Venturi Volage: World's Most Advanced Electric Sports Car
By Bill Moore
When Venturi rolled out the Fetish at the 2004 Paris Auto Show, it set the Internet buzzing with excitement, here two years ahead of Tesla was an exciting, high-performance, all-electric sports car. Of course, only a handful of very wealthy collectors could afford it at a $400,000 price tag, but it showed the electric car technology had moved from the mundane to the magnificent.
Now four years later -- a lot wiser... and smarter -- Venturi, which is based in Monaco, home of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, again is causing a stir in Paris with not only an exciting -- and high priced -- electric sports car, but one that company founder and president Gildo Pastor sees as significantly more advanced than the Fetish. From its first-of-its-kind Michelin Active Wheel drive system to its sophisticated electronics to its full passenger amenities, the Volage has again set the bar for advanced electric car technology.
Pastor -- a long-time subscriber to EV World -- graciously consented to do an exclusive telephone interview from floor of the Paris Auto Show the day of the big reveal. EV World Premium subscribers can access the complete interview using either of the two MP3 players above or by downloading the 4.9 MB file to your computer hard drive for transfer to and playback on your favorite MP3 device.
In addition to talking about the development of the Volage, he announces that the La Poste, the French postal sevice has awarded Venturi a contract for five more electric vehicle demonstrators based on the Citroen Berlingo van. Those vehicles, which are equipped with a new, highly compact electric drive and battery system that fits completely under the front hood, will be field tested in daily operation. If those vehicles live up to expectations, Pastor anticipates a potential order of 500 vehicles. He explains that the government likes the system Venturi has developed because it requires virtually no modification of the Berlingo other than replacement of the IC engine and associated components. None of the electric drive system -- including the batteries -- intrude into the passenger and cargo space of the vehicle.
He also explains that the company will be building a plant near Le Mans to build two types of electric vehicles, a smaller version of the Eclectic -- which is hinted at by a partial image on the company web site -- for use as inner city electric car share vehicles and to do conversions of PSA Peugeot Citroen cars, a program that we will follow up with him at a later date, as well as the La Poste program.
Finally, he announced that he will be meeting with the Mayor of Paris to discuss His Honor's electric car share proposal. Pastor hopes that Venturi might get some of those 4,000 cars the Mayor is talking about.
Volage Slide Show