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Renovo Coupe combines Shelby looks, high-voltage electrics (pictures)

Renovo Motors, a Silicon Valley start-up, takes rolling chassis from Shelby American and fits them with an innovative electric drivetrain, aiming to become a super high-performance electric car.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 19 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Renovo Motors uses a simple shield as its badge for the Coupe, its first car. The company is a Silicon Valley start-up focused on developing high-performance electric cars.

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The front door to Renovo Motor's Silicon Valley office is nondescript, echoing the company's four-year quiet period of development before the August unveiling of the Coupe.

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The Renovo Coupe will be a limited-production car, hand-built, costing $529,000. The company has no plans for a mass-market car.

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Renovo partnered with Shelby American to get the body and chassis built. Renovo focuses on developing the electric drivetrain for the car, relying on Shelby's expertise for suspension and mechanics.

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The Shelby American CSX 9000 is based on the legendary 1964 Shelby Daytona, which counts wins at Le Mans, Monza and the Nurburgring in its pedigree. Renovo takes the CSX 9000 chassis and adds its electric driveline components.

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Renovo keeps the Coupe's weight down to 3,250 pounds, as the company is focused on track performance and handling dynamics.

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Renovo retains the car's cowl vents, which take in air to cool the cabin, as a nod to the original car's aesthetics.

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Vents in the hood help cool the electric driveline components, which rely on a hybrid system of air and liquid cooling.

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Although rear-wheel-drive, Renovo places the drive motor in the front of the car, at the firewall. This placement conveys more of the sound and feeling of the motors to the driver.

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Renovo kept the original lights on the backplate, although uses a  bi-xenon headlamp and LED ring in front. The LED ring serves as a daytime running light and charging status indicator.

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Renovo's high-voltage approach to the drive electronics allows smaller gauge wiring, as their is less heat. The three battery packs give the motors 400 kilowatts of output, equal to 500 horsepower, and 1,000 pound-feet of torque from 0 rpm.

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Fuel fillers have been converted to charging ports, with a standard J1772 on the left fender and a CHAdeMO fast charging port on the right.

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The driver can set levels of regenerative braking through the shifter, but on the track there is no substitute for the friction brakes, six-piston caliber on the fronts and four-piston caliper at the rear wheels.

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The Renovo Coupe is a classic two-seater with some luggage space under the back glass.

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The cabin on this prototype looks bare, following the a race car aesthetic, although Renovo will likely freshen it up for the production vehicles.

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The original Shelby seats are small buckets, similar to what you would find in a vintage 1960s sports car.

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The Renovo Coupe necessarily uses electric power steering, but it is speed-dependent, and assist is reduced to 0 above 30 mph.

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Instead of a gearbox, this shifter controls drive modes and regenerative braking level.

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A power gauge on the left shows regeneration, while the center LCD gives more detailed data to the driver.

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