… And yet this new electric sports car is neither Italian nor American, but Chinese.
The new SC-01 coupé was presented a few days ago in China and if it comes into production next year, it could be a pleasant surprise for fans of sports cars and electric motors. HAS
With the SSC SC-01, China is once again blowing a breath of fresh air on the automotive world, which has become very dull and far too smooth, with a few exceptions that are too often inaccessible.
What is SSC?
SSC is a big Chinese start-up that specializes in cars and electric motors. The company is not without funds since it is financially supported by major private investors and by Xaomi, the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer in 2021. The latter is also present on the board of directors of the new brand and it is even Liu Dezheng, co-founder of Xiaomi, who sits as a director of this company born in 2016 under the name of Tianjin Gongjiangpai Auto Technology.
The Chinese company SSC has nothing to do with the firm Shelby Super Cars which has become SSC North America (the manufacturer of the Tuatara hypercar) and it even has a Chinese name, Xiao Paoche which has therefore been translated internationally as CSS or Ssmart Sports VSar.
First discovery of the coupé
During the presentation of the SC-01 coupe, the boss of the company, Feng Xiaotong, explained at length about the style of the sports car.
The angry, the embittered, the angry or the anti-VE will obviously find here material to react, to create the famous “nervous breakdowns” and to speak of quasi-copying or plagiarism, but we have to recognize, and this is not not the first time that Chinese designers or those associated with their projects have done a pleasant style job that is often much more successful than what European or more broadly “Western” car brands offer us.
During the revelation of the model, the head of the company obviously talked about technology and performance, but he lingered for quite a long time on the work of the designers and to explain what were their benchmarks, their automotive pleasures and their influences. So we discovered that these were named Lancia Stratos and Lotus Evora.
It’s hard to be misguided when one refers to the work of Marcello Gandini (for Bertone) and Russell Carr (Lotus)!
If, from the front, the SC-01 has its own personality, we can see influences from sports cars that have appeared for 10 to 15 years. The fine, smooth and plunging nose can, moreover, recall that of the Evora just like the windshield which also hesitates with that, almost panoramic, of the Stratos. The optics set under an “eyelid” style body crease gives a sporty and somewhat aggressive look to the small Chinese coupe.
The simple profile, with small windows recalls the sports car from Turin, in particular with the upper folds of the bodywork which ends, as on the Lancia, with a spoiler designed to promote aerodynamics and downforce.
We will also appreciate the aluminum rims with their sober design but which are reminiscent of those of the MAT New Stratos which appeared a few years ago.
The rear part and in particular the round lights are inevitably reminiscent of the two Italian versions (Stratos and New Stratos) but it is also specified (see sketch below), that they also refer to the nozzles reddened by the heat of the reactors of fighter jet.
In the end, we discover an SSC SC-01 coupe, with a simple, sober, sporty modern but almost classic design and above all attractive in these times of unnecessarily fussy or overloaded automotive design, especially on EVs even if it is not Bertone or Pininfarina from the beautiful period of the years 1965 to 1980.
Compactness, 4-wheel drive and sportiness
The SSC SC-01 coupe managed to maintain a real compactness forgotten for a few decades since the car announces a length of only 4.09 m long, that is to say more or less the length of a Clio or a 208, a width of 1.82 m wide and a height of only 1.16 m, the whole being placed on a long wheelbase of 2.50 m which should help mobility and liveliness in sporty driving.
The car is built around a tubular frame, four independent wheels combined with shock absorbers that are as horizontal as possible in order to help lower the center of gravity.
Here by “battery floor” because considered far too heavy for a sports car but a battery pack installed in a central position, behind the cockpit and in front of the rear axle. This construction allows the masses to be refocused and the driver and passenger to be seated as low as possible in the semi-bucket seats.
Armed with all these elements, the designers of the SC-01 have managed to offer a sporty electric car that is almost light since it weighs only 1,300 kg, i.e. a weight far from the usual in the wonderful world of the electric vehicle and not very far from that of the Tesla roadster in 2008 which announced 1,385 kg 14 years ago.
If SSC does not tell us much about the batteries and their capacities, we nevertheless learn that this novelty is a 4WD with a motor installed at the front and one at the rear.
The powertrain develops a sufficient combined power of 320 kW (435 hp) and 435 Nm of torque. We don’t know the coupé’s maximum speed, but we learn that it only takes 3.9 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h… like the first-generation Tesla Roadster.
With a contained mass, the Chinese coupe can announce an interesting weight/power ratio of 2.98 kg/hp.
As for autonomy, the manufacturer announces 500 km in the mixed NEDC cycle, i.e. between 400 and 420 km in the WLTP cycle. This could be enough for a sportswoman dedicated to pleasure!
Towards a sober and sporty interior
The passenger compartment, not presented, is advertised as sober and sporty with bucket type seats, two screens (one for the driver and one for the infotainment system and navigation. The equipment should be sufficient, of good quality but be limited to what is necessary in a sports car.
Here we are far from the last large Chinese electric coupes which are imposing and equipped with a plethora of equipment, not to say superfluous.
A contained price as an asset of seduction
Smart Sports Cars informs that the price of access to the model should be around 300,000 RMB, that is to say some €43,575 or the price of a Mégane E-Tech EV40 in Iconic version!
Currently in the final development phase, the SSC SC-01 coupé should arrive on the Chinese market but also in Japan during the last quarter of 2023.
It is envisaged a marketing in the United States and for Europe, it will still be necessary to wait because the project is barely mentioned for the moment.
To be continued.