Bugatti testing 2 200Nm GT
Bugatti is a company in a conundrum of sorts. The Veyron supercar will come to the end of its model lifecycle in 2013 and there is still no official successor.
Although Molsheim unveiled its 16C Galibier super-sedan last year, the four-door Bugatti is yet to get the official go-ahead from VW board – despite engineers admitting the car being fundamentally ready for production from a design perspective.
Some industry pundits have even postulated the idea of a ‘super Veyron’ boasting 882kW being in the works.
Electric vehicle Bugattis? Nothing new, actually
New rumours emanating from Europe indicate Bugatti might be looking back in an attempt to secure the future of the brand – with electric power.
It would appear Bugatti’s Veyron replacement might revive the company’s electric vehicle heritage, first experimented with under the auspices of founder Ettore Bugatti.
Back in the 1930s Bugatti built the Type 56, which was a small car Ettore used as his personal runabout around the Molsheim factory grounds. Sporting a modest 0.8kW, the Type 56 stored its power in half a dozen 6V accumulators.
Engineering genius Ettore Bugatti, who ran a two-seater electric Bugatti for himself back in 1930s.
Testing for a hybrid solution?
Bugatti’s contemporary interpretation of the company’s electric car heritage is allegedly undergoing testing and will push the boundaries of known battery performance. The rumoured test vehicle, running on a Bentley Continental GT chassis, is powered by two large electric motors - serviced in turn by an advanced lithium-ion power cell.
In terms of output the electric Bugatti test car produces 588kW and 2 200Nm. Unfortunately, despite the promise of mind-warping acceleration, there is an issue with battery capacity and range.
Much as the original Type 56 electric car was a novelty for Ettore, it would seem the Continental GT based Bugatti electric test vehicle will remain a one-off research project for probably future hybrid technology.
During last year’s Frankfurt auto show Bugatti boss Franz Josef Paefgen drove a rare example of the Type 56 onto the Bugatti display stand.
The electric vehicle classic shared the stage with Bugatti's Veyron Gran Sport Sang Bleu in a strange juxtaposition of the company’s innovative electric car heritage and current fossil fueled performance billing. Just perhaps, Paefgen was alluding to an electric (hybrid) car future for Bugatti…