The 1995 Renaissance Tropica is the car nobody asked about
What was the Renaissance Tropica and why does nobody know about it?
If you know what this car is, you're either the owner or a computer with a database of all the cars in history. That's how forgotten and unknown this car is, and it was so difficult to find a website with info on this car!
Now, since I say that this car is so unknown, you may wonder how I came across it? In fact, I found in on Doug Demuro's new car auction website, for cool and interesting cars only, and I think this falls into that catagory.
The Tropica is made by a company called Renaissance Car Company in California, the natural birthplace of the modern electric car. The company started shortly before the release of the Tropica in 1995. The company would only build and sell 22 models, before it haults production and goes bankrupt. It's the classic story of an early adopter, for electric cars in this case, but was there a good reason for the demize for this car and this company?
According to the owner of the vehicles on Cars And Bids, the car has a top speed of 60 mph, with a range of 60- 80 miles and that comes from 2 DC electric motors, one on each wheel at the back, making it rear- wheel drive. But don't think this is a drift demon... Now, even to other electric cars at the time, this was not great. The GM EV1, one of the pironeering cars, released in 1996, could achieve up to 100 miles on a charge. Unfortunatly, there is no information on the charging rate on the internet, so we have to assume it charged at the regular 120V. And that's not even the issue... I think the main issue with this car is the top speed. It's a 2 seat roadster, that is likely important to the buyers. If this vehicle was a little faster, I think it would sell great, despite the range. We can see the same thing today with the Porsche Taycan, which has half the range of its main competitor, the Tesla Model S, yet it sells how Porsche expected it to.
Design & Looks
As you can see with the head picture, this car is something else. It was meant to look like something else, with it being electric. The front has the aerodynamic shape that remind me of a bullet (likely to help the range) and rear slops down a lot for the same reason. The rear taillights remind me of a C3 Corvette, except these are squarish instead of a circle. The interior can only be described as one thing... basic. This is a sea of beige plastic (the worst colour) with a cap of black on it. Now, I haven't tried the switches and dials, but I can almost gaurantee, they will not be satifying. The interior looks so basic that it should be a track or race car, but with a top speed of 60, you're not going to be beating anyone in this, but is sure looks the part! It does come with a radio and such, but I wouldn't take a long journey in this... Because of the range and the lackluster comfort.
So, this is the Tropica. It was a pionner in electric sports cars, before the Tesla Roadster 1.0. It was built by a small company and you can see they had a limited budget. If you bought this as a project car, replaced the motor and batteries with a modern Tesla's, then maybe this may be something after all (if Tesla doesn't sue you). And make sure to add some cushions for sitting in the interior!
If you want this car, it is currently on Cars And Bids for sale with a bid starting at $999 USD. Information is there and Q&A with the owner.