Hennessey previews bizarre 2,400-hp six-wheel-drive hypercar
Extreme tuning deity John Hennessey, out of Texas, sure has some runs on the board with the combustion engine. Over the last 30 years, Hennessey and the Hennessey Performance team have plied their trade on more than 10,000 customer vehicles, churning out more thousand-horsepower all-American beasts than they can probably remember.
Hennessey's Special Vehicles offshoot is a vehicle to let his engineers off the chain and build cars from the ground up. Cars like the 1,817-horsepower Venom F5 hypercar, which stands a genuine chance of becoming the first street car to officially break the 300 mph barrier.
He hasn't had a crack at an electric, though, and while combustion will always be where his heart is, Hennessey doesn't want to be left behind as technology marches forward. The issue with electrics, he reasons, is that batteries are very heavy. If you want decent range and power, you need to lug so much lithium around that there's no way, in Hennessey's mind, that you could make something that'll go, stop and handle like a hypercar should.
So, for his first electric, Hennessey has decided not to try to make a hypercar. Instead, he's going to make Project Deep Space, a vehicle he feels will stand in a class of its own.
He's right about that. There's not what you'd call a bustling market for 20-foot (6 m) long, six-wheel-drive, 2400-horsepower electric hyper GT cars. But since there's only going to be 105, costing US$3 million a pop, I guess there doesn't need to be.
While it won't trouble the Venom F5 for top speed, the team is focused on making it the fastest four-seater ever from 0-200 mph (0-322 km/h). “I’ve been building some of the world’s fastest accelerating vehicles for decades," says Hennessey, "yet they have always been performance-limited by mechanical grip. Six-wheeled electric propulsion is the solution." The wheels can be slimmer than they are on many hypercars, too, which the team feels will confer aerodynamic advantages as well.
Just to be different, Hennessey decided he wanted a diamond cabin layout: driver front and centre with two passenger seats behind and to the sides, as they are in the remarkable Gordon Murray T.50 – but in this case, there's room at the very back for one more seat.
Hennessey originally designated this the "mother-in-law" seat, considering it the worst seat in the car, but HSV Design Director Nathan Malinick, who has spent time designing luxury private jets, quickly flipped that idea on its head with an astonishing piece of ego judo, by giving it the grand title of VVIP seat. For very, very important people.
The VVIP seat isn't the worst seat, it's the best one, Malinick convinced him. We'll make that seat lie right back, so you can have a proper snooze if the conversation up front or the gizzard-twisting acceleration of this mighty land yacht isn't enough to keep you awake. It's a privilege to get the back seat, and aren't the emperor's clothes simply stunning?
Good grief. Either way, it's a roomy old cabin, with room for four, huge leg room for all, and enough extra space for "four sets of golf clubs, plus luggage." Hence the 20-foot-plus length of the car, which will certainly be entertaining to parallel park.
There's only going to be one door, but it'll be a whopper. The automotive world's largest ever gullwing, says Hennesey, allowing access to all three rows of seats. So be careful jumping in this puppy solo, stowaways might sneak in behind you and steal a ride in the best seat in the whole car.
Since weight went immediately out the window as a concern, the team is looking at fitting a whopper of a battery pack and shooting for enormous range figures, as well as ludicrous power through the 400-horsepower motors on each of the six wheels.
We'll be waiting a while for numbers on that, though. This is very much a real project, says Hennessey, but only a set of sketches has been released today, and production on this highly exclusive and ... Well, if we're honest, rather silly car isn't set to begin until 2026. Check out a video below.
Source: Hennessey Special Vehicles