Automotive

Venturi unleashes 407 wild horses on the sand with all-electric dune buggy

Venturi unleashes 407 wild hor...
The 2014 Venturi America concept buggy in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The 2014 Venturi America concept buggy in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The 2014 Venturi America concept buggy in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The 2014 Venturi America concept buggy in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The new America is an update of a concept Venturi showed in 2010 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The new America is an update of a concept Venturi showed in 2010 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
A glimpse at the America interior (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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A glimpse at the America interior (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Behind the wheel (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Behind the wheel (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The wheels on the 2014 concept were updated from the 2010 version (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The wheels on the 2014 concept were updated from the 2010 version (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The 2014 America has a set of half-doors (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The 2014 America has a set of half-doors (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The new America has an upgraded 407-hp electric drive (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The new America has an upgraded 407-hp electric drive (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The 2014 Venturi America concept buggy in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The 2014 Venturi America concept buggy in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The new America has a top speed of 137 mph (220 km/h) (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The new America has a top speed of 137 mph (220 km/h) (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The 1986 Venturi MVS on display in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The 1986 Venturi MVS on display in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The 1986 Venturi MVS on display in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The 1986 Venturi MVS on display in Paris (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Venturi electric race car (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Venturi electric race car (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Venturi's answer to Formula E racing (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Venturi's answer to Formula E racing (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Venturi Formula E race car specs (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Venturi Formula E race car specs (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
30 years of Venturi collage (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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30 years of Venturi collage (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Venturi updates the America concept at the 2014 Paris Motor Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Venturi updates the America concept at the 2014 Paris Motor Show (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Updates from 2010 include a raised ground clearance, enhanced powertrain and modestly revised look (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Updates from 2010 include a raised ground clearance, enhanced powertrain and modestly revised look (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
2014 Venturi America concept (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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2014 Venturi America concept (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The America is designed for road and off-road fun (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The America is designed for road and off-road fun (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Paris show provided the backdrop for the celebration of Venturi's 30th anniversary and 10th anniversary of its first electric car (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The Paris show provided the backdrop for the celebration of Venturi's 30th anniversary and 10th anniversary of its first electric car (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 on display in Paris recently set a world record of 307.7-mph (495.2 km/h) (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 on display in Paris recently set a world record of 307.7-mph (495.2 km/h) (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The VBB-3 packs 3,000 hp (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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The VBB-3 packs 3,000 hp (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Venturi America concept
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The Venturi America concept
The Venturi America concept
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The Venturi America concept
The Venturi America concept
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The Venturi America concept
The Venturi America concept
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The Venturi America concept
The Venturi America concept in its natural element
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The Venturi America concept in its natural element

We don't hear from boutique automotive manufacturer Venturi very often, but when we do, it's always interesting news. The creator of the world's first production electric sports car revealed an updated version of its 2010 America electric dune buggy at this year's Paris Motor Show. The new concept car combines the high performance and handling of a sports car with the ever-fun design of a sand-hungry dune buggy.

The first update to the America that draws the eye in is the new blue paint scheme that shines much brighter than the dark colors of 2010. When the eye sets to reading, the thing that really separates the 2014 concept from its predecessor is the beefed up twin-motor powertrain driving the rear wheels. That electric drive puts out 407 hp (303 kW) and 354 lb-ft (480 Nm) of torque, which is a sizable increase over the 2010 America's 300 hp (224 kW) and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm).

The America is capable of a 4.5-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) run and a 137-mph (220 km/h) top speed. When you're not looking to get anywhere near those numbers, you can dial things down from SuperSport mode to Sport and Cruising modes. Cruising mode uses the reserves of the 53-kWh lithium ion polymer battery most sparingly, offering up to 155 miles (250 km) of driving range.

The America is designed for road and off-road fun (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The America is designed for road and off-road fun (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

The America is built atop a tub chassis made from carbon, Kevlar and aluminum honeycomb. That chassis sits higher than on the original America, increasing its ground clearance. Save for the blue paint, wheels and half doors, the concept looks much the same as it did in 2010. While one could argue that the aging styling could have used a bit more freshening up four years in the future, the car still wrestles the eyes away from its surroundings, even when those surroundings are other brand-new, glistening cars and leggy French models.

Venturi hasn't said whether this revival job means a future beyond auto shows for the America buggy, but we won't hold our breath. If there's a category that screams "show car only," it's an all-electric dune buggy. Still, Venturi builds some niche vehicles, and dune buggy icon Bruce Meyers seems to believe in the potential of an all-electric model, so maybe there's hope.

The America wasn't the only instance of déjà vu at Venturi's booth. News of the first America's debut in 2010 was preceded weeks earlier by an electric world speed record. The same is true this year with Venturi and its partners at Ohio State University setting another world speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August.

The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 on display in Paris recently set a world record of 307.7-mph (495.2 km/h) (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 on display in Paris recently set a world record of 307.7-mph (495.2 km/h) (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

Venturi went to Bonneville believing the 3,000-hp (2,237 kW) Buckeye Bullet 3 could best the VBB-2.5's 307.7-mph (495 km/h) absolute electric speed record from 2010. However, flooded salt and revised courses put the kibosh on its plans for an absolute record attempt. It didn't walk away from Utah empty-handed, however, setting a 212.6 mph (342.17 km/h) world record in the over 3.5 tonne class. In Paris, the FIA presented Venturi with a trophy acknowledging its certified record. The VBB-3 team plans to go for a record-smashing speed of 600 km/h (373 mph) in Bonneville next year.

Venturi used the Paris show to celebrate its 30th birthday and had a few other interesting models on display. Take the full tour in our photo gallery.

Source: Venturi

5 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is really neat. I am amazed what they can do with electric vehicles; with the developement of both electric motors and batteries. Perhaps they could ad solar panels and a fuel cell? Both are getting smaller and lighter in weight but lower in price.
Nicolas Zart
One thing I don't understand is how can they get more HP than torque? That seems to contradict any other EV specs out there. BigGiifyGuy, now why would you want to add a fuel cell to this perfection of a car? The added weight, complexity and cost would negate any benefits. Venturi has always had free reigns on developing the greatest EVs without any such constraints as marketability or ROI ;)
Don Duncan
Is this street legal? What is the cost? Curb weight? Drag? The range is getting up there but what is the charge time? There are all questions that I ask every time because I have not seen them all answered at once, ever. Why not? Am the only one who thinks these are important? I love the idea of 3 power choices on the same vehicle, i.e., super sport, sport, cruising. This should be on all EVs. It would create a broad appeal, based on individual needs and wants of the moment.
Daishi
Venturi launched a solar powered concept car named Astrolab in 2006: http://i.imgur.com/DzsO7Pb.jpg Solar panels mounted on cars don't offer as much power as plugging in but it's probably not that difficult to do some back of the envelope calculations to figure out the feasibility of solar panels on cars. Solar panels are about $1/watt now and about 150 watts per square meter. The wikipedia page on Photovoltaic_system under Insolation and energy lists panels as being capable of about 1 kWh/m^2/day. An average car is about 15x6 or roughly 5x2 meters which works out to 10m^2. Someone please check my math because I think I probably made a mistake somewhere but that leaves the surface area of a typical average sized car able to produce just 10kWh/day with solar panels. That means a day of sunlight would not even charge the 16.5kWh battery in the Chevy Volt let alone something like the 85kWh battery in the Tesla Model S. Using the figure from Wikipedia of 150 watts per m^2 and current solar cell pricing of about $1/watt that puts the cost of 10m^2 panels at about $1,500 which isn't that expensive but it would probably take more than 10kWh/day of power to make it worth bolting panels to the car. At around the efficiency of the Chevy Volt it would be worth about 23 miles/day on solar power and the US national average is about 41 (15k/year).
Joe F
Don Duncan, its a concept car. No price and probably not tested to answer your other questions. That's why you don't see those informations.