Britain’s low-volume sports car market is set to welcome another player, with new brand Apex unveiling an electric concept as its debut model.
The Apex AP-0 aims to overcome the usual weight penalties that befall battery-powered vehicles, utilising an ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre tub underpinned at each end with modular spaceframes and a centre spine to provide rigidity without adding unnecessary bulk.
Instead of aiming into the stratosphere of electric hypercar dream machines, the AP-0 offers a somewhat more grounded (well, comparatively) set of specifications making for more of a sports car ethos.
Kerb weight is targeted at just 1200kg, despite the 90kWh battery packed in, giving a potential maximum driving range of 515 kilometres.
While Apex may not be a household name, the same company has some history with high performance automobiles having previously produced the ultra lightweight Elemental RP1, powered by Ford EcoBoost four-cylinder engines and with a dry weight of just under 600kg.
The AP-0 trades combustion engines for an all-electric drivetrain which claims a massive 484kW and 580Nm, allowing a 0-100km/h sprint in 2.3-seconds. Power is sent to the rear wheels, making those claims all the more impressive for a car without all-wheel drive traction.
To ensure no track day goes unserved the AP-0 is able to replenish 80 per cent of its charge rate in as little as 15 minutes with a CCS charger whereas a ‘standard’ Type 2 charger takes eight hours to charge.
The lithium ion battery cells are mounted within the front and rear floor so as to maintain a low centre of gravity. The battery packs themselves weigh-in at 550kg.
Borrowing from Formula 1, Apex has outfitted the AP-0 with a weight and aero-optimised push rod suspension setup featuring automatic ride height adjustment and adjustable coil over shock springs and dampers.
To keep the car’s performance potential in check 360mm x 32mm carbon ceramic discs brakes and six piston calipers are fitted up front with 340mm x 30mm discs and four piston calipers on the rear.
The AP-0 was penned by British designer, Guy Colborne, whose employment history includes time at Opel in the 1990s, a brief stint at BMW and work with the Walkinshaw group, including design work on HSV’s VY Commodore range. Later work saw him tied to the Ford Fiesta, Transit programmes as well as working with Pininfarina on the Focus Coupe-Cabrio
In 2012 Colborne co-founded the Elemental Motor Company. His design work on the AP-0 gives it a crisp and angular body, highlighting the minimalist form wrapped tightly over 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels whilst also playing with the somewhat odd proportions dictated by the structural aero spine.
A flat underbody and ground effects aerodynamics remove the need for a traditional rear wing.
Up front a wide grille and three-blade LED lights emphasise width, while at the rear a full height and width LED tail light array has been structured to give an unmissable view of the Apex logo.
Inside, minimalism meets information with a three-pane instrument display providing key data, sitting above compact flat-sided steering wheel. Plenty of visible carbon-fibre bleeds through the multi-layered construction of the dash, console and butterfly hinged doors, too.
While most of the Apex’s hardware shares specification with outright performance machines, its on the tech and connectivity front that the AP-0 differs.
A forward-facing Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) module sits ahead of the rear tail fin, over the cockpit as part of an array of sensors, including LiDAR, which are capable of mapping the vehicle's immediate surroundings, in high-resolution three-dimensional detail from more than 100m away in all weather conditions.
As a result the AP-0 boasts Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities with features like autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and connected mapping for dynamic navigation to avoid traffic jams.
The system’s capabilities also extend beyond the current functions with the ability to be upgraded to Level 4 Autonomy as functions, and the associated supporting legislation governing their use, become available.
The inbuilt tech can also provide augmented reality views via the interior’s holographic display allowing AR race instruction, which provides a video game-like experience for drivers as they learn new race tracks.
Apex has a global launch planned for the AP-0 as production starts in Q4 2022 with a starting price from £150,000 (AU$300,310) before local taxes and charges are applied.
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