In a reversal of the norm, the final-production Techrules Ren actually looks more bonkers than 2016’s McLaren-a-like concept cars. Those had comparatively normal dihedral doors – this features a single-piece Jetsons roof that slides back for easy access. Th at’s not all – the polycarbonate canopy is actually modular, with one, two or three individual pod confi gurations depending on how many people you plan to convey. Th e driving position is central too, fl anked by two passenger seats like a McLaren F1. China’s fi rst supercar has been given plenty of European fl air by Italian designers Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro from GFG Style, and features extremely innovative TREV technology. Is he a Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle? No.
Th is TREV uses a small sort-of-jet-engine to produce electricity, which is fed into electric motors via a battery for propulsion. In its fl agship six-motor set up the Ren produces 1282bhp and 1726lbs ft of torque for a 0-62mph time of 2.5 seconds and 199mph top speed. Good numbers. Th anks to a fl exible platform there are more than 300 diff erent drivetrain confi gurations – the Vindaloo example above features two motors on each rear wheel and one each on the front, but you can also choose a Balti two motor rear-drive option or Madras four motor all-wheel drive. Furthermore there are three different battery capacities and a one or two turbine confi guration, depending on your power requirements. Th e point of all of this of course is extracting maximum performance for the minimum environmental impact, and as such the fl agship Ren promises 106g/km of CO2 and more than 700 miles from a full 80-litre tank of diesel. Lower powered versions could be even more impressive.
Th e TREV system can be run on lots of diff erent fuels, including liquefi ed natural gas or hydrogen, but in the pre-Mad Max world diesel has proven to work the best in terms for performance and emissions. Th ere’s also a 124 mile EV only range, and the batteries can be charged to 80% in under 15 minutes.
While the fuel choice might not sound particularly explosive the handling certainly should be – thanks to a carbonfibre tub with horizontally-mounted pushrod coilovers (like an open-wheel racecar) and approximate 1700kg kerb weight. Th e whole car has been shaped for aerodynamicy and there are a set of active rear spoilers, which can deploy to enhance stability and downforce, plus seven selectable driving modes. Techrules says it has conducted rigorous testing of the steering, suspension, brakes, carbon fibre monocoque and engine at Monza in February 2017 and is pleased with the results so far. Very intriguing. On the whole, yes. First of all, the seats are trimmed in denim so they look like a massive pair of jeans – Techrules reckons this material is both hard-wearing and grippy in fast corners, which actually makes a lot of sense. Th e main instrument binnacle is housed inside a self-levelling screen in the steering wheel centre, while three monitoring screens above display scenes from the rear- and side-view cameras – the latter taking the place of traditional door mirrors.
Both rear passengers get a fold out touchscreen and internal comms system built into the seat headrest so you can convey messages to the driver (presumably something along the lines of ‘will you please slow down?’) and there’s also a set of external speakers so you can communicate with the outside world too. Th e latter seems like it could be open to abuse. Production of the Ren is to begin in 2018 with orders taken at the 2017 Geneva motor show. Only 96 will be made, with a projected production volume of ten cars per year, so you probably can’t have one. Never mind though – it will be initially off ered as a range-extended electric vehicle, but a plug-in electric Ren is also on the cards for the future. Th ere’s also the possibility of family and city cars to come, much in the same mould as Tesla’s move into more mainstream models.