The Formula One weekend in Singapore might be over, but beyond the race track, a Singapore-designed supercar has stolen some of the limelight with its homecoming: The Dendrobium, a fully electric supercar which reportedly can reach a top speed of more than 320kmh and go from zero to 96.5 kmh in 2.7 seconds.
The machine, which has doors and a rooftop that dramatically unfurl upwards and backwards in sync like an orchid in bloom, and a teardrop-shaped body, made its debut in March at the Geneva International Car Show.
The two-seater car’s wasp-like behind is designed to look like it is detached from its fenders. Besides creating a sleek silhouette, the space between the body and fenders allows air to be channelled through the car, creating greater downforce when it travels at high speed. It also has a distinctive wrapover rear spoiler with an integrated taillight and brake light that glows red hot when kicked in.
With a chassis of lightweight carbon fibre, the car is a zero-emission ride and boasts eco-friendly leather interiors made at Bridge of Weir.
Singapore-based Vanda Electrics, which conceptualised and designed the prototype, says another selling point is that the Dendrobium is extremely bespoke. The colour, finish and materials of the interiors can all be customised. Even the car’s exterior and features such as grilles and fenders can be tweaked to a customer’s liking.
Back in 2016, Vanda Electrics took its initial sketches and 3D concept models to Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology division of the Williams Formula One team, which then engineered and built the car in the United Kingdom.
When the car made its Geneva debut, Vanda Electrics had no serious intention of producing it – the first it has built – for the roads. Rather, it was a conceptual car to show off what the company can design and to “push design boundaries”, says Ms May Por, 27, a studio manager at Vanda Electrics who has been involved in the car’s design since 2013.
But after pumping in $7 million with the help of angel investors to make the prototype, they were encouraged to put it up for sale after positive response at the motor show.
The Dendrobium comes with the eye-watering price tag that is expected to start at €2.5million (S$3.2 million), says Ms Por.
Even then, there has already been seven viewings hosted at the VinCar showroom here.
Buyers need to have not only deep pockets, but also lots of patience – the Dendrobium is slated to be ready only by 2020, if things go as planned.
Amongst other safety tests, parts of its design still have to be modified and approved for use on the road. For instance, the car needs to be raised higher so that it can go over humps smoothly without hitting the front splitter.
And if it does hit production, fewer than 100 units of the car are likely to be made to keep it exclusive, she adds.
VinCar, a multi-label automobile dealers, is the official dealer for the Dendrobium in Asean. Those interested to view and buy the made-to-order car can make an appointment.
By Natasha Ann Zachariah, The Straits Times, September 2017
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