We wanted to control how the power was delivered, vehicle weight distribution for a sporting drive; whilst also factoring in the age of vehicles we were to produce or convert. Add a compelling safety case and the fact all this was three years ago when many people simply thought we were mad!!!
Peter goes on to say “Thankfully, we had some talented people within RBW HQ. A small team who understood my system design, even though initially, it was simply hand drawn on three A4 sheets of paper. We set about a concept design by removing differentials from MG’s and E-Types and offering our test fames to the monocoque. First, building wooden test frame structures to carry a rear wheel electric direct drive motor – add in. I wanted the brakes and suspension to be on the new rear system, thus, torque, breaking, suspension captured within a modern designed frame/system that could cope with the torque and be safe when applied to older Classic Vehicles – that was design and plan hatched in 2017, one that CES agreed with hence we engaged. It was CES who took my first designs and hand built the first test system.”
Fast forward six months, 2017 we had the test system installed into an old MG with Continental ERM2 motor, Hyperdrive Batteries housed in a bespoke battery box were located under the bonnet, and a new high voltage harness was designed. The RBW system was becoming a reality! Our concept car was now being engineered at the Zytek facility with latest test equipment and compliance tools – quite an accolade for our small business.
Although not pretty, the day of reckoning came – we hired a test track and took the ‘proof of concept’ car to be tested. I invited along John Yea, MD of British Motor Heritage who we would use for new body shells if we were successful. John had been very supportive throughout. His knowledge of the MG range is quite incredible. John arrived in his classic racing MG so we could compare old and new notes! John had never driven an electric car, he was mightily impressed how the concept car drove. He went on to say how the RBW concept car went incredibly well around the track, the instant torque and balanced weight distribution gave real sports drive far quicker and more enjoyable than his own petrol racing MG!!! We now knew we had a product and opportunity – sure, we had work to do. So now the real work began, not least having the original body shells scanned and CAD as well as a whole host of other components, important now we used modern methods to improve the vehicle.
The ‘RBW system’ needed to be taken from concept to manufacture – we engaged with DEE Engineering, suspension and braking experts who duly took our concept and started the process of re-design, test and compliance. Stress testing, creating newly designed lower arms, Adams testing, 3G-10G tests, compatibility of components, the list goes on. Eventually arriving with an approved system using Golf MK7 Hubs, TRW Suspension – the front system was re-designed to afford all round modern suspension and uniformed braking which could be sympathetically installed into a classic vehicle – and all this was achieved whilst keeping one of our main objectives – The RBW system bolts in with sixteen fixings, using original suspension and differential mounting points. This a real triumph for keeping the original integrity of the classic car – we do not need to adapt original bodies.
One of the benefits of the RBW system “Patent p: 1906698.4” is weight distribution and space management – electric motor at the rear, batteries under the bonnet, near 50:50 weight distribution. This setup gives a fantastic drive, yet affords maximum battery volume to be housed in a “vehicle specific battery box” be that MG, E-Type and others, with a new high voltage harness and low voltage harness designed by CES we had now a proven quality ‘system’ that met the latest standards and gave us our original desire of being a ‘world leader’ in building new and converting high value classic sports cars.
We can go far further, suffice to say Hyperdrive Batteries are a proven industry leader where RBW have a great relationship and secure supply (important in the electric car world) yet a relationship where the software to control the battery system is configured by CES our three business’s working together in a very positive way. We also found it hard to focus on the interior, when we have been all about the engineering – fortunately for RBW, our partner for all of our vehicle interiors is Prototrim, who work with Bentley, Aston, Sunseeker amongst others – we were delighted to hand over the bespoke interior and client customisation to these talented guys the results have been amazing.
So there you have it. How Peter and the team at RBW have designed, developed and introduced a unique system for their RBW Roadster. A unique build which shows how dedicated (and talented!) these guys are!
See you soon,