German automaker, Artega, first unveiled the Artega SE at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show last March, showing the promise of what a German electric sports car could look like. Of course, their purpose was to also give the US-based Tesla and their pride and joy, the Roadster 2.5, something to think about.
Recently, the Artega SE was in attendance at the Frankfurt Motor Show with plenty of updates on the vehicle. The model that we saw at Frankfurt looks to be one of the few test prototypes of the electric sports car. While expectations are understandably high for the SE, Artega is tempering its expectations on the car, leaving it with a concept tag while it still undergoes testing and development.
Ultimately, the company has made no bones about its intention of bringing the Artega SE into something more than just a concept car. Artega chief executive, Peter Müller, put it in simple terms: "Our aim is to combine environmental responsibility with the passion for automobiles."
The Artega SE is an electric version of the company’s initial offering, the Artega GT. The two cars sport the same body and aluminum spaceframe with the only notable difference being the powertrain fitted under its hood.
UPDATE 09/20/2011: Engadget has received confirmation that the Artega GT’s younger brother - the Artega SE - will indeed be heading to US shores. There’s no specific timeline as to when this will happen, but at least we know it will!
Details on the Artega SE after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
Thanks to a combination of materials used in auto racing, including the aluminum space frame, high-strength steel, and alloys reinforced carbon fiber, the Artega SE weighs in at 1,400 kg (3086 lbs), which is about 100 kg (220 lbs) lighter than the Artega GT. Despite being a lighter model, the SE still comes with the same 57:43 weight distribution ratio towards the rear axle as the GT model. The SE’s body and aluminum spaceframe is the same that’s found on the Artega GT, which means that it will have carbon fiber reinforced plastic and EU5 on the front hood. Apart from the carbon fiber, Artega also built the SE with the idea of developing a car that can be considered the lightest of its class.
Inside the car, the SE comes with a multi-function sports steering wheel that includes toggle switches on the car’s wheel, which the driver can use to adjust the recuperation rate when he removes his foot from the accelerator. These settings are differentiated to different levels of recuperation – 75 kW to zero recuperation - which is referred to as “sailing. What this does is give the driver the opportunity to adjust and readjust the acceleration pedal to suit his own whims or, more importantly, adapt to certain weather and driving conditions. Right behind the wheel is the SE’s redesigned instrument cluster, which houses some pretty pertinent information about the car including analog and digital displays for speed, range, battery level, and energy flow.
Powering the Artega SE are two electric motors mounted on the car’s rear axle, each with a 37 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack with a nominal voltage of 350 V. Both motors operate independently, producing a total output of 375 horsepower with a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 126 mph. On a full charge, the Artega SE has a range of 125 miles with a full charge capable of being finished in just 90 minutes when charging at a high-powered charging station.
The Artega SE is still in concept form, but the German automaker is already shooting for the stars as far as sales goals are concerned: 500 electric sports cars a year priced at €132,000, or $181,000 based on current exchange rates. Ambitious, we say.
In the meantime, Artega has prepared a couple of test vehicles, one of which attended the Frankfurt Motor Show. Should the reaction to the Artega SE be somewhere around what the company expects, the automaker will immediately prep the car up for mass production. No timetable has been set until a decision has been made, but Artega is pegging it to be somewhere around 2012.
In looking for a suitable competitor for the Artega SE, one model particularly comes to mind: the Tesla Roadster.
Given the similar powertrain both sports cars have, it’s easy to say that the German Artega SE and the American Tesla Roadster will engage in some heated battles as soon as the former is green-lighted for production. Unfortunately, all the important figures that are crucial for the two models lean favorably in the Roadster’s direction.
For starters, while the Artega SE’s total engine output reaches an impressive 275 horsepower, it falls short to the 288 horsepower output the Roadster is capable. Likewise, the Roadster clocks in a faster 0-60 mph time compared to the Artega SE - 3.7 seconds to 4.3 seconds. But the most important factor between the two electric sports cars is the driving range, or how far the car can travel before needing a full re-charge. To this, the Roadster completely trumps the SE’s numbers by almost twice the latter’s figure, 245 miles to 124 miles, before it needs to be recharged.
So while the German Artega SE may be a good car for the future, it still has ways to go before it can produce an electric sports car that can make Tesla tremble in fear.
Rear end design looks very aggressive
Powerful electric engine
Good and hopefully cheaper option than the Roadster
Front end design is a little subtle for our liking
Not yet ready for production
Ways to go before reaching Tesla’s level