A new all-electric performance star rises in Zürich?

Switzerland is known for a lot of things - chocolate, ski resorts, a square flag… but all-electric sports cars? Not so much. However, that could very well change with the introduction of the 2019 Piëch Mark Zero. Offered as the very first model from Piëch Automotive, a German-Swiss automaker based out of Zürich and Munich, the Mark Zero is a high-powered two-door EV with grand tourer aspirations, plus a low-three-second 0-to-60 mph time and head-turning good looks. Making its formal public debut with home-field advantage at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the Mark Zero could also provide the underpinnings for a number of upcoming models, as well as the most important EV battery tech upgrade of the modern era.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior Styling

  • Grand tourer styling
  • Pronounced aero elements front to back
  • Cab-back proportions
  • Large wheels and flared fenders
  • About the same size as the Aston Martin Vantage
Geneva Motor Show Piëch Mark Zero

Geneva Motor Show

Posted by Piechautomotive on Tuesday, March 12, 2019

While most boutique automakers struggle when it comes to crafting an attractive exterior design for their first model, Piëch Automotive seems to have hit the nail on the head. The 2019 Piëch Mark Zero looks like a legit grand tourer, with styling cues that seem to pull from a number of modern mainstream vehicles, including the Aston Martin Vanquish, the TVR Sagaris, the Ferrari 812 Superfast, and the Maserati GranTurismo.

And that’s a very good thing - those are some very pretty cars to be associated with, and while there are some out there who will no doubt label the Mark Zero as an Aston Martin/TVR/Ferrari/Maserati knockoff, all we’ve gotta say is - if you’re gonna steal, steal from the best!

Up front, the 2019 Piëch Mark Zero is rounded and wide, with a large single front intake flanked by a pair of oval headlight housings.

The look is vaguely reminiscent of classics like the Ferrari 250 GT SWB, but the Mark Zero adds modern flair with pulled-back, streamlined attitude. Closer to the ground, the nose slices through the air thanks to a prominent chin spoiler element.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829653

Moving to the sides, the Mark Zero mounts large wheels covered by thin tires, which tuck under the flared arches just ahead of a set of horizontal fender strakes. Lower character lines add extra visual rake, while the teardrop-shaped canopy sends the roofline into the tail at an attractive angle, accentuated by cab-back proportions and a long hood line.

In back, the 2019 Piëch Mark Zero’s tail once again incorporates a rounded, oval shape, bookending the massive rear fender flares with thin taillight strips and small vents in the lower corners of the bumper.

Underneath it all is a black diffuser aero element.

In terms of size, the Mark Zero is relatively close to the 2018 Aston Martin Vantage, which offers an overall length of 176 inches, an overall width of 76 inches, and an overall height of 50 inches. By comparison, the Mark Zero is 1.5 inches shorter, 2.4 inches wider, and 0.8 inches lower.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior Dimensions

Overall Length 4,432mm (174.5 inches)
Overall Width (w/o mirrors) 1,991mm (78.4 inches)
Overall Height 1,250mm (49.2 inches)
Front Overhang 897mm (35.3 inches)
Rear Overhang 915mm (36 inches)
Wheelbase 2,620mm (103.1 inches)

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Interior Design

  • Should come with numerous customization options
  • Should come with a large touchscreen and few hard buttons
  • Low seating position
  • Should come with high-end materials throughout
  • Should come with enough cargo space for a suitcase
2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829662

Unfortunately, we have no idea what the 2019 Piëch Mark Zero looks on the inside, as the automaker has declined to offer up any glimpses at the cabin as of this writing (03/11/2019). However, that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate a little.

First off, given Piëch Automotive is still a relatively small, boutique automaker, we expect customers will have a number of customization options inside, from the colors, to the materials, to the infotainment features. A large touchscreen in the center console will run the various onboard features, while hard buttons should be at a minimum.

As for the layout itself, drivers and passengers will sit in deeply bolstered bucket seats covered in leather upholstery.

The seating position will be low (more on that in the next section), while various stylistic elements will emphasize the horizontal dimension over the vertical wherever possible.

Seating capacity will be capped at two, but there might be a relatively small rear storage area for various bits of cargo. Something big enough for a suitcase sounds about right. GT cars are meant for the occasional fun overnight trip, after all.

Piëch Automotive also says it has plans to incorporate autonomous technology into future models. However, details on this are scant, and besides, the most important stuff is the way in which this thing drives.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Drivetrain And Performance

  • Three electric motors, one in front two in back
  • All-wheel drive grip
  • Each motor produces 201 horsepower
  • 0 to 60 mph in a little over 3 seconds
  • 155-mph top speed
  • 311 miles per charge
  • Recharges with 250 miles in four-and-a-half minutes
  • Unique air-cooled battery pack
  • Total vehicle weight under 4,000 pounds
  • Modular structure could accommodate additional powertrain types
  • Unique battery placement keeps weight evenly distributed
  • “Sports car” handling
2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829667

While zesty good looks and a comfortable interior are all well and good, an EV lives and dies by its powertrain. As such, Piëch Automotive spared no expense in developing what could very well be a complete game-changer in the world of EVs.

First, let’s talk about what makes the 2019 Piëch Mark Zero go.

Providing the motivation is a trio of electric motors, including a single asynchronous electric motor up front making 150 kW (201 horsepower), plus a pair of synchronous motors in the rear, each of which makes 150 kW (201 horsepower) on their own.

Total horsepower is not yet known (it’s not always as simple as adding all the numbers together), but either way, this thing is definitely quick, with 60 mph arriving in just over three seconds. Top speed is predictably low (EVs tend to run out of puff the faster they go), rated at 155 mph.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829656

Lay off the skinny pedal, and you’ll be going pretty far between plug-in sessions, with max range rated at 500 km, or 311 miles. For the sake of comparison the Tesla Model S 100D offers 335 miles per charge. And while that’s all quite impressive stuff, the 2019 Piëch Mark Zero’s potentially game-changing moment happens as soon as you plug it in.

You see, Piëch claims that the Mark Zero is equipped with a new type of battery cell that’s capable of reaching an 80-percent charge capacity (roughly 250 miles) in just four minutes and 40 seconds. For the sake of comparison, the 2019 Tesla Model 3 takes 30 minutes to recharge an additional 170 miles when plugged into a Supercharger station.

If Piëch Auotmotive’s claims are true, it’ll make the Mark Zero the quickest-charging passenger EV in the world.

What’s more, it’ll be more or less in line with the refill times offered in a traditional gas-powered car. That’s a major step forward, and not just for the automaker, but for the EV segment as a whole. This technology could very well be the pivot point where electric vehicles compete with standard internal combustion in terms of adoption rates. After all, cars are all about convenience, and if you’ve gotta wait around for half an hour to get enough electricity to get where you’re going, gas-powered cars will continue to hold the advantage.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829659

That said, we’ve gotta take Piëch Automotive’s claims with a grain of salt. For now, all this is nothing more than a claim made in a press release, so we’ll wait until we see the recharge technology in action to declare the Mark Zero as our new EV savior.

Moving on, Piëch Automotive claims that the battery pack doesn’t heat up as much as other packs when charging or discharging, as it uses a special type of cell that somehow mitigates big temperature swings while in use, therefore allowing for higher overall currents (both on the charge and discharge side). This helps with the stated recharge times, but it also helps with weight. Because the pack only requires air cooling, this special type of pack cuts out roughly 200 kg (441 pounds) compared to something like a liquid-cooled system.

All told, the 2019 Piëch Mark Zerl tips the scales at less than 1,800 kg (3,968 pounds).

While not exactly feathery compared to a lightness-focused, ICE-powered sports model, a weight under 4,000 pounds is still pretty low for an EV. For the sake of comparison, a well-equipped Tesla Model S can weight almost 5,000 pounds.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829655

Under the body panels, the Piëch Mark Zero is built on a “flexible and open vehicle architecture.” This modular approach means the platform can be adapted to a number of different models and body types, something which is particularly useful for an up-and-coming automaker with relatively limited development of production resources.

Notably, the Mark Zero architecture will accommodate additional powertrain types beyond all-electric, including hybrids, fuel cells, and even a traditional internal combustion engine. Piëch Automotive will offer this modular structure to other carmakers as well.

What’s more, the structure was designed to accommodate updates to the software and hardware systems, including autonomous technology for the former, and new battery tech for the latter.

As for the drivetrain, the Mark Zero’s trio of electric motors helps it to stick to the pavement with a hearty dose of all-wheel drive grip.

As a sports car, Piëch Automotive said it focused on honing the Mark Zero’s handling and agility, especially with regards to weight distribution.

For example, the batteries were placed in the central tunnel and around the rear axle to keep the heft properly distributed across the two axles.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829662

What’s more, this type of placement differs from the more common under-floor mounting position you see in other EVs. This allows for a lower seating position, which Piëch says helps with driving feel without compromising overall handling charactersitics.

“Weight distribution and handling are expected to be similar to that of a conventional sports car with a combustion engine,” Piëch boasts.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Drivetrain And Performance Specs

Drive Type all-electric
Motor Type single asynchronous motor front, dual synchronous motors rear
Motor Output 150 kW (201 horsepower) per motor
Acceleration (0 to 62 mph) 3.2 seconds
Top Speed 250 km/h (155 mph)
Weight <1,800 kg (3,968 pounds)

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Prices

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829661

Piëch Automotive isn’t going it alone when it comes time to start building the Mark Zero. The company says it will contract out the manufacturing duties, and will develop and produce the car “strictly to German quality standards.”

Piëch Automotive has not yet announced who the manufacturing partners will be.

Pricing is also unannounced as of this writing (03/11/2019).

However, given the specs and top-shelf appointment, we expect an MSRP well into the six-figure range.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Competition

Porsche Taycan

2020 Porsche Taycan Spyshots Exterior
- image 736098

Following up on its hybrid efforts with the Panamera, Cayenne, and 918 Spyder, Porsche is finally stepping into the all-electric world with the Taycan sports sedan. Offered as a production version of the Mission E concept seen in 2015, the Taycan looks more like an evolution of the Panamera four-door in terms of the front end and the silhouette. The interior will likely be streamlined and tech-heavy, while more than 600 horsepower will be on tap for motivation. Properly applied, it’ll be enough output to propel the Taycan to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. Torque vectoring and four-wheel steering will help it handle. Pricing will likely start around $100,000. Look for a debut sometime in 2019.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Porsche Taycan.

Polestar 1

2018 Polestar 1
- image 792611

Originally making its name as Volvo’s performance division, Polestar is now its own standalone brand, complete with its own unique models. The first out the gates is the Polestar 1, a high-end hybrid luxury sports coupe doling out 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Making it all possible is a twin-charged (supercharged and turbocharged) 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, plus a duo of electric motors juiced by a 34-kWh battery pack. Put it in EV mode, and you’ll get a little under 100 miles of silent, electron-driven running. Inside, things are plush and comfortable. Pricing slots in at around $155,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 Polestar 1.

Final Thoughts

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829665

Founded three-and-a-half years ago by Toni Piëch and Co-CEO/Creative Director Rea Stark Rajcic, Piëch Automotive is no ordinary boutique automaker. Co-founder Toni Piëch is actually the son of former Volkswagen head Ferdinand Piëch, as well as the great-grandson of none other than Ferdinand Porsche (yes, that Ferdinand Porsche).

That means this company has connections and credibility beyond those of a typical car start-up, and given the specs and tech claims seen with the Mark Zero, we’d say the company has a fair bit of ambition to boot.

All told, Switzerland’s first all-electric car is looking pretty good.

The 2019 Piëch Mark Zero is attractive, quick, and forward-looking, and could very well be the genesis of a brand-new “family of products” in the next three years.

Even more importantly, Piëch Automotive is heavily focused on the stuff we like most - performance and driving fun.

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829651

“It’s our aim to support the emotional driving experience with up-to-date technology. It’s meant to help the driver but not distract him,” said Piëch Automotive creative head Stark Rajcic. “And it’s about the real sports car feeling: driving, not being driven!”

“We have developed a sports car that we ourselves would like to buy and we talked for a long time to many enthusiasts about what was missing on the market. We want to offer a modern classic that isn’t subject to consumer cycles. The driver of this sports car should enjoy any minute they can spend in the car,” said co-CEO Toni Piëch.

Beyond the Mark Zero, what can we expect from the company? If the Mark Zero isn’t a total flub, Piëch could offer a follow-up two-seater, a four-seater sedan, and a performance SUV, all of which are currently in the planning stage. Piëch Automotive also says that “other concepts like convertibles or pick-ups are also conceivable.”

Piëch is playing it smart as well, hooking up with industry players to quickly advance development.

For example, the China-based Desten Group was tapped for its battery tech, including R&D work with regards to cell and battery packs, and presumably the ultra-low charge times as well.

Piëch also partnered with the China-based Qingdao TGOOD Electric Co. Ltd for the company’s expertise in electric vehicle charging infrastructure in China, which includes 210,000 charging stations located in more than 300 cities.

So far, there’s no word how (or if) Piëch Automotive will approach the U.S. market, but if the company’s eye-raising claims turn out to be true, you can bet folks on these shores will be clamoring for a Mark Zero of their own.

  • Leave it
    • Unproven company and technology
    • Likely very expensive
    • No word on U.S. availability

Further Reading

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 829658

The 2019 Piëch Mark Zero Is A Niche EV Sportscar Done Right

2019 Piëch Mark Zero Exterior
- image 827128

Piëch Mark Zero Is a New Swiss EV That Promises Supercar Acceleration and Ultra-Quick Charge Times

Piëch Automotive celebrates the world premiere of the new Piëch Mark Zero electric sports car at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, 5 March, at 11:45 a.m.
Piëch Automotive presents a study of a new, puristic electric sports car called the Piëch Mark Zero
Purely electric GT with a range of 500 km (311 miles) (WLTP)
New type of battery cell: 80% charge in only 4:40 minutes
Concept Car Piëch Mark Zero represents the start of a new product family
Flexible and open vehicle architecture allows for a variety of drive systems and bodies
The DESTEN Group is Piëch Automotive’s battery partner, while the Qingdao TGOOD 
Electric Co. Ltd. 
contributes the charging infrastructure
Innovation meets sports car feeling. A study of the new electric sports car Piëch Mark Zero combines typical sports car attributes and innovative technologies with a timeless and attractive body. It’s the first of a family of products to be brought to market by Piëch Automotive in the next three years. Its flexible and open vehicle architecture allows the use of a variety of drive systems - like electric drive, hybrid, fuel cell or internal combustion engine. The entirely new type of battery cell hardly heats up during charging and discharging phases; it features a high rate of recuperation and can be charged up to 80% in 4:40 minutes. This means that fast charging takes only marginally more time than filling up a conventional car with petrol. (Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/829594/Mark_Zero_rear.jpg ) (Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/829596/Mark_Zero_silver.jpg ) (Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/829597/MarkZero_silver_drive.jpg ) (Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/829598/Matk_Zero_red.jpg ) (Photo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/829599/Rajcic_Piech.jpg )
Piëch Automotive is a German-Swiss vehicle manufacturer based in Zurich and Munich. Three and a half years ago, the founders and owners of Piëch Automotive, Toni Piëch and Co-CEO/Creative Director Rea Stark Rajcic had the idea to develop a new, flexible vehicle architecture. The first car they created is the Piëch Mark Zero, a vehicle that brings the fascination of a sports car into the electric era. It will be shown for the first time at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. Piëch Automotive - timeless luxury
The Piëch brand stands for timeless luxury and modern technology putting people at the centre. Creative head Stark Rajcic underlines this: "It’s our aim to support the emotional driving experience with up-to-date technology. It’s meant to help the driver but not distract him. And it’s about the real sports car feeling: driving, not being driven! Of course, the vehicle architecture is geared towards autonomous driving, but we’ll keep that for later models." Package allows sports car handling
Thanks to the placement of the batteries (one in the centre tunnel, the rest at the rear axle), weight distribution and handling are expected to be similar to that of a conventional sports car with a combustion engine. In contrast to the widespread placement under the floor, this allows a low seating position typical of a sports car as well as precise handling, giving the driver immediate feedback. Co-CEO Piëch summarises the product requirements for the new Piëch Mark Zero thus: "We have developed a sports car that we ourselves would like to buy, and we talked for a long time to many enthusiasts about what was missing on the market. We want to offer a modern classic that isn’t subject to consumer cycles. The driver of this sports car should enjoy any minute they can spend in the car." Sporty performance and quick charging - 80% in 4:40 minutes
The Piëch Mark Zero is an electric GT with a range of 500 km (311 mi) according to WLTP. The special type of cell hardly heats up during charging or discharging phases. Significantly higher currents can flow as the cell temperature rises only marginally. In addition to conventional CSC charging, the fast charging mode allows for a sensationally short charging time of only 4:40 minutes to 80% battery capacity with an exceptionally high recuperation rate. Because of the reduced heat build-up, the batteries can be cooled by air alone. This contributes to an overall weight reduction of around 200 kg, resulting in a total vehicle weight of under 1,800 kg. At the front axle, an asynchronous motor delivers 150 kW, while at the rear axle, two synchronous motors produce 150 kW each - guaranteeing typical sports car feeling! Innovative battery and charging partners DESTEN and TGOOD
Piëch Automotive’s battery partner is the DESTEN Group Ltd., based in Hong Kong, China, with a research and development centre in Qingdao, China. DESTEN offers innovative cell and battery packs which feature extremely short charging times combined with low temperature development. Now DESTEN wants to roll out their battery and cell competence gained in the consumer sector in the automotive industry. The necessary charging infrastructure is supplied by Qingdao TGOOD Electric Co. Ltd. from Qingdao, China, and Hong Kong, China. The group of companies was founded in 2004 by Chinese and German engineers, is listed on the stock exchange in Shenzhen, China, and is a market leader in eHouse solutions. TGOOD operates 210,000 charging stations in more than 300 cities. Says Piëch: "We are proud to have found two such strong and innovative partners. Together with our partners, we’re open for cooperation, regardless of whether it’s about our new modular vehicle architecture or the innovative battery cells or the charging infrastructure." The permanent team of specialists has wide-ranging experience in various industry sectors, having worked for renowned automobile manufacturers around the globe. Together with some 200 external employees, it designed a modular vehicle platform which allows the development of a variety of body and drivetrain variants. Thanks to the modular concept, vehicles made by Piëch Automotive can be kept up-to-date over a long period of time as both the software and hardware (like for example the blocks of battery cells) can be updated or replaced as needed. At the same time, the modular structure allows a wide choice of drive systems: conventional internal combustion engine, different kinds of hybrids, true electric drive or fuel cell - all these drive systems can be realised using the same vehicle architecture. In the next step, this modular structure is also to be offered to other manufacturers in B2B business. Three vehicle variants are in planning: a two-seater, a four-seater and a sporty SUV. Other concepts like convertibles or pick-ups are also conceivable. Production will take place in cooperation with experienced partners with a long-standing successful history in contract manufacturing. The Piëch Mark Zero will be developed and produced strictly to German quality standards. The decision about manufacturing partners will be announced at a later stage. Management: Toni Piëch, Co-CEO and Chief Marketing Officer Piëch Automotive: After graduating from Princeton University in East Asian studies, Toni Piëch spent twelve years in China and co-owned a media agency before he returned to Europe and founded Piëch Automotive in 2016. Piëch lives in Zurich. Rea Stark Rajcic, Co-CEO and Creative Director Piëch Automotive: Rea Stark Rajcic founded his first companies even before he was 18 years old. He attended St. Gallen art school and trained as a typographer and lithographer at the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. After that, he designed products for Panasonic, Sony and Canon in Japan, among others. Stark Rajcic lives in Zurich. Specifications Piëch Mark Zero* Dimensions: Length/Width/Height: 4,432/1,991/1,250 mm (w/o wing mirrors)
Overhang: front: 897 mm/back: 915 mm
Weight: under 1,800 kg
Wheelbase: 2,620 mm
Performance: System output: Front axle: one asynchronous motor delivering 150 kW
Rear axle: two synchronous motors (mechanically decoupled) delivering 150 kW each
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds
Top speed: 250 km/h
* Specifications are target values/project status

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