GENEVA, Switzerland – Unveiled today (March 7) at the 2017 Geneva auto show is Singapore’s first hypercar, the Dendrobium, from Vanda Electrics in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering.
Dendrobium? Yep, it’s a genus of orchids native to what is now Singapore and first identified in 1799 and now including about 1200 species thanks to one Olof Swartz, a Swedish botanist. But then you knew that, hey?
Anyway, the Dendrobium at Geneva is a two seater all-electric sports-car concept of utterly striking design and a target top speed in excess of 320km/h. It’s only connection with a flower, however, is the way its roof and doors open like floral petals.
FAST CHARGE, ZERO EMISSIONS
Vanda, according to information from the show, specialises in battery technology, research, innovation and design and is one of high-tech Singapore’s leading e-mobility companies. It focuses, we’re told, on luxury, consumer and industrial markets.
With the launch of a fast-charging zero-emissions light electric commercial vehicle (http://vandaelectrics.com/pro-anttruck/) and an electric mini-scooter (http://motochimp.com) expected later in 2017 the company has chosen Geneva to show off some flower power, this high-performance, halo, luxury car.
The company’s technical partner is Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology and engineering services division of the Williams Group which, The Corner was told, specialises in areas very relevant to Dendrobium: aerodynamics, light structures, vehicle integration and electrification.
Williams Advanced Engineering has taken the project from design to concept car.
The car has an automatic roof and doors which, as we noted earlier before getting to this part of the media release, “open in a synchronized manner, resembling a fully-opened dendrobium”.
The system claims to make getting in and out easier than other hypercars – take a look at this video of the car in action. https://youtu.be/G0Pgfzlm1bk
Other highlights of Dendrobium’s exterior are said to be the aerodynamic floor, double rear diffuser and front splitter. A light bar soars over the tail and the double-wishbone front and rear suspensions are exposed. The monocoque chassis has carbon-fibre panels, carbon-ceramic brake discs and light-alloy callipers inside 20″ front and 21″ rear alloy rims.
The car’s target weight was 1750kg.
The cabin is leather-trimmed (Scottish Bridge of Weir skins) and the driver looks at a digital information panel flanked by two rear-view displays. All of the facia buttons are hexagonal, a shape recurring throughout the car – including the air vents, grille and headlights.
Williams Advanced Engineering is, of course, an electrification specialist and the sole battery supplier to still relatively new Formula E racing. It’s hybrid systems were also vital to the rapid development of Jaguar’s C-X75 supercar.
Should the Dendrobium go into production, the media at Geneva were told, it will have two inboard electric motors per axle with a single-speed gearbox and differential at the front and a multi-speed gearbox and differential at the rear.
The first units for sale are expected by 2020, provided Vanda receives enough positive feedback at Geneva.
Larissa Tan, Vanda Electrics CEO, told The Corner in a media release from the Geneva show: “The Dendrobium is the product of a dream. Our design team has had sketches of an electric hypercar on the drawing board since the mid-1990’s but that vision was many years ahead of its time.
“As electric technology advanced so were we able to revisit this vision and now, as we launch our revolutionary global e-mobility strategy, the timing is finally right.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the world’s reaction to the Dendrobium – just be a concept now though we have every intention of putting it into production.
“The car is at the top of our range and the production version will be a showcase for the best in design and e-technology.”