The pioneering EVs are powered by a completely Australian-made electric drivetrain. Varley will begin taking orders for the evS-450 from January, while final compliance and validation tests could push back the availability of the higher-performance evR-450 slightly.
Varley is yet to announce pricing for the two models, but Varley electric vehicles divisional manager John Bettini says the company is hopeful of keeping the final prices below $200,000.
The evR-450 promises performance to rival the Tesla Roadster – not to mention some of the world’s most powerful internal combustion supercars – with a 0-100km/h acceleration time of just 3.8 seconds. The evS-450 is no slouch either, completing the sprint in 4.6 seconds.
Both vehicles feature a 24kWh lithium-ion battery pack that sends power to twin three-phase AC ironless electric motors that are sourced from Ultramotive Technologies (a Queensland company recently acquired by Varley).
The evS-450 gets a 300amp ‘Wavesculptor’ motor controller from Tritium (also based in Queensland), leading to a maximum power output of 280kW (at 2550rpm) and a whopping 1050Nm of torque (0-2550rpm). The evR-450 gets a more powerful 350amp controller, leading to peak power of 310kW (at 2420rpm) and 1225Nm of torque (0-2420rpm). The evS-450 has a top speed of 160km/h, while the evR-450 stretches out further to peak at 180km/h.
Varley says both variants have a combined driving range of 160km and take eight hours to recharge from a standard household power point.
The body and chassis of Varley’s two-seat mid-engined electric sports coupes are currently sourced from Michigan-based Superlite Cars and built uniquely to Varley’s specifications. Production of those components is set to shift to Australia soon, however, as Bettini revealed Varley recently signed a deal with the US manufacturer to build the body and chassis locally. He said this would happen “sooner rather than later”, suggesting sometime in 2012 was not out of the question. Bettini said bringing production of the body and chassis in-house would give Varley more scope to evolve the styling and make tweaks to the underpinnings.
A semi-monocoque aluminium chassis underpins a fibreglass body, which houses a six-point seamless race-spec roll cage. CNC billet aluminium suspension and adjustable coil-over shocks sit behind four-pot Brembo brakes (355mm front, 365mm rear). The evS-450 gets multi-spoke aluminium wheels, while the evR-450 scores lightweight rotary-forged aluminium wheels (18-inch front, 19-inch rear). The evR-450 also gets a slightly firmer suspension set-up.
Opening the scissor doors reveals a driver-focused and minimalistic cockpit with an iPhone/iPad-operated vehicle control system display. The evS-450 will be “more plush”, with luxurious interior appointments including the option of leather upholstery. The evR-450 – which is 40kg lighter than the evS-450 (1250kg vs 1290kg) – has a race finish, with an emphasis on lightweight interior components.
Bettini explained Australia’s low-volume compliance rules meant the company could only sell 25 electric sports cars in our market per year. He said it was difficult to say if all 25 vehicles scheduled for 2012 would sell out at this stage, as Varley is yet to open the order books and take firm deposits, but said the amount of interest was encouraging. Bettini said there was also “a massive amount of interest” in the cars from overseas, especially in the US and Europe.
Varley has plans beyond these two sports cars too. Bettini says the company is looking at developing other motors with Ultramotive to power different vehicles further down the track.