By presenting the first desirable electric vehicle at the 2004 Paris Motorshow, Venturi created on the one hand a new segment, that of the electric sports car, and on the other hand carried an extremely positive message for the future of the automobile, composed of high performance and driving pleasure.
Niche sports car maker Venturi arrived at the Paris Motor Show with a very nice surprise indeed - the final production version of its radically-styled Fétish.Venturi, for those unaware, is a small output French automaker that opened its doors in 1984 and who specializes in eye-catching sportscars.
The company folded in the year 2000, but was given new funding in 2002, demonstrating its new found vigor by creating a wild prototype vehicle for the 2002 Geneva International Motor Show, from which the current production-ready vehicle was derived.
The provocatively titled Fétish has been designed to stand the test of time, with Venturi making the bold claim that its vehicle is "what the big automobile manufacturers are only proposing 20 years from now".
More than just an exercise in forward-looking styling, the Venturi Fétish is also an electric sports car; one which the French company reckons is the first in automobile history.
Capable of reaching a 170km/h top speed, and with a 350km range on a full charge, the Fétish is also quick to refuel, with a rapid battery recharge (with 80 Amps) of 1.6km a minute or 10 minutes recharge for every 16 Km, easily covering the needs of daily urban transport.
Under the technical direction of Gérard Ducarouge, chief engineer of the project, the Fétish has been conceived to be an electric vehicle with absolutely no compromise.
With the engine ideally positioned in rear central position and a monocoque carbon chassis, the overall architecture of the Venturi is comparable to that of a thoroughbred sports car.
The idea of an electric engine is still a foreign concept for many motorists, and one of the key differences between a combustion engine and an electric one is that a petrol power plant must wait for the power to arrive, as the revs build, where an electric engine has high levels of power and torque available right from ignition.
The vehicle attains a light weight 1100kg with batteries, and together with an impressive 180kW power output, the somewhat confronting vehicle will offer a unique driving sensation: accelerating from 0 to 100km/h in less than 5.0 seconds without the usual noise of a combustion engine.
Venturi is obviously chuffed with its rapid electric sports car, releasing a statement that reads: "Our unique and innovative approach represents a complete change in cultural direction, the evolution from the traditional sports car to a noiseless electric sports car, as well as a radical change in technological references, placing the battery, not the engine, at the epicenter of the automobile technological advancement and its performance."
The French automaker is adamant that an electric sports car is no longer out of the question, what with the technology available and the mass production of batteries for mobile phones and laptop computers. Before the advent of lithium-ion batteries however, Venturi said that it was not possible to stock enough energy in a conventional car, insisting that more than a ton of batteries would have been necessary to achieve the same power.