RE: Westfield to launch first fully electric kit car

RE: Westfield to launch first fully electric kit car

Friday 26th July

Westfield to launch first fully electric kit car

Newly acquired Chesil Speedster will form the basis of innovative offering to the home build market



While youโ€™ve been sitting at home waiting for the pub to open, Westfield Sportscars has been quietly innovating like its corporate life depended on it (which, of course, in a very real way it does). Under Julian Turnerโ€™s leadership, the firm has already branched out into the business of building fully autonomous electric pods (it supplied the ones you see snaking their way to Terminal 5 from the business parking at Heathrow). Now it has another bright idea: designing, building and certifying an electric car for the DIY customer.ย 

To facilitate this, it has acquired the Chesil Motor Company - an established player in the kit car market and the manufacturer of the Chesil Speedster, a hat-tipping replica of the iconic Porsche 356. According to Westfield, its new purchase has sold over 500 units - pretty good going when you consider that itโ€™s only been going since 1991. Clearly its business model made sense to Turner, but an additional product stream is apparently the least of his ambitions.


The long-term vision is to โ€˜future-proofโ€™ the Chesil Speedster, by a) incorporating Westfieldโ€™s expertise in fibreglass construction and b) making it fully electric (something else its parent company has developed a talent for). This is no pie-in-the-sky aspiration either - the Chesil E Speedster, as itโ€™s inevitably known, will be unveiled at Silverstone Classic for all to see. Press drives, incredibly, are pencilled in for early September.ย 

Granted, thereโ€™s no word yet on spec or performance or price - or how exactly a kit-build electric car will work alongside a factory-built alternative - but Westfield already has plenty to show for what it describes as the โ€œculmination of many months of work between the two businesses.โ€ It will continue to build and supply the conventionally-powered Speedster - as it will its own expansive line-up of sports cars - but clearly believes that it has landed on a complementary and impressively novel plan for the next few years.ย 

โ€œWe are really excited to have the Speedster under the Westfield Brand," remarked Turner. "We see the continued global growth of the Westfield collection providing a bespoke car to meet the individual needs of our customers. Westfield can now offer you a POD for your mobility needs in the week and car for fun for the weekend โ€“ all tailored around your bespoke requirements.โ€


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Author
Discussion

Caddyshack

Original Poster:

1,349 posts

151 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
Wow, I think they will sell a ton of these.

The speedster always draws crowds at kit car shows (always bugged me that people would say "that’s the James Dean Porsche" as it wasn’t.

I will keep an eye on these.


GTEYE

1,400 posts

155 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
Caddyshack said:
Wow, I think they will sell a ton of these.
I’m sure they could sell more than they could make. 500 since 1991 averages only 17 a year!!!

Oldwolf

429 posts

138 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
Interesting, but are people going to want their weekend toy to be electric?
I'd be happy to have an electric commuting car but for sunny weekends I'd prefer petrol.
I hope they're successful and I'll watch with interest.

chunkytfg

82 posts

126 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
Oldwolf said:
Interesting, but are people going to want their weekend toy to be electric?
I'd be happy to have an electric commuting car but for sunny weekends I'd prefer petrol.
I hope they're successful and I'll watch with interest.
Possibly they will and possibly they wont. I assume the car will be available in the old ICE configuration as well as the all new EV version?

Also Westfield get to say they were there first I guess. Does any other Kit Car Maker offer a proper EV version?

keirik

2,111 posts

88 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
£25k more for the factory built electric over the ice version.

That's a lot of committment.


Mikebentley

719 posts

85 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
It’s surely not that hard though is it? There was someone at FOS two years ago doing electric versions of classic cars. He had a beetle on the stand which was quite neat. I seem to remember it was about £10k to do. Sir Clive Sinclair built the C5 in 1985 so what has taken Elon so long?............

hairykrishna

11,004 posts

148 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
keirik said:
£25k more for the factory built electric over the ice version.

That's a lot of committment.
Unless it's got a Tesla spec drive train that price presumably means they don't intend to sell any at the moment and this is juat for marketing the fact that they now own Chesil.

I did muse for a while about a cheap electric kit car. Get a mid engine kit intended for a fwd donor and stuff the worky bits from a written off Leaf into it. Leaf motors can take a lot more power with a custom controller. I think it'd be fun.


Burnham

3,520 posts

204 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
GTEYE said:
Caddyshack said:
Wow, I think they will sell a ton of these.
I’m sure they could sell more than they could make. 500 since 1991 averages only 17 a year!!!
..I thought that sounded like pretty good sales figures to be honest.

Steamer

11,123 posts

158 months

Friday 26th July
quotequote all
I was wondering if Westfield were still even in business.

I know the sprint scene is very popular with Westfields but I'm seeing less and less kitcars on the road...

..Chesil always looked nice, but noise was always a huge part of kitcars.

Gemaeden

126 posts

60 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Strange that this is seen as a British car, given it's origins. Let's hope Porsche don't get funny about styling rights like Ferrari do and have them all crushed.

PositronicRay

16,203 posts

128 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Bravo, terrific idea, not to everyone's taste but doesn't matter.

As an aside I saw an electric 7 type car at a local sprint meet a few yrs ago. Really quick, impressively so, sounded a bit scalextricy.

redroadster

982 posts

177 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Great idea ,I'd b surprised though like previous poster said about Porsche not getting narks on about design rights ,not sure legal position but I'd have thought Westfield has it covered ? .

ajprice

16,428 posts

141 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Chesil have been building the Speedster for years, if Porsche didn't like it, they would know by now.

ZX10R NIN

15,089 posts

70 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Nice bit of marketing it''ll be interesting to see how many they've sold in a years time.

Nickworld

25 posts

174 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Oh yeah - this has got my name all over it. Chesil has drawn my eye for years now but could never quite do it and I think that the ersatz Porsche body with a VW drivetrain put me off. Swap that for an electric motor and this offers something that a genuine (properly expensive) 356 doesn’t.

I’ve been in the market for an electric sports car since I sold my last 987 and nobody has offered anything “turnkey”. Something pretty with decent performance shouldn’t be that hard to do. I’ve been surprised that BMW hasn’t plonked a swoopy body on the i3 underpinnings...

Well done Westfield. Will keep a close eye on this one.

Equus

6,653 posts

46 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Westfield have always been more technically progressive than Caterham, and this seems to revive that trend, so good luck to them.

They've also historically had a firm foothold in the United States, and I could see this being very popular in California, if they can work out a way to set up sensible export arrangements.

Let's just hope it doesn't mean that Chesil goes the same way as the GTM Libra...

loafer123

8,930 posts

160 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Nickworld said:
Oh yeah - this has got my name all over it. Chesil has drawn my eye for years now but could never quite do it and I think that the ersatz Porsche body with a VW drivetrain put me off. Swap that for an electric motor and this offers something that a genuine (properly expensive) 356 doesn’t.

I’ve been in the market for an electric sports car since I sold my last 987 and nobody has offered anything “turnkey”. Something pretty with decent performance shouldn’t be that hard to do. I’ve been surprised that BMW hasn’t plonked a swoopy body on the i3 underpinnings...

Well done Westfield. Will keep a close eye on this one.
I agree.

I will be very interested in the reviews of this.

poo at Paul's

7,706 posts

120 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
I'm not sure I get this whole idea at all.
£25k premium over one with an engine that is like the one the original had? Would most people after a kit car that paid "homage" in this way not prefer a drivetrain like the original?
If the future is electric, surely cars must be innovative and not just electric powered parodies of "old" or existing cars?

Having designed and built the heathrow pods (which if you've not used them are truly excellent!), I cannot help thinking that a company like Westfield should be thinking well and truly outside the box and developing a kit style vehicle that pushes the boundaries of design and tech, not just rehashing a car from 40 years ago and putting some batteries in it.

loafer123

8,930 posts

160 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all

The benefit of kit cars for conversion is that the GRP shell and lightweight bespoke chassis make them very efficient to adapt and convert, with fewer batteries required than modern cars.

I think the £25k premium above was a guess. Certainly it is cheaper than that with parts readily available;

https://www.evwest.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=40

98elise

14,743 posts

106 months

Saturday 27th July
quotequote all
Oldwolf said:
Interesting, but are people going to want their weekend toy to be electric?
I'd be happy to have an electric commuting car but for sunny weekends I'd prefer petrol.
I hope they're successful and I'll watch with interest.
Agreed. I'd love an EV for the commute/daily driver, but as a hobby it's ICE all the way.