Renovo, a company better-known for creating software for self-driving cars, caused a huge wave of praise and despair when it revealed a fully-electric Shelby Cobra Daytona it had created. While this isn’t the first classic car to be given the electrification treatment, the fact the racer is rare and highly coveted is what really angered some enthusiasts. To them, it’s the equivalent of drawing on the Mona Lisa with crayon. Renovo said it purposely picked an American icon as an act of patriotism.
The Renovo Coupe isn’t exactly cheap, considering the original price was set at $529,000 when it released in 2015. All the cars were made in Silicon Valley.
While you might groan at a classic car being electrified, especially one as iconic as the Shelby Cobra Daytona, there admittedly are some advantages. That electric powertrain produces 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque from a standstill, so the car can really scoot in a hurry. In fact, it does 0-60 mph in a smoking 3.4 seconds, blowing away the original acceleration. Yeah, it does all that with an eerie whining instead of the rumbling and roaring of a V8 engine, but even without all the saber rattling the car is just plain fast.
Of course, there are drawbacks to electrification. We’re spoiled with gas, because you just stick a nozzle in and the tank is full in only a few short minutes. While this Shelby has been outfitted to work with a fast charger, you still have to wait 30 minutes before the battery is replenished. To keep the curb weight down, Renovo skimped on the battery. That means a range of about 100 miles. But who would take this out for a weekend trip?
The interior has some interesting features. There’s still a shifter, so you get the exhilaration of rowing through gears, but the gauges are digital by necessity.
Is the Renovo Coupe an atrocity or an undeniably American supercar of the future? You decide.
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