Velozzity

September 5th, 2009

I like to think I know most everything that’s going on in the automotive world.  So I was surprised recently when I read an article in Automotive Engineering International about Velozzi‘s new crossover, the Solo.  Velozzi, an Automotive X-Prize contender, plans to develop “practical plug-in multi-fuel hybrid electric vehicles.”  My surprise was due to the fact that I hadn’t actually heard of this company.

Velozzi Supercar

Velozzi Supercar

Currently, Velozzi has plans to build two models.  The first of these, the Supercar, is a 770-hp all-electric vehicle that accelerates to 60 mph in 3 seconds and reaches over 200 mph.  This is a beautiful car, with Ferrari-esque styling and ridiculous performance potential.  The more conventional vehicle, the Solo, is an attractive crossover PHEV with better-than-average acceleration and fuel-economy of 100 mpg.

Velozzi Solo

Velozzi Solo

Two things are particularly striking to me regarding Velozzi.  First, founder Roberto Velozzi has stated that “It is inconceivable and counterproductive to manufacture efficient vehicles using antiquated types of construction.”  To that end, he plans to incorporate novel materials such as carbon-fiber nano-tube-based components, leading to simplified construction and reduced manufacturing costs.  I applaud this effort, as it represents a fundamental shift from the traditional manufacturing techniques that are so entrenched in auto industry, and I believe such a change is necessary for the industry to reinvent itself.  Secondly, instead of a conventional internal combustion engine, the Solo will use a micro-turbine in charge-sustaining mode, allowing for much greater efficiency and fuel flexibility.  Again, this is the break from traditional thinking that the industry needs.  (I do have to question, however, why their Supercar needs 700 hp to achieve its performance targets, assuming that the use of carbon fiber has indeed resulted in significant weight-savings.)

Velozzi has partnered with some well-known (and deep-pocketed) suppliers to make the Supercar and Solo a reality, and plans to start mass-production by early 2012.  Unfortunately, all we’ve seen so far are CAD drawings, and no prototype for either car exists.  But now that Velozzi is on my radar, I will certainly be following their progress.  And their chances of success can only be increased with a name like “Velozzi”!

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