Electric car startup Piëch Automotive, named after renowned Volkswagen executive Ferdinand Piëch, came to Geneva with an electric supercar with an interesting story to tell. Ferdinand Piech is Ferdinand Porsche’s grandson.
The Piëch Mark Zero, according to the company, is powered by a new type of battery that will recharge to 80 percent in less than five minutes. If the claim holds true, Piëch Automotive might have the world’s, most advanced battery technology in its name.
Piëch's founder comes from a lineage of illustrious automobile stalwarts. The stakes are high already for this startup.
Piëch’s son Anton “Toni”, and Rea Stark Rajcic co-founded the company. They describe its new battery tech as follows: “The special type of cell hardly heats up during charging or discharging phases. Significantly higher currents can flow as the cell temperature rises only marginally. In addition to conventional CSC charging, the fast charging mode allows for a sensationally short charging time of only 4:40 minutes to 80% battery capacity with an exceptionally high recuperation rate. Because of the reduced heat build-up, the batteries can be cooled by air alone.”
Choosing the air-cooling route for batteries allows Piëch to shave off 200kg from the Mark Zero’s mass. This results in the car weighing under 1,800kg, which is still heavy by segment standards. Coupled with a charging time way faster than most conventional EVs, Piëch seems to have a strong product on its hands. The company is promising to bring recharging time on par with the time it takes to refill a conventional car with fuel.
Fully charged, the Piëch Mark Zero offers a maximum driving range of 500km as rated by the WLTP cycle. It is equipped with three electric motors. One asynchronous motor over the front axle delivers 150kW (201hp) while two rear-axle synchronous motors produce 150kW each.
Manufacturers across the world have been making glowing promises about batteries and their capabilities for many years now. However, fast-charging a car is still sluggish as compared to filling up a conventional car with fuel Tesla cars possess impressive performance and speed, but even they cannot be fully charged under an hour despite plugging into one of the firm’s many Superchargers.
Amazingly, Piëch claims the Mark Zero can be charged to 80 percent under five minutes. Veracity of the claim is yet to be confirmed.
Speculation is rife that Piëch could be the unnamed buyer of Aston Martin’s Vanquish intellectual property. There is no confirmation from either party to that end, however. Aston Martin sold the tooling and design drawings for its old Vanquish for $26 million to a “third-party car manufacturer”. Rumours have since then been floating around regarding the mysterious buyer.
Piëch says the Mark Zero is the first in a “family of products” on its way over the next three years. The car’s architecture is “flexible and open”, which Piëch says will allow for a variety of drive systems like electric, hybrid, hydrogen fuel-cell, or even internal combustion engines. The company will be announcing a manufacturing partner later this year to bring the Mark Zero on the road. Following up the electric GT will be a four-seater and a sporty SUV.