Dendrobium EV hypercar: The musical

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 20, 2017) In the movies from the 1930s and early 1940s, whenever the youthful performers got together to think of something to do, inevitably someone blurted out with great enthusiasm. “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” Today that throw away line seems to be, “Hey kids, let’s build a hyper performance electric vehicle!”

The latest member of the EV hypercar club is Singapore’s Vanda Electrics and its Dendrobium concept. This two-seat all-electric sports car is being developed in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology and services division of the Williams Group. WAE has taken Vanda Electrics’ in-house design from the design stage to the creation of the prototype shown at the Geneva Motor Show.

Vanda Electrics claims not only to be Singapore’s leading e-mobility company, but to have had an electric hypercar on the drawing board since the mid 1990s. Only now has the technology caught up to the dream. And it hopes to use the low-volume hypercar to advertise its plans to develop a range of electric products that capitalize on the trend toward zero emissions mobility while focusing on three segments: luxury, consumer and commercial.

So the Dendrobium is a high-tech calling card for a company that has only just introduced an electric truck and motor scooter in its native country. Named for the dendrobium orchid, a genus native to Singapore, the concept features a rear-opening roof and doors that resemble a fully opened dendrobium flower, while improving entry and exit to the interior. That interior features a red leather driver’s seat, a digital instrument panel flanked by a pair of camera-fed rear-view displays, and a grouping of hexagonal switches.

The chassis and body panels are made of carbon fiber, and feature a double rear diffuser and a floating light bar that doubles as a rear wing. The double wishbone front and rear suspension is exposed, and carbon ceramic brake discs clamped by lightweight alloy calipers that sit inside the 20-in. front and 21-in. rear wheels.

The target weight is 1,750 kg. (3,858 lb.), and performance estimates say 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds with a top speed of 200 mph should be possible.

The drive system is equally interesting, if surprisingly complex. Vanda Electrics says the Dendrobium will have a pair of inboard-mounted electric motors per axle, with a single-speed differential up front, and a multi-speed gearbox and differential unit in the rear. However, the car must first garner enough interest for Vanda Electrics to task Williams Advanced Engineering with putting it into low-volume production.

If the demand at Geneva is high enough, Vanda Electrics claims the first model could be on the road by 2020.

The Virtual Driver