Just a few days ago we witnessed the presentation of an exciting new project in the luxury automotive landscape. The fully electric hypercar Fulminea, already teased a few months back by Automobili Estrema, a new company established near Modena at the heart of the Italian Motor Valley. This week I had the pleasure to interview its Founder and CEO, Gianfranco Pizzuto.
Mr. Pizzuto is a pioneer in the field of electric mobility, and through his years of experience in this industry, he focused his attention on sustainability and the huge potential that comes with this automotive revolution.
We touched on many topics, including its past experience as an entrepreneur in electric mobility with the investment in Fisker, in an EV sector still in its infancy only a little over 10 years ago, the current development stage of Fulminea, and the vision for the future of the company. And there is a lot to be excited about!
Here is the video of the interview and below you can find some more information about the car, the event, and the company’s future.
But now a little bit of background…
The event was focused on the presentation of the first full-scale model of the car, its styling, aesthetic, and aerodynamic solutions. The design already shows quite evidently the forward-looking approach used by the team at Automobili Estrema.
Not only the futuristic lines recalling the lightning-shaped company logo, as the headlights to create a stronger personality, but also the taillights which are the first of their kind. Estrema designers in fact used clear recycled methacrylate that works as a projector for the LED lights creating a unique aesthetic solution and also an aerodynamic feature.
Stand out of course also the massive use of carbon fibre, which includes even the wheels (developed by partner OZ Racing), the active aerodynamic elements, and finally some lines in the overall shape of the car that take inspiration from the best Italian automotive design tradition.
This way, the team at Automobili Estrema enters a very crowded and highly competitive space bringing a product that makes of technological innovation and striking design its most powerful weapons, while also reiterating its heritage rooted in the classic cues of Italian sports car manufacturing.
But there is more…
Fulminea will be an almost €2 million hypercar, and as such is conceived to deliver hypercar-worthy performances. It will have a power output of 2040 bhp, a weight of 1500 kg, and an expected 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) around 2 seconds. Even more impressive is the claimed acceleration from 0 to 200 mph (320 km/h) below 10 seconds.
Despite all of this, however, Estrema COO Roberto Olivo confirmed that this is not the kind of number the team is interested in. Of course, a performance matching the price point, and the kind of product is expected, but racing for the hundreds of a second in the 0-60 time is not what they are after.
Fulminea can in fact boast a much more ambitious set of objectives.
The first is to be the first car with a hybrid battery system. Meaning that along with the battery pack, the car will feature additional ultracapacitors, to further improve its performance. The synergy between the two should ensure reduced stress on the ‘regular’ battery pack, for increased range as well.
A Battery management system operated through AI which will adapt the performance to the outside conditions and the driving style of the person behind the wheel.
Finally, its battery pack will consist of solid-state lithium-ion cells, a solution that presents countless advantages over regular lithium-ion batteries with liquid electrolytes. Not only in terms of energy density (claimed around 450 Wh/kg), but also space and weight-saving, safety, and charge/discharge cycles.
This should ensure significantly better performance over other cars within this niche thanks to better range and reliability but most of all thanks to better dynamics.
Estrema has already formed strategic partnerships and joint ventures with different companies for the development of Fulminea and future projects.
Along with the design and exterior elements developed with EPTA Design, OZ Racing, Est Mobile, Pirelli, and more, the partnerships with companies in the energy storage development could lead to much more.
Estrema’s work with IMECAR Elektronik and ABEE (Avesta Battery and Energy Engineering) is aimed at creating, after the car, the first Gigafactory in Italy (and arguably one of the first in the World, even a few years down the line) for solid-state battery cells.
Ultimately, this would realise Mr. Pizzuto’s vision of establishing Estrema not only as a car manufacturer but as a leader in innovation and a technology company. This concept cannot but remind me of a claim made a while back by Mate Rimac, another great innovator in the automotive of our days, that already established his name as a major player in this newborn space. He talked about at Rimac they were forced to be a technology company first in order to survive and be a car company too.
Technology and innovation to exploit the massive potential of an electric powertrain to the maximum are surely key factors for new players who cannot rely on a long-standing brand name. Automotive is a tough arena to compete in, but in this respect, Automobili Estrema seems geared up very well for it. The people, the project, and the vision are in place, now time will tell.
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