March 28, 2005 One of the stars of the 21st International Electric Vehicles Symposium (EVS21) to be held in Monte Carlo next week will be the world’s most exclusive electric car – the Venturi Fetish. Assembled by hand in Monaco and made to order, the Fetish has an asking price of 450,000 Euro (US$583,000) - not bad for a vehicle which can legitimately claim the title of being the first production electric sports car in history.
The Venturi Fetish concept car was first unveiled at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show, and went on to be one of the stars of the 2002 Paris Motor Show and 2003 Detroit Motor Show - an electric sportcar concept of French design. Buoyed by public enthusiasm and the brand's 20th anniversary, Venturi took the Fetish one step further in 2004, putting the car into production and first selling the car in the Japanese market in November.
Having integrated the standards for Europe, Japan and the USA from conception, the Fetish went on sale in the United States in January 2005 - the company having identified Tokyo and Los Angeles as the markets most sensitive to environmental issues. Paris, London and Monte-Carlo have been selected as the main target markets in Europe where the car can be ordered now.
Similar to other electric-powered concept/show cars, the new car is designed to overcome the public's perceived opinion that electric cars lack performance, style and range, though with a maximum speed of just 170kmh, the Fetish is unlikely to start cutting into supercar sales any time soon.
The Fetish does however offer outstanding acceleration thanks to the linear torque curve of the 180Kw electric motor, accelerating from 0 to 100Km/h in less than 5 seconds, just like that other electric car we were so excited about, the Tango. The engine spins to 14,000rpm and has adjustable engine braking.
Venturi has also gone to great lengths to ensure a healthy 350 Km range with a rapid battery recharge (with 80 Amps) of 1.6 Km a minute or 10 minutes recharge for every 16 Km.
Under the technical direction of Gerard Ducarouge, chief engineer of the project, Venturi has taken a different approach to most other companies in the electric car business in designing the Fetish. Most such vehicles use an electric motor to drive each wheel, whereas Ducarouge has opted for a single centrally-positioned engine and a monocoque carbon chassis, to keep weight to 1100 Kg.
Ducarouge has placed the 350 kg Lithium-Ion battery unit at the epicentre of the automobile and Venturi, renowned for the superb handling of its cars, has apparently achieved precision, sports car handling with the vehicle.