Special Coverage

Paris
Auto Show

PARIS – Europe’s electric supercar answer to U.S.-based Tesla Motors Inc.’s Roadster will enter its second generation next fall with the launch of the new Venturi Fetish.

While the car retains its sleek 2-seater styling, no parts will be carried over from the previous model, says Venturi Automobiles SA Marketing Manager Clement Dorance.

Equipped with a 295-hp (220-kW) electric motor that delivers 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nm) of torque, the car accelerates from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4 seconds. Energy comes from a 54-kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery weighing 992 lbs. (450 kg), about a third of the total vehicle’s weight of 2, 700 lbs. (1,225 kg).

A carbon-fiber skin covers a body structure of composite materials and an aluminum honeycomb.

Recuperation of brake energy is standard, and the battery is managed using a system developed by French software-engineering company Ventec SAS.

Venturi says the Fetish will have a range of 220 miles (350 km), if driven at speeds of 56 mph (90 km/h) rather than its top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h.)

At 155-ins. (394-cm) long, the car rides on a 102-in. (260-cm) wheelbase, and batteries are packed centrally for good weight distribution, Dorance says.

Venturi is owned by Gildo Pastor, a Monaco man who used inherited money to develop his passion for electric vehicles. Venturi has introduced a series of ideas for electric-powered transportation that go beyond the normal niches, the company says.

At a previous auto show, Venturi displayed a solar-powered resort car, a city vehicle and other concepts.

Venturi has two stands at this year’s Paris auto show. On one, aimed at serious buyers, are the Fetish and a potential platform mate, the Venturi America sports buggy.

Venturi sold 10 units of the previous-gen Fetish, which was introduced in 2002 at the Geneva auto show. For the new car, priced at €300,000 ($408,000), the auto maker expects to produce 10 a year, with the first to be delivered next September.

The concept of the sports buggy is meant to be a “cool, green, attitude car” such as one finds in California, says Dorance. “That’s why we called it ‘America.’”

On the other stand is the Jamais Content, developed to set a new world speed record; the electric Citroen Berlingo Venturi, developed for the French post office and driven from Shanghai to Paris; and a tracked vehicle called the Antarctica, developed for the region’s Princess Elisabeth international research station.

The Antarctica solves the problem of working in sub-zero temperatures by sharing a battery with the electric Berlingo that hashigh-temperature Zebra sodium-nickel-chloride technology. To maneuver, the vehicle uses all drive-by-wire systems directed by two joysticks.

Venturi expects to deliver the Antarctica to Princess Elisabeth late next year for testing.

The niche is tiny, but real. Wind energy and some solar energy provide all the power now for bases in Antarctica, except for fossil fuels for vehicles, which have to be airlifted to the continent.

“Ultimately, this means of transport and type of recharging should become widespread in the Antarctic, advantageously replacing for many tasks the high-pollution engines currently deployed,” Venturi says in a press release.