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.
Live photos copyright ©2011 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
VENTURI INVENTS THE MODERN ELECTRIC CAR
Launched in 2004, the VENTURI FÉTISH was presented on the occasion of the brand's 20th Anniversary, with the intention of casting a look, not to the past, but to the future of VENTURI.
The journalists and personalities who were able to drive it discovered for the first time, 6 years ago, that an electric car could not only be very alluring but also offer the same performance as a car with a heat engine.
In this respect, VENTURI thus truly invented the modern electric car.
Thanks to its many innovations which have defined the main technical principles for electric vehicles to come, VENTURI thus changed mentalities and served as inspiration for the entire automobile industry, from small craftsmen to major manufacturers.
VENTURI has since become a group, actively pursuing its development in several different sectors, from battery electronics to electrification of vehicles for large-scale production.
Endurance, speed, extreme conditions, the VENTURI GLOBAL CHALLENGES are real exploits at both human and technological level, fantastic adventures which have adopted the world as their testing-ground in order to demonstrate the superiority of VENTURI achievements, from Shanghai to Paris, on the Bonneville salt flats in Utah and, soon, in the Antarctic.
On the strength of its technological leadership based on 10 years of specialisation in electric propulsion, VENTURI is now presenting two highly sporty models in world premières : the new VENTURI FÉTISH and VENTURI AMERICA, both benefitting from the most advanced technologies currently available.
VENTURI AMERICA : "HIGH VOLTAGE" BUGGY
The VENTURI AMERICA combines both the values of traditional America and those resulting from new awareness of ecological issues.
This new American dream is embodied by this new model from VENTURI : a high-riding electric sports car that one can see oneself driving, one's hair in the wind, through the fantastic scenery offered by this vast continent.
Equipped with the same motor of over 300 hp as the VENTURI FÉTISH, this new-era "buggy" is, in fact, a high-powered lightweight vehicle with a chassis specially designed to suit its particularly high body. The AMERICA is nevertheless an acceleration car that symbolizes "cool green attitude" while being a luxury technological product.
In fact, there is nothing today that is anything like this fantastic vehicle, half sports car, half buggy, but it is well worth betting that VENTURI has once again come up with a model that will enter the annals of history.
The AMERICA also marks a new milestone for VENTURI which has just launched VENTURI NORTH AMERICA in Columbus, Ohio. In parallel to its sites in MONACO and FRANCE, this new unit will enable VENTURI to pursue its technical and commercial development in the United States.
VM300 : A NEW-GENERATION ELECTRIC MOTOR
The AMERICA has borrowed its motor from the new FÉTISH, the VM300, which, with over 300 hp (+220 kW) and torque of 380 Nm, is the most advanced electric motor ever designed for an automobile.
To get the very best out of such a motor, a new 54 kWh battery pack has been developed (LIV-10 Lithium Ion Polymer batteries) whose electronics (Battery Management System) have been entrusted to Ventec, the leader in the field.
The AMERICA offers a real range of up to 300 km. Thanks to its on-board charger, it can recharge using a standard electrical socket or fast charge terminals (see Specs).
A SPECIAL CHASSIS
The first chassis specifically designed to house a large volume of batteries, the carbon monocoque developed by Venturi provides exceptional protection for its occupants : the body is in fact completed by two deformable cells positioned at the front and rear of the vehicle. This concept guarantees the security of the battery pack in the event of an accident and provides a level of safety never before attained in an electric car.
With the same aim, the chassis of the Venturi AMERICA has been designed and tested to protect passengers from electromagnetic emissions from the vehicle's batteries.
Derived from that of the new FÉTISH, the AMERICA's chassis has been treated to specific development.
A real synthesis of two exclusive automobile worlds, the AMERICA is both an electric sports car and an all-terrain leisure vehicle. This "mix" approach ensures extreme versatility in use.
Its performance, balance and sports car road-holding, combined with its particularly high body and specific tyre mounting, ensure that it is equally at ease on steep paths as on the highway.
This electric "Buggy" offers the possibility of venturing off the beaten track while respecting the environment in terms of both noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
THE AMERICA'S DESIGN, BY SACHA LAKIC
"Design of the AMERICA, signed Sacha Lakic Some dreams stay with us forever, and become clearer over time. That of driving a fast, modern and silent sports car through amazing scenery is one of them. The AMERICA was born for the great outdoors.
Just as comfortable on the secondary highway network in the USA as on narrow mountain roads in Europe, or even fast earth tracks, this car of a new kind offers unique driving pleasure comprised of precision, acceleration and gliding.
It has the Venturi ADN. This is indeed an innovative sports car, hi-tech and refined. Behind the wheel, the absence of any noise and a panoramic field of vision give an impression of total freedom.
The AMERICA is a contemporary sculpture in movement, both simple and sophisticated, and charged with emotion : the purpose of each one of its curves is to give both visual and tactile pleasure."