Is there a wider purpose to building cars like this?
Yes there is, to provide a message that electric cars are cool. How many children will see this and want an electric car? The Dendrobium is a car that people will want to drive.
The Advanced Engineering side of Williams has achieved a lot, especially with battery power…
That’s true, and we have only been going five years. We supply all the battery systems for the 42 cars in the FIA Formula E championship. We made the electric BladeGlider racer for Nissan, and the hybrid C-X75 (the bad guy’s car in the last Bond movie) for Jaguar, as well as the electric Jaguar i-Pace concept. Plus we have worked with other companies on projects I can’t talk about. The Dendrobium is, in fact, the first all-electric supercar we have done.
Is it just electric performance that turns you on?
No. We focus on three areas: aerodynamic and thermal dynamics, lightweight structures and electrification. Well over half of all our work now is electrification.
What’s the future for the electric car?
Hybrids and electric cars are still a bit specialised but they will move into the mainstream over the next five years. Some cars will be pure electric, others plug-in hybrid as we get different products for different uses and range needs. I can’t tell you more today but we are trying to find a way to scale up the technology from Formula E into higher volume manufacturing.
And finally…Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren all have F1-inspired hypercars coming, so why not a Williams own-label hypercar?
There are no plans for that. It would become political and make it difficult for us to work for other manufacturers.