Hybrids & Electrics

It’s Electric: WEVC’s Coupe Channels the Classic Porsche 356

Even if you’re not restomodding it, rethinking or remaking a classic car isn’t unheard of. Fritz Egli did it to the Vincent Black Shadow, as did MST with the Mk2 Ford Escort. One German firm even reimagined the Bugatti Type 35. But arguably, for these ‘modern classics’ to be truly up-to-date, electric is the way to go. That’s what WEVC did with its Porsche-356-inspired Coupe.

The WEVC Coupe is a British-made EV inspired by the Porsche 356

A black WEVC Coupe development prototype on a track
WEVC Coupe development prototype | Watt Electric Vehicle Company

To be clear, the Watt Electric Vehicle Company didn’t necessarily intend to make a modern-day Porsche 356 lookalike. Initially, the UK-based company just wanted to make a modular EV platform for other “cottage-industry companies” to use, Top Gear reports. Zero Labs produced something similar here in the US.

However, before other builders got their hands on the platform, WEVC wanted to show off its strengths. Specifically, by making the very antithesis of modern “‘hugely powerful, fast accelerating, but heavy electric supercars,'” Autoblog reports. Thus, the British firm looked to the classic, simplistic Porsche 356—specifically, a 356A—for inspiration, Autocar reports. And the result was the WEVC Coupe.

The rear 3/4 view of a black WEVC Coupe development prototype on a hedge-lined road
WEVC Coupe development prototype rear 3/4 | Watt Electric Vehicle Company

While the WEVC Coupe looks similar to the Porsche 356, it’s neither a replica nor an identical copy. The body panels, the interior, and most importantly, the powertrain are all different, Car reports. And, like Singer’s creations, it doesn’t bear any Porsche badges. But in terms of performance and design ethos, WEVC did its homework well.

As we stated earlier, the WEVC Coupe rides on the company’s modular aluminum EV platform. Said platform has a mid-mounted 120 kW (161 hp) electric motor connected to a 40-kWh battery, Hagerty reports. That doesn’t seem like much at first. But keep in mind, even after its ‘356B’ update, the Porsche 356 has less than 90 hp, Car and Driver reports.

A dark-blue 1956 Porsche 356 A 1300 on a forest road
1956 Porsche 356 A 1300 | Porsche

Plus, the two-seater WEVC Coupe is rather light. Thanks to its aluminum chassis and carbon-fiber body, the RWD EV weighs less than 2200 pounds. As a result, it goes 0-62 mph in about five seconds. And its layout gives it a 50:50 weight distribution. Combined with the double-wishbone suspension, the WEVC Coupe should handle just as good, if not better than a 356. Only unlike the classic model, the Coupe has Bluetooth and A/C.

How can you get one of your own?

As of this writing, the WEVC Coupe is still undergoing final testing. However, the UK company plans to release the production version before the end of 2021. Deliveries should start in early 2022 with the launch of 21 Launch Edition models.

RELATED: There’s a New Porsche 356 Coming

WEVC hasn’t confirmed if the Coupe will be offered in the US. However, the EV does meet European crash standards, Autoblog reports. And with the NHTSA’s recent approval of small-scale replica car sales, the British car could be allowed in.

Would it be less expensive to convert an existing Porsche 356 into an EV?

If you want a WEVC Coupe, know they don’t come cheap. The Launch Edition starts at just under the equivalent of $113k, Autoblog reports.

RELATED: The Fiat 500 Wasn’t the Only Car Abarth Tuned

One alternative would be to convert an original Porsche 356 into an EV. Mechanically, the 356 is based on the original Volkswagen Beetle. Admittedly, Volkswagen won’t convert a 356 into an electric car. However, not only have specialty shops like EV West turned Beetles into EVs, but EV West sells a Porsche 356 conversion kit.

But while the kit only costs $7600, getting the 356 is the hard part. A good-condition 356A typically goes for about $70k, Hagerty reports. And examples on Bring a Trailer often fall in the $50,000-$100,000 range. But while that’s still cheaper than the WEVC Coupe, that’s without including potential installation or restoration fees. Zelectric charges a minimum of $68,000 to retrofit a Porsche 356 with an electric powertrain.

RELATED: The Blaze EV Classic Is a Single-Seater Mini Caterham Seven

But there’s another option: converting a Porsche 356 replica kit car into an EV. Some companies even offer electric powertrains right from the start. Rock West Racing’s Speedster, for example, accepts the EV West kit.

And Manik Sportscars in Texas offers an electric 356 replica kit car from British firm Chesil called the Chesil E. The base convertible has a single electric motor with 161 hp and 215 lb-ft and a battery pack with a claimed 200-mile range. And you can fit it with extra packs to add 100 miles of range; a limited-slip differential is standard.

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