shenzen design fair 2015
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: scale model presented at the Shenzen design fair 2015
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: prelimiary performance specs put it right at the pointy end of the supercar market
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: prelimiary performance specs put it right at the pointy end of the supercar market
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: dramatic good looks by London's EPTA design
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: dramatic good looks by London's EPTA design
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: open rear end shows potential for active aerodynamics
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: open rear end shows potential for active aerodynamics
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: distinctive rear end
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: distinctive rear end
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: plug in to charge the 90-100kWh of onboard batteries
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: plug in to charge the 90-100kWh of onboard batteries
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: set to launch in Geneva in 2017
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: set to launch in Geneva in 2017
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: comfort may not be first priority here
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: comfort may not be first priority here
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: named after a Singaporean orchid
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: named after a Singaporean orchid
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
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Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: design sketches by EPTA London
Dendrobium hypercar: slated for a public debut at Geneva in 2017
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Dendrobium hypercar: slated for a public debut at Geneva in 2017
Dendrobium hypercar: 1500 horsepower in the wet will require an impressive torque vectoring/stability control system
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Dendrobium hypercar: 1500 horsepower in the wet will require an impressive torque vectoring/stability control system
View gallery - 23 images

Singapore's first home-grown hypercar is in development by a new company called Vanda Electric. The Dendrobium, named for a Singaporean orchid, is an ambitious project that's projected to make some 1,500 horsepower, 4,000 Nm of torque and a blistering 0-100 km/h time around 2.6 seconds. With the Williams Advanced Engineering team on board and some SG$10 million in capital behind it, it looks likely that we'll get our first glimpse of a full-sized prototype in Geneva in 2017.

In pure performance terms, electric vehicles are getting set to utterly dominate their petrol powered competition, while delivering levels of energy efficiency that will simply never be possible out of fossil fuels.

Electric horsepower figures will be just about arbitrary; manufacturers can more or less pick whatever figure they like for a given vehicle. Huge torque is more or less a given, too. Monster performance figures are within pretty much anybody's reach.

Dendrobium hypercar: slated for a public debut at Geneva in 2017
Dendrobium hypercar: slated for a public debut at Geneva in 2017

If anyone still needs convincing, here's an excellent example. Wong Fong Engineering is a Singapore-based company specializing in truck-mounted cranes and other industrial, municipal and military equipment. In 2013, for its 25th anniversary, it launched WFRIC - the Wong Fong Research and Innovation Centre as an ideas incubator.

And now, WFRIC has announced that it's spinning off its first new venture: Vanda Electrics, which will produce Singapore's first home-grown hypercar – the Dendrobium. According to preliminary spec sheets, it'll be a 1,500 horsepower battery-powered monster that will put out some 4,000 Newton-meters of torque.

Named for a Singaporean orchid, the Dendrobium will carry between 90 and 100 kWh of batteries, giving it a range around 400 km/249 mi (roughly 8 times across Singapore and back) and a top speed around 400 km/h/ ... but most certainly not at the same time.

Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: distinctive rear end
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: distinctive rear end

0-100kmh is expected to be around 2.6 seconds, which, if it delivers, will put it right at the pointy end of the hypercar class and squeeze all sorts of noises out of people in the passenger seat just through g-forces alone. Torque vectoring and stability control will keep the car's four monster electric motors from sending the car fishtailing into a loop every time the driver sneezes.

Vanda has engaged London-based design firm EPTA to design the low-slung, eye-popping, carbon/aluminium body, which includes a super-low front grill and an interesting open rear section that looks like it's designed to feature moving active aerodynamics.

Helping on the technology side will be Williams Advanced Engineering, of Formula One fame, and there's some SG$10 million worth of investment behind the venture thanks to Titan Capital.

Vanda tells us we should expect to see the Dendrobium hypercar in the flesh at Geneva in 2017, ahead of a limited production run of 10 customer cars, for which there's no current pricing available. Here's a completely uninformative design video:

If this small team from Singapore pulls it off, the Dendrobium will be an impressive achievement and a beast of a machine. But moreso, it'll be a glove slap to the entire performance car industry. Here's a company that's never built a car before, and its first effort will match the upcoming Bugatti Chiron for horsepower while lazily giving you nearly four times the torque. Truly terrifying.

Mind you, to make something as extreme as this, Vanda doesn't even have to design its own motors, you can buy the things more or less off the shelf. And between now and when this thing goes into production, they might well be able to get something faster to stick in there. The whole thing is just so much simpler than extracting more power from combustion.

Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: plug in to charge the 90-100kWh of onboard batteries
Singapore's Dendrobium electric hypercar: plug in to charge the 90-100kWh of onboard batteries

This is not a trend the petrol engine will survive. Right now, gas cars are cheaper and more practical on long trips, and those are their two remaining advantages. Tesla's awesome Model S P90D already out-accelerates everything bar the most exclusive million-dollar hypercars, and that's a freakin' family saloon that's comfy enough to drive your grandma around in.

True electric performance beasts like the Dendrobium will soon make it clear that if performance is really your goal, and not noise and drama, electric is where it's all going.

Preliminary specifications:

  • Total Length: 5540mm
  • Total Width: 2270mm
  • Total Height: 1100mm
  • Curb Weight: 1750kg
  • Wheelbase: 3530mm
  • Torque: 4000Nm
  • Power Output: 1500HP
  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 2.6s
  • Top speed: 400km/h
  • Range: 400km
  • Battery Capacity: 90-100kWh
  • Powered by 4 electric motors
  • Incorporates All Wheel Torque Vectoring system with stability function
  • Adjustable height for road and track operation
  • Two Seater, twin door
  • Carbon fiber and aluminum body and chassis
  • Liquid cooled batteries and motor

More information: Dendrobium

View gallery - 23 images
13 comments
Derek Howe
wow, that is one ugly car.
Michael Wilson
after viewing this, i just went to go rinse my eyes in boric acid.
Jugen
Sorry but as soon as I saw the how the windscreen wipers where mounted I didn't bother reading any further than Singapore.
gizmowiz
Those performance numbers can't be right. If the Tesla can achieve 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds from 735 hp and 700 ft lbs of torque, then 1500 hp and 2000 ft lbs of torque are going to make it go from 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds.
wanderkip
Brutalism at its best. Maybe not flowingly beautiful, but how is it possible that Singapore has more inventive engineers and designers than Europe? Proof positive that "heritage" is just an elitist term used to sell more cars to self-indulgent weenies.
Bruce H. Anderson
The styling is...um...interesting, certainly not for the faint of heart. The key with electric vehicles is not only range (but batteries are improving) but charge times (capacitors?). The future will be interesting, but I'm kind of partial to sound and fury.
pwndecaf
Where is the trunk? Will my golf clubs fit?
bergamot69
Striking design- certainly not a typical 'me too' effort.
Windscreen wiper design could do with some work though- I'd imagine that would have some unfortunate aerodynamic effects.
This kind of car isn't for me (even if I could afford one) but it's an interesting showcase nonetheless. Though I maintain that carbon fibre use should be limited in road cars as it is extremely prone to shattering into shrapnel in the event of a collision.
EricJensen
@gizmowiz, the numbers may be fudged a bit, but it's not unrealistic that 1500 bhp would have a ~2.6s 0-60. There's a lot of other factors in getting to their 0-60 time beyond just horsepower, mainly in how the power is used.
Gearing ratios at the motors can make a huge difference in 0-60 times, and this supercar is likely geared a bit higher than the Model S p90D to hit a flashy top speed number as well as getting stellar 0-60 times. People have reported 0.5s+ improvements in 0-60 times in gas cars just from a tranny swap, so I wouldn't be surprised if longer gearing in the Dendrobium could cause that.
Also, it's nearly impossible to put down 1500 horsepower at 0 mph. There's no rubber on the planet that could hold that amount of inertia without slipping quite a bit, and street tires are significantly less sticky than racing tires, so you could probably hit 1.6s 0-60 in the dendrobium on racing slicks, but that would make it illegal for public roads.
I do agree with you though, it would have been good if they pushed for LaFerrari numbers with a <2.4s 0-60
mommus
Not entirely sure this will get road certification in its current form, though it does look nice and aggressive.
There's not much in the way of headlights, and a lot of esoteric aerodynamic bits sticking out ready to cleave pedestrians in two.
The image showing a cutaway of the driver and engine is pinched from Audi (with permission?) and is actually an R18 TDi Le Man prototype from 2012.