Monday, August 15, 2022

First new Meyers Manx will be electric

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In November 2020, Bruce Meyers sold his Meyers Manx company to an investment firm called Trousdale Ventures. At the time, Trousdale founder and CEO Phillip Sarofim said, “We are putting together an international dream team of passionate and creative souls to carry on the Meyers Manx legacy of fun, freedom and expression that Bruce and [wife] Winnie created.” Two months later, the man who did as much to boost Southern California vibes as The Beach Boys, by creating the first-ever dune buggy, died at 94 years old. Sadly, he’s not here to see where Sarofim is taking the Manx. Autoweek spoke to one member of the Sarofim’s dream team, designer Freeman Thomas, and we at least know now that the first new Meyers Manx will be electric and should appear next year.

What we don’t know is what the coming buggy looks like, but it sounds like it won’t stray far from the original. The design team digitized one of the early Manxes and scrutinized it, partially to ensure continuity. Freeman told AW, “[One] of the goals that I wanted was not to change the size of the Meyers Manx at all,” adding, “It’s kind of like taking the original 911, and it goes through all of its generations of evolution from let’s say, 901 to 964. Dimensionally it’s still the same car, but it’s evolved. It’s just a better, more capable car.”

The other reason for the scrutiny is that the first buggy out the door will be electric, so designers and engineers have been figuring out packaging solutions. Trousdale is a shareholder in Coreshell, a company that figured out how to scale the process of coating the inside of an EV battery for industrial manufacture. The coating slows degradation of the anode and cathode during charging, the battery benefits according to Coreshell CEO Jonathan Tan being “not just longer lifetime, but its ability to charge into higher voltage range, higher limits, and to squeeze more juice out of every single battery, have it last longer and prevent the thermal runaway.” That last advantage is a euphemistic way of saying it tamps down the incidences of battery fires. 

The powertrain being tested now would deliver 240 horsepower over a 240-mile range, in exchange for a 400-pound weight increase over the original Manx. Prototypes should hit the road next year to test whether, as Freeman says, their creation will be “something that you fall in love with, and you want to drive it as much as you can.”

Note that Bruce Meyers wouldn’t be offended by any of this, since he rolled out an electric Meyers Manx prototype in 2014

There will be a gas-powered version after the EV, though, for the purists. Head to Autoweek for the full story on Freeman and his team have planned.

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