Instant Torque; Instant Fun
story by Jamie Harvey
Think of Belgium. What do you think of? Probably not an Electric Vehicle parts supplier, right? Well, I’ve come to Belgium to talk with Benjamin Chagnon, the co-founder and CEO of Electric Vehicle Engineering, about his rather… strange sports car. From what I know about Mr. Chagnon, he’s a former engineer for Merciel, who left the company in 2010 to pursue his interest in the future of the Electric Vehicle. He joined together with Belgian national, Stijn Poissonnier, and they made EVE a reality in 2012.
Now, enough about the history, onto my arrival at EVE headquarters in Liege. I arrived by Uber to a rather fancy looking, mostly glass building situated not too far from the University of Liege. I was greeted at the door by Mr. Changon, who struck conversation with me about working at Speedhunters, and other car related things.
“Now, You’re probably thinking 'Hey, where’s the Electric Vehicles, Benjamin!” Mr. Chagnon said to me in a very Belgian-French accent, “I’ll tell you. Hidden. Mine’s the only one you can see. My one is special.” He lead me through production rooms, building motors, and other components related to the EV. “Through here, quickly.” He lead me through a rather cramped storage room, but that room lead to easily the most wonderful looking 240z I’ve laid my eyes upon.
"Now, there’s always an odd thing about the way I got this car. Not many of these 240z’s are around in Belgium, or Northern France. I got this one from a friend in the USA. Was empty, had been sitting in the Nevada Desert for maybe 10 or 15 years. No VIN, no engine, nothing. Wanna know how much I paid for it? 250 American Dollars. So f***ing cheap.
"It arrived at my home in 2013. My instant plans were to put [EVE] parts into the car. Because why not, right? Be unique, cool, interesting. We have four motors, one per wheel. It’s an AWD 240z. We just launch off of the line real fast. I mean, we rarely take it anywhere. I’d dare say Belgium is the worst place to be a petrol head, maybe behind Denmark, or The Netherlands, but we have little in the way of night culture. Want to go to a car meet, best bet is heading to France, or Germany. I mean, we’re not too far from Spa, but that’s only alive when a race meet is there.
"This is making I think 400hp to the road, but we are pushing an acceleration time in the low 3s. I mean, range on this thing varies, but I drive it when I can. Most days, I’m driving it to work. It’s a nice distance, there-and-back. When I finished this I’d get looks. I know it sounds odd, I’m in an EV, they can’t hear me. That’s part of why I got, and still get looks. I’m in a f***ing silent car from the late 60’s. Everyone is confused.
“We shamelessly took heavy design inspiration from Pandem, and Rocket Bunny. It’s a nice style that I enjoy, the Japanese Widebody look. It makes the car look big, heavy, powerful. We got this thing lighter than a the normal 240z by 10kg. Such a slim margin, but we did it.”
Mr. Chagnon is an odd man, at the helm of an odd company, with easily the best 240z I’ve seen in a long while.
I want one.
This trip took place on October 17th, 2017. Photos were taken by Jamie Harvey