Venturi has never been afraid to bring absurd vehicles to an auto show, showing off unique designs like the Venturi Eclectic golf cart/bus thing and the Astrolab in Paris in 2006. For the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, Venturi brought the landspeed record-holder Buckeye Bullet along, but it also showed off something that might actually be valuable to an everyday driver: the Venturi America. Unveiled in Paris last year, the Venturi America is the company's vision of an electric car, U.S.-style. The "high-voltage buggy" offers has more than 300-horsepower from the VM300 electric motor in a rear-wheel-drive configuration. The America has a giant, 54-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that offers a "real range" of 300 kilometers (186 miles). Full vehicle specs are here.
Venturi was started in 1984, but 2011 marks the company's first appearance at a Detroit show, and it's an intentional time for the debut. Millionaire Gildo Pallanca Pastor, Venturi's president, said that, "For sure, 2011 is going to be the year of the EV. Venturi North America has arrived."
Yes, the quintessentially French/Monegasque company is setting up a North American headquarters in Columbus, OH. Why would anyone move from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to America's Midwest? To pursue electric vehicle dreams, of course. Columbus is where Ohio State University is located, and that's the school that Venturi partnered with for the Buckeye Bullet. The partners will be going to build a third Buckeye Bullet and they are hoping to reach 400 miles per hour in it. Pastor told AutoblogGreen that he hopes to hire some of OSU students who worked in the school's electric vehicles because, "You can be sure that I am motivated to see this car getting produced." Details were not just not announced, they are still unknown. Pastor said that reality will be determined by the partnerships Venturi is still developing.
Aside from bringing the world a production version of the America – for starters, that concept is going to need some doors, won't it? – Pastor said he is hopeful that he can license Venturi's batteries, the VM300 motor and the battery management system to larger OEMs. He also said his company will have a battery partnership to announce soon. However it happens, if the production America goes through the improvement process the way the Venturi Fétish did, then we'll be most accepting of this latest European immigrant.