Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Venturi unveils world’s most powerful electric car, the VBB-3

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September 28, 2013

Venturi VBB - 3 electric car will attempt to reach a speed of 700 km/h (434 m/h) in 2015 (...

Venturi VBB - 3 electric car will attempt to reach a speed of 700 km/h (434 m/h) in 2015 (Photo: Venturi Automobiles)

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French manufacturer Venturi Automobiles is no stranger to the world of high-speed electric vehicles. The company's ongoing collaboration with Ohio State University saw the Buckeye Bullet 2.5 set the current EV land speed record of 495 km/h (307mph) in 2010, and now the team is setting its sights on a new mark with what's billed as the most powerful electric car ever made – the Venturi VBB-3.

The VBB-3 was unveiled this month by Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene at the Wendover airfield in Utah, USA.

The third generation Venturi “Jamais Contente” (which translates as "The Never Satisfied") cost a cool US$6 million to build. The aim of the project is to hit progressively higher targets over the next two years, with the ultimate goal being to exceed 440 mph (708 km/h).

If it manages to do that, this needle-like EV will smash the official FIA world land speed record for a vehicle with an electric motor of 495 km/hr (307m/hr) set by its predecessor the Buckeye Bullet 2.5. Unfortunately no record run could be attempted this month due to dismal weather that flooded the Salt Lake. The team hoped to cross the 600 km/hr (372 mph) threshold this year, but that's been rescheduled to July 2014.

Housed in a 11.64 m-long carbon fiber skin, the 4WD VBB-3 features an electric motor that can deliver power of up to 3,000 hp (2,200 kW) and weighs about 3.2 tonnes in total, with batteries accounting for about half its weight.

Inspired by the exploits of Belgian driver Camille Jenatzy's who broke the 100 km/h barrier in an electric vehicle 1899, the project is part of Venturi's Global Challenges initiative – a set of technological tests like Mission 04, which saw Xavier Chevrin travel 5,800 km (3,603 mi) through Africa in an EV.

As well as grabbing headlines, the VBB-3 serves as a testbed for specially developed components that will have applications for production vehicles.

"By designing the most powerful electric vehicle in the world, we are consolidating our lead in the field of electric propulsion, but perhaps more importantly, we are innovating in order to optimize energy efficiency, one of the greatest challenges facing not only the automobile industry, but society in general," says Gildo Pallanca Pastor, CEO of Venturi Automobiles.

Check out the Venturi VBB-3 in the video below.

Source: Venturi Automobiles

About the Author
Lakshmi Sandhana When Lakshmi first encountered pig's wings in a petri dish, she realized that writing about scientists and imagineers was the perfect way to live in an expanding mind bubble. Articles for Wired, BBC Online, New Scientist, The Economist and Fast Company soon followed. She's currently pursuing her dream of traveling from country to country to not only ferret out cool stories but also indulge outrageously in local street foods. When not working, you'll find her either buried nose deep in a fantasy novel or trying her hand at improvisational comedy.   All articles by Lakshmi Sandhana
4 Comments

> The third generation Venturi “Jamais Contente” (which translates as "The Never Satisfied") [...] Inspired by the exploits of Belgian driver Camille Jenatzy's who broke the 100 km/h barrier in an electric vehicle 1899

"La jamais contente" was the name of that vehicle in 1899, hence the reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Jamais_Contente

Freyr Gunnar
29th September, 2013 @ 03:58 am PDT

Typical electric ... little space, not much range, plus a terrible turning circle! I bet the rear vision is poor as well! Still, I wish them good luck.

The Skud
29th September, 2013 @ 07:40 pm PDT

Skud, who cares about rear vision - no cops to pull you over at Bonneville. As for turning radius - you're only going in a straight line. That's a lot of battery, though. Wonder what its range is.

dsiple
30th September, 2013 @ 11:10 am PDT

Hi Skud, don't worry, I got your humour.

byrneheart
1st October, 2013 @ 12:11 am PDT
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