The niche vehicle industry faces a considerable challenge in the transition to an electric future – low-volume manufacturers wanting to go zero emission cannot buy a sophisticated, yet cost-effective electric vehicle platform “off-the-shelf”. Until now.
Today marks the launch of Watt Electric Vehicle Company, a technology leader in EV architecture and manufacturer of premium EVs in its own right, which has designed a state-of-the-art platform enabling low-to-medium volume manufacturers of cars and commercial vehicles to go electric without the cost burden of investing in their own specific chassis technology.
The brainchild of Neil Yates, an experienced expert niche vehicle development professional and industry consultant, Watt Electric Vehicle Company’s Passenger And Commercial EV Skateboard (PACES) can support a broad range of future niche EVs. Flexible, scaleable, lightweight and cost effective, PACES is an adaptable bonded aluminium platform specifically designed for low volume manufacture. It can be applied to almost any size or shape of EV, from sports cars to buses – across FWD, RWD and AWD layouts – and complies with all ISO regulations and European Small Series Type Approval crash standards.
The key to PACES’ enormous capability is its structure system. Whereas large-volume aluminium skateboard concepts use bespoke, complex and expensive corner-castings, PACES is composed of lightweight extrusions – flat, laser-cut pieces – that interlock and bond together, an innovation called FlexTech. In this manner, PACES forms chassis that are low cost, extremely rigid and accurate, delivered to within 1mm of variability across the whole platform, requiring little upfront investment in expensive tooling or post-assembly machining, further cutting manufacturing cost.
To fully support niche vehicle manufacturers in accelerating their electrification transition, Watt Electric Vehicle Company has engaged a chain of expert component suppliers. Key technical development partners on the PACES project are leading UK companies Stalcom Automotive Technologies (based in Pershore, responsible for FlexTech, the lightweight, multi-material structure), Equipmake (based in Snetterton, responsible for state-of-the-art powertrain and battery systems) and Potenza Technology (based in Coventry, responsible for the project’s ISO26262-capable battery management, powertrain and body control systems).
Neil Yates, founder and owner of Watt Electric Vehicle Company, said: “As we rapidly accelerate towards 2030, electrification is a major challenge for niche manufacturers. With low sales volumes, it is difficult for these businesses – whether start-ups or established brands – to invest in their own new specific EV technology and develop it in-house. Watt Electric Vehicle Company enables the niche vehicle industry to go electric with PACES – a highly sophisticated off-the-shelf flexible platform that is not only cost-effective but complies with all ISO standards and European Small Series Type Approval crash standards.
“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, and also comes fully supported by a leading UK-based EV technology supply chain. Over the last two years, Watt Electric Vehicle Company has undergone a full development process with PACES and it is now market-ready. Watt Electric Vehicle Company invites interested manufacturers to get in touch to discuss their requirements.”
The first production car to use PACES will be Watt Electric Vehicle Company’s own Coupe. A 1950s-inspired, two-seat fixed head electric sports car, it will focus on driver involvement, with near 50:50 weight distribution, a kerbweight of less than 1,000kg and a communicative chassis exhibiting carefully-honed ride, handling and steering characteristics. Its rear-mounted electric motor will be available in two power outputs, with a 40kWh battery, giving WLTP range of 230 miles. More details of Watt Electric Vehicle Company’s Coupe will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Watt Electric Vehicle Company would also like to thank both the Niche Vehicle Network and Advanced Propulsion Centre for their crucial support during the development of PACES.