Swiss Electric Car Startup Announces Plans for All-New SUV

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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Electric vehicles are wonderful, aren’t they? In addition to being good for the environment, electric vehicles and their relatively uncomplicated design have paved the way forward for a ton of exciting new automakers — ones that would never exist without the rise of electrified vehicles.

Take Swiss electric vehicle startup Piech for example. This week it revealed plans for two new models: a four-seat Grand Tourer and an SUV, dubbed the GT-4 and the GT-X respectively.

Now, don’t beat yourself up if you had not heard of Piech before today. Honestly, neither had I. I’m going to remember it, though, because its cars — if they ever come to market — could be quite compelling.

Before I get to why, let’s circle back for a second to Piech’s introductory model, the Mark Zero concept. When it comes to production, the sleek pure-electric sports car will be christened the GT-2. It will be powered by the brand’s 70 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which was developed in conjunction with a Chinese firm called Desten.

Piech’s Mark Zero concept is said to recharge to 80% in a record 4:40. | Photo: Piech

 

Piech claims that due to the battery’s special design that it can be recharged, when plugged into the brand’s fast charger, from 0 to 80% in a “record” four minutes and forty seconds. What’s more, with three electric motors on board (one driving the front wheels and two driving the rear), it’s said to churn out the equivalent of 603 horsepower. So, it won’t be slow.

Literally building on the GT-2, Piech stretched the platform to create the GT-4 and GT-X. Like their smaller sports car cousin, the two will have the same three-motor propulsion system. Also like the GT-2, the battery pack of the four-seater and the SUV will be mounted in the front of the car instead of underneath the floor like Teslas and other modern EVs.

Piech says somewhat distinctive battery positioning was selected to allow for a lower seating position. Moreover, the heft of the front creates a driving dynamic familiar to drivers of internal combustion engined vehicles.

The GT-X SUV is estimated to do a 0-62 mph run in 4.7 seconds. | Photo: Piech

 

Frankly, I like that. A lot of us learned to drive (and love) a front-engined vehicle. I, for one, don’t want to lose the driving characteristics in the switch to electric.

Piech hasn’t said what kind of range it expects from the GT-4 and GT-X. However, since the sports car is expected to achieve around 310 miles per charge, we can assume the bigger vehicles will have shorter ranges. Although it’s playing coy with range figures, Piech did divulge the cars will accelerate from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.8 (GT-X) and 4.7 (GT-4) seconds.

It’s not clear if and when these Piech’s sporty EVs will ever come to European showrooms or (more importantly for us) U.S. showrooms. If they look anything like the Mark Zero concept pictured above, I hope they do make it Stateside. If nothing else, they’ll give nerdy driving enthusiasts like me, a distinctive set of EVs to pick from. You know, ones that aren’t under-styled or overly utilitarian. Because, honestly, that seems like where the EV market is going, sadly.

I hope Piech has a lot of Chinese money behind it and is ready to operate at a loss for the foreseeable future. I say that because the profitability of EVs looks a tad bleak for the next decade or so.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

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