Now this, Elon, is a roadster. Specifically, this is the RBW Roadster from RBW EV Classic Cars. Constructed in the British Midlands, it’s got style for days and green cred to match. RBW says their EV Roadster is “Inspired by the MGB Roadster of the 1960s,” which is obvious. Less obvious is all the cool tech that lies beneath its skin.
That skin, it’s worth noting, is a brand new body shell from British Motor Heritage. This is not a junkyard special with some batteries, and a big motor bolted in. Indeed, RBW’s patented power drivetrain system that motivates the EV Roadster has spent three years in development. The Brits say this “takes the classic sports car design and enhances it for the modern world, whilst retaining a stylish elegance,” and you can’t really argue with that.
I mean, say what you want about the Tesla Roadster, it don’t look nearly as cool as this guy.
RBW Roadster: Powertrain & Performance
The drivetrain of the RBW Roadster was developed by Continental Engineering Services (CES) and Zytek Automotive, both firms having provided world championship-winning technology for Formula E racing cars. Talk about racing improving the breed, eh?
“Our patented system places the electric motor at the rear of the car and Hyperdrive Innovation’s lithium-ion battery technology under the bonnet, which gives perfectly balanced weight distribution,” explained RBW Managing Director, Peter Swain. “Not only does this give the driver much better handling of the car, retaining that sports car feel, but it also affords maximum battery volume to be housed.”
According to RBW, the Roadster’s top speed is 80 mph, with a range of 160 miles. If you want to have the optional seventh battery installed, that range increases to 200 miles. But the best part? RBW can make an electrified E Type! Sign. Me. Up!
“What is even more exciting for us is that the RBW System and architecture can be installed into other body shells such as Austin Healey, Jaguar E-Type, Mini, and many more,” Swain continued. “Each car can be built to the clients’ personal specification and requirements. The opportunities are endless and therefore safeguards the future of classic motoring.”
RBW Roadster: Suspension & Braking
The RBW roadster features an all-independent bespoke front and rear suspension with coil-over shocks and OEM developed brakes discs and calipers, with Regen braking also included, of course.
RBW refined the hub design and wheel bearings to ensure maintenance-free usage. They’ve even had a thorough go at reducing Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) brought on by the replacement of an internal combustion engine with an electric drivetrain. RBW says this all adds up to ensure a pleasant driving experience.
The interior has been modernized to match the 21st-century drivetrain. There’s a multi-function dashboard that combines driver gauges and messages with safety diagnostic symbols. The navigation system (with Wi-Fi) includes a motorized seven-inch multi-touchscreen. It can mirror smartphones, has an SD Card input, two USB inputs, and gold-plated RCA connectors for the highest audio quality possible.
Prototrim designed the non-tech parts of the interior. RBW says the leather interior reflects the highest levels of craftsmanship and attention to detail. You can pick from one of five colors for the interior.
Pricing & Availability
One sad thing to note is that RBW will only make a run of 30 Roadsters initially. I hope they do further production runs. They did say, however, that other model developments are already underway with a coupe GT version to follow the Roadster in 2021 along with a second RBW electric recreation.
The bad news, such as it is, comes down to prices starting from £90,000 plus taxes, which is around 120K in USD. Which, let’s face it, is about what a Tesla goes for.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.