The complexity of the engineering job will depend on both a client’s ideas and whether the outcome is a rolling chassis, one-off or road-legal low-volume production run.
Exactly how much engineering will be involved also has an impact on what the project will be based on, particularly in the case of design-led coachbuild jobs. “We need to understand what the base vehicle might be,” says Bradley. “Sometimes clients will want a specific donor car to be used and sometimes we can work with them to find something that best fits the project.”
Bradley explains that there are a range of road cars the firm has experience of working on and that it will suggest to clients if the project fits. Those will be machines that Envisage knows how to engineer and, in some cases, it has a relationship with the vehicle’s maker and can gain access to CAD data, which can accelerate the project.
An example of that is the engineering work Envisage did for a reimagined classic-inspired sports car. After completing a series of studies to ensure the desired bodywork could be overlaid onto a modern donor car and still be road legal, Envisage sourced CAD data from the manufacturer to back up its findings and further refine the design.
Much like the design stage, the intended use of the vehicle will heavily influence the level of engineering required, particularly in terms of the drivetrain. “A lot depends on what the finished machine needs to do,” says Bradley. “If it’s a show car or low-speed concept, the engineering needs are very different from something that has to be road legal.”
Envisage has its own low-voltage vehicle platform, which it has extensive experience of using and which, Strafford says, “enables us to offer a complete engineering package that we can make rapid progress on projects with”. That flexible platform will generally be used for show vehicles, which are likely to need to be driven only short distances at slow speeds.
For OEM projects, Strafford says Envisage will often be required to build a show car based on the car maker’s own platform. “Sometimes a manufacturer will use a concept car to either test their structure or showcase the technology it offers, so we’ll have to use that,” says Bradley.