Applus Idiada recently lifted the sheet from the very slick all-electric Volar-E at the Circuit de Catalunya to reveal a vehicle that has the fingerprints of Rimac Automobili all over it. Indeed, it appears to be the exact same unit that the Croatian company announced delivery of, while keeping its appearance and customer details under wraps. This collaboration, however, has made the project somewhat controversial.
The Volar-E is the result of a tender put out by the European Commission that sought a company to "complete construction of an electric car designed for competition" that demonstrates that electric propulsion doesn't have to be slow and unexciting. Boasting 1,000 horsepower and 1,000 Nm (738 pound-feet) of torque from four electric motors, the Volar-E would certainly seem able to fulfill that requirement. However, it seems some doubts are being raised as to whether the Applus followed the letter of the agreement and completed enough of the work itself to be in compliance with the conditions of the tender.
After the demonstration event, Quimera Chairman Javier de Rocafort – who, we assume, also had eyes on the original contract that covered half of the cost of construction – tweeted about the situation, "quite depressing..." and "...the winner doesn't deserve it". Later tweets contain language that indicate his organization has plans to contest the award of the tender. And we quote (in part), "...we're preparing a new "surprise" to the bad guys."
While we'll have to wait and see how that situation plays out, we should note that in speaking with Motorpasion Futuro, Applus Idiada stated that its car only shares about five percent of its components with the Rimac Concept_One. Although it certainly looks similar to that electric antecedent, there are significant differences.
Whereas the original is slightly larger in every dimension and sports a monocoque chassis, the Volar-E has a skeleton comprised of steel and chrome molybdenum tubes. With only 38 kWh of energy available from the battery pack, it would also seem to lack the range of its big brother.
Scroll below to watch video of its public track debut and get more details from the official press release.
Volar-e presentation Applus+ IDIADA successfully completes World's most powerful prototype electric sports car. The project undertaken by the Spanish company on behalf of the European Commission shows that electric vehicles can have sporty performance.
BARCELONA, February 28, 2013 - Applus+ IDIADA, a company specialized in engineering for the international automotive industry, has successfully completed the Volar-e project, an innovative prototype electric car with high performance, comparable to or even better than conventionally-powered sports cars.
Volar-e has been presented today at the Circuit de Catalunya during the F1 Test Days, in an act that has been attended by, among other authorities, Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission, Sebastian Salvado, President of RACC, and Carles Grasas, CEO of Applus+ IDIADA.
Applus+ IDIADA, a division of Applus+ specialized in the provision of design, engineering, testing and homologation services, was awarded the project by the European Commission in late 2012 in a tender in which companies across Europe took part. In just four months, the company has managed to meet and exceed the performance features required by the EC, among others:
Provide maximum motor power and torque to the vehicle (1000 HP, 1000 Nm)
Achieve fast-charging (15-20 minutes)
Regenerative braking system
Independent power control for all 4 motors, iTORQ original by Applus+ IDIADA
In the words of Fernando Basabe, CEO of Applus+, "this project is recognition of the technological capacity of Applus + IDIADA in the field of engineering for the automotive industry." Carles Grasas, CEO of Applus+ IDIADA, stresses the technical challenge that the award of the project by the EC implies: "successful completion of the project in four months is the best demonstration of the capabilities of the company in engineering and project management.
The project, which is co-funded by the European Commission, will allow the Applus+ prototype to become a flagship for the promotion of electric vehicles in European society. Users, the car industry, energy sector and government have a reference in this demonstrator of the great potential of electric vehicles.