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Scorpion EV is the best of the electric cobras…so far

Scorpion EV is the best of the electric cobras...so far
  • Scorpion EV takes a Superformance Cobra and adds a powertrain from a Tesla Model S, though it’s not that simple.
  • There is a 600 hp rear-wheel drive model and a 1000 hp all-wheel drive model.
  • Prices start at $185,000 for the 600 horsepower version.

    Say, maybe this all-electric future they’re talking about isn’t so bad after all. In fact, it can be downright exciting.

    Consider the all-electric Scorpion EV. It is made in Temecula, California, from a Superformance Cobra. Scorpion adds a Tesla powertrain along with some proprietary controllers and software. The version I drove makes 600 horsepower and gets to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds. The stated range is 400 miles. And they are now in production, with a sticker price of $185,000.

    You may have seen articles about other electric Cobras, and there have been a few. Superformance himself showed one of its Cobra Mk IIIs converted to electric power by GoTech Engineering in Florida. It went into the media rounds last year, causing several videographers to giggle and squeak. But range is listed at just 100 miles, and production has proved elusive.

    There is an electric version of the Factory Five Mk4 Roadster, but it’s a kit you have to build yourself. EV West sells a Factory Five EV conversion of its 818 model for just $8734. If you’re willing to cross the pond, AC Cars in the UK will sell you one of their Cobra Electric cars for £169,000, or Everrati one of his electric cars. Superformance GT40 Component Cars.

    So Scorpion seems to be ahead of the competition, surprising for a company that was only founded in 2019.

    “We are not trying to replace the original format of this vehicle,” said company founder and CEO Guilherme “Bill” Cardoso. “What we’re trying to do is show what the next generation of this platform looks like. Shelby innovated in the 1960s by picking up what became an iconic body from A/C in England, bringing it to America and putting in a 289 or 427 Ford engine to make this car ridiculously fast. So what we’re doing is the next generation of that, and the next generation of speed and performance is an electric motor.”

    Both the electric motor and the battery are from the Tesla Model S. The motor in the car I was driving sits on the rear axle and drives the rear wheels. A future Scorpion EV model will have front and rear engines. The battery pack has been reconfigured from Tesla’s flat tray with cylindrical batteries to fit into spaces in the Superformance Cobra.

    “The center of gravity of this car is good,” said Cardoso. “The driver is already sitting so low, we had no room to put the batteries under (the floor as with the Tesla Model S). So we used SolidWorks, a mechanical design CAD program, and with SolidWorks we designed a front battery box and a rear battery box, and we ran finite element analysis simulations to properly balance the car 50/50.”

    That required splitting the battery pack in half to balance the car. Likewise, the independent rear suspension had to be redesigned to accommodate the relatively large Tesla engine.

    “The next generation of speed and performance is an electric motor.”

    “So we did all this engineering work on the computer first, did all the simulation. And then we cut, TIG welded, put in and mounted all the pieces of water jet or laser.”

    From there, they can assemble a car in about two weeks.

    “We now ship vehicles with a turnaround time of 90 days. So three months lead time, which is good for paint, bodywork, testing and everything else.”

    But this isn’t just a Tesla engine in a Superformance body – there’s more to it. Cardoso has a PhD (and a BS and MS) in electrical and computer engineering from IIT.

    “The Tesla, you can’t really pull a Tesla and just use all the electronics, there’s a lot of proprietary handshakes that take place. And I really wanted to have as much control as possible and be able to tweak things like I’ve shown you, the power and the region in change in the blink of an eye.”

    Scorpion minimized the dashboard and loaded controls on the steering wheel.

    Scorpio EV

    At the start of my ride in the Scorpion EV, the power was dialed all the way up to 600. Of course I floored it. Now I either had great throttle control or advanced traction control was at work.

    “There’s no traction control,” Cardosa said.

    So I have great throttle control. In any case, the rear wheels turned, but not uncontrollably. It was fast, but not like a Rimac Nevera, Pininfarina Battista or even a Tesla Model S in its more powerful mode. A little throttle—excuse me, throttle—modulation kept the Scorpion EV in line when launched. I wasn’t timing it, but it certainly felt like a 0-60mph of at least 3 or 4 seconds; maybe not as fast as a 2.4 as Cardosa claimed, but it’s possible that would come with even better throttle control, er, throttle.

    Remember, it’s not just a Tesla powertrain lifted out of a Model S and placed in it. You can’t hack a Tesla.

    “That is very difficult to hack. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s not done yet. What has been done, people took the whole car and put all the wires and all the sensors and the ECU and everything else from a Tesla and then just stuffed that into another chassis. That’s done. But again, that’s not the idea for this car. You want to keep it as manoeuvrable and as light as possible.”

    So there was a lot of work to do?

    “It was a lot of work, yes. There is a lot of intellectual property in the car when it comes to integrating all these different parts. If you put an LS or a Coyote on another platform, you can’t just go on YouTube and find 50 other guys for you who did it. There’s a lot of EV integration. Even for OEMs this is still in its infancy, there is a lot involved. And we don’t benefit from 100 years of automotive experience such as internal combustion of gasoline. There’s not a huge range of experts you can call and have them say, ‘Oh, yeah, plug this in.’ So it’s a lot of reverse engineering, a lot of understanding how different pieces fit together to end up in a package like this.”

    Driving a little more in an industrial area with no traffic shows that the car is sporty, agile and light. Cardosa says it’s 2600 pounds “wet” including the batteries. I ask him if it gets heavier when the battery is full. He smiles. Electrical engineering humor.

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    He turns the power down and the rain up with his phone.

    “Fifty horsepower is more than enough for this car,” he said.

    It’s like a valet mode, or a teen driver mode, or a maximizing reach mode. Actual range can be up to 500 miles given the lightweight body and overall efficiency.

    How does Cardosa know there is a market for yet another electric Cobra costing $185,000?

    “Initially I wanted to build one for myself, right? And with that idea in mind, I started. And when I started building mine, a friend of a friend of a friend reached out to me and said, “Hey, can you make me one too?” And I thought, ‘Well, wait a minute, if two guys in the world want it, I might have a few more who want it.’ So the spark was lit to make more cars, and slowly I notice that more and more people would be really interested in this package.”

    They have delivered seven cars so far and have plans to make 25 to 50 by 2023. If interested, please contact Scorpion EV here. And enjoy the future.

    Mark Vaughn
    Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours burning a stoplight over a six-cylinder miraculously fueled by a single carburetor, while his father cursed Ford, all of his products, and everyone who ever worked there. .