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Wednesday 22nd March

Koenigsegg: electric hypercars “need a reason to exist”

Plus: he’s still keen on cresting 300mph in a Jesko Absolut

Published: 26 Jul 2022

The boss of Koenigsegg reckons ‘extreme’ electric hypercars need to add something to the mix rather than just speed to make them worthwhile.

Speaking to Top Gear, Christian von Koenigsegg confirmed his company’s intention to build an electric hypercar but noted how it posed a number of difficulties.

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“That’s the challenge for all extreme car brands,” he said, when pushed on how to make electric cars exciting. “There are ways. I don’t think anyone has yet nailed the huge differentiation from a Tesla Model S Plaid or Porsche Taycan Turbo. I think they are so close in performance and range to a hyper EV that it’s a bit discomforting.

“I think you need to have a reason to exist. Just making it cool but not adding any features or functions of meaning, and then charging ten times more, that doesn’t do it for me,” he added.

He pointed to work he’s already carrying out, referencing the Koenigsegg Gemera’s electrified element. “We’re already developing the battery and the inverter and the e-motors. We’re going to have the most power dense e-motor and inverters in the world, but that is only part of the equation.

“It doesn’t make a super big difference if you’re 20kg lighter on your e-motor and inverters. That helps, but it doesn’t make a huge difference. It’s difficult to do, and you should do it if you can, but that’s only ten per cent of what I’m thinking needs to be different.”

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(A quick note about the Gemera – the factory is currently being built and should be up and running by April 2023. “Even though the world is in a strange place when it comes to materials and so on, it looks like we’re going to make that time schedule,” Christian told us. Deliveries for the car will commence at the end of 2023.)

Koenigsegg also reiterated his desire to crest the 300mph barrier in a Jesko Absolut, but cautioned on some of the dangers involved in such an attempt. “With the numbers we’re seeing and the performance we’ve already experienced, it would be a shame not to show what it can do.

“At the same time it’s really scary stuff. When we did the prevailing record of a homologated production car in two directions at 277mph in Nevada on an open road, it’s just super dangerous.

“I would like to have a closed-off area, maybe like Ehra-Lessien where it’s very wide, where you can take out some of that side of it, because it’s scary enough anyway. We’d definitely want to have our hand over it just for safety reasons. Checking the venue, the road, having an experienced driver.”

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And on the note about homologated cars, he pointed to the lengths the company has gone to in order to make their cars as production ready as possible. “If you look at the contenders [for the 300mph+ crown], most of them are not homologated cars. For us, most of our development goes into crash testing, airbags, emissions testing, OBD, conformity of production… all these kinds of nitty gritty, annoying details that are designed for high volume cars that makes our car sellable worldwide on each market.

“And of course it makes the car heavier, more complex, it gives the engine less power. I’m super impressed by all of those cars, but given that they don’t have that homologation, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. If you bring that into the mix, you can bring in these ‘rocket cars’ from the salt flats – they don’t have airbags, or emissions controls or OBD either. And they go 1,000mph.

“It’s very impressive what they’re doing, but there needs to be this kind of distinction between a fully homologated production car, or something where it’s completely free and you can do whatever you want. There’s a difference in effort, and complexity.”

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