Coachbuilding could be set to flourish again, after a British startup revealed its versatile Watt electric car platform designed to underpin niche vehicles.
Much like the approach Lotus took with the extruded aluminium structure that it created for the Elise – which went on to be adapted for other Lotus and Aston Martin models – the Watt Electric Vehicle Company‘s PACES (Passenger And Commercial Vehicle EV Skateboard) has been designed to be adaptable to a wide range of machines, from sports cars to six-wheeled trucks and buses.
As a proof of concept Watt is to produce its own sports car. Called simply the Coupe, the car is clearly inspired by the Porsche 356 and is promised to weigh less than 1000kg, with a 50:50 weight distribution. It will have a rear-mounted electric motor and a 40 kWh battery for a claimed range of 230 miles.
The architecture is scaleable and can host front, rear or all-wheel drive powertrains, with batteries held low down in the chassis skateboard chassis. It’s built from lightweight aluminium extrusions that are bonded together, much like the system pioneered by Lotus.
Watt is partnering with other British component manufacturers so that it can deliver a package including batteries, motors and control systems ready for bodywork and interior to be fitted.
Founder Neil Yates says, “This state-of-the-art, modular platform has been specifically designed for low volume manufacture, whether for a passenger saloon, sporty rear-wheel drive roadster or commercial vehicle.”
There’s no word on costs yet, but the idea of a variety of nimble, light electric sports cars with coachbuilt bodies sounds appealing as the rush to electrification intensifies.