PARIS – Venturi, the auto maker based in Monaco with a factory in France, intends to begin assembling small numbers of its roadster-like America electric vehicle in the U.S. next year.
Venturi was a low-volume manufacturer of sports cars powered by internal-combustion engines. After it went out of business, the name and brand were bought by Gildo Pallanca Pastor a decade ago.
Pastor, from a wealthy Monaco family, has turned Venturi into an EV incubator that in the past two years produced 1,000 electric Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner delivery vans for the French post office and other clients ofPeugeot Citroen.
The doorless America achieves a top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h) with lithium-ion batteries that generate 300 hp and 380 lb.-ft. (508 Nm) of torque, the auto maker says. Range is 185 mi. (300 km).
Pastor’s interests extend far beyond EVs.
Venturi has built an electric-powered tracked vehicle for scientists in Antarctica; a solar-powered vehicle for resorts; the Venturi Jamais Contente, which he claims set the world EV speed record of 320 mph (515 km/h) in 2010.
Pastor again is collaborating with engineering students from Ohio State University who worked on the Jamais Contente (called the Venturi Buckeye Bullet in the U.S.) in developing a 3,000-hp EV that will try to top the salt-flat speed record.
He also has 35 people at the delivery-van factory in France preparing to retool for production of the Wattman, an electric scooter slated to go into production next year. Pastor also is continuing development of the America, described variously on the Venturi website as a “new-era buggy,” “electric crossover” and “half sports car, half buggy.”
This is Pastor’s 10th year at the auto show here. His two preschool sons wearing “America” T-shirts helped unveil the latest pre-production version of the car introduced as a concept two years ago.