Miguel Suqué Mateu, the man behind the startup that aims to produce the new $1.7 million Hispano Suiza Carmen, is the great-grandson of Damián Mateu, co-founder of the original Hispano Suiza company. Anton Piëch, the man who says his Swiss company will make sports cars, sedans, SUVs and pickups with a wide range of powertrains on a self-developed modular platform, is the son of former VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch, and thus the great-grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, creator of the Volkswagen Beetle and founder of Porsche. Kids these days!
Piëch Automotive debuted its first concept vehicle, shown above, at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. It feels like the brand came out of nowhere, but the concept debut was the culmination of years of work. Back in 2016, having no affiliation with the Volkswagen Group, Anton Piëch co-founded the company with industrial designer Rea Stark Rajcic, hiring Laszlo Varga as their Head of Design.
With a 200-strong external team having worked on the project ever since, the resulting Mark Zero is Piëch Automotive's first concept. It's based on a modular hybrid platform that, unlike most EVs, doesn't use a skateboard layout. Instead, as you can probably tell from the picture below, the Piëch platform hides its batteries in the central tunnel and above the rear axle.
The cells they use come from Chinese company Desten, said to be , allowing Piëch to opt for air-cooling instead of liquid and offer rapid charging at up to 80 percent in under five minutes. And with this technology onboard, Piëch is aiming for a 311-mile range, thanks in part to the Mark Zero's target weight of less than 3960 lbs. The platform can also accomodate internal combustion, hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, because if Pagani can come up with a dual ICE/EV platform, so can Piëch.
For now, turning the juice into a driving experience are three motors: a 201-horsepower asynchronous on the front axle, and a pair of synchronous ones on the rear, giving the Mark Zero a 0-62 mph time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed (presumably limited to) 155mph.
If the design of this compact sports car feels familiar, it's because it's a heavily revised version of . But Piëch Automotive won't stop at a two-seater. The company's future plans include a sedan, an SUV, a convertible, and even a pickup truck. Possibly.