Venturi America half-buggy, half-sportscar electric vehicle debuts in Paris
By Darren Quick
September 30, 2010
Venturi, the French electric vehicle (EV) specialists responsible for the world’s first production electric sportscar, the Fetish, and the Volange, has unveiled its latest creation at the Paris Motor Show. The America concept is a new half buggy, half sportscar-style EV that is designed to blend an electric sportscar and an all-terrain leisure vehicle. The America borrows its electric motor from the new VM300 Fetish, which, with over 300 hp (+220 kW) and torque of 380 Nm, Venturi says is the, “most advanced electric motor ever designed for an automobile.”
The motor is powered by a new 54 kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack and Ventec-developed battery management system (BMS), which provides a range of up to 300 km at a stabilized speed of 90 km/h (190 miles at 56 mph). The rear-wheel drive two-seater boasts a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph) and the on-board charger allows the battery pack to be recharged to 80 percent capacity in eight hours using a standard electrical socket, or in three hours using a fast charge terminal.
Venturi says the America’s carbon monocoque chassis is its first designed to house a large volume of batteries. The body consists of two deformable cells positioned at the front and rear of the vehicle to provide extra protection for the occupants and the battery pack in the event of an accident. Venturi has also designed and tested the chassis to protect passengers from electromagnetic emissions from the vehicle’s batteries.
The vehicle’s lightweight chassis was specially designed to suit its high body, which, combined with its specific tire mounting, provides a center ground clearance of 285mm (11.2 in) and axel ground clearance of 190mm (7.5 in) to give it the versatility to handle highway driving and venture off the beaten track. The America is also pretty compact, measuring 4.12m (13.5 ft) long, 1.9m (6.2 ft) wide and 1.39m (4.56 ft) high to the roll bar.
The red, white and blue connections extend beyond the name of Venturi’s new vehicle, with the company having just launched a North American office in Columbus, Ohio, to “pursue technical and commercial development in the U.S.” The choice of Ohio may seem a strange one until you consider that Venturi is a supporter of the Bullet Buckeye team from Ohio State University, which set a world record average two-way speed of 495 km/h (307.7 mph) with the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 earlier this year.
The America is on show in Paris as a concept and there is no confirmation as to whether the car will join the very exclusive Fetish on the market. If it does, it will be at the very high-end of the EV chain – the Fetish, of which 10 have been sold, costs 300,000 euro.