Gildo Pallanca's Fétish
By Noel Adams

On Wednesday January 5, 2005, at the LA Auto Show, noted racecar driver Gildo Pallanca Pastor introduced a new battery electric vehicle called the Venturi Fétish to the USA.

Monsieur Pastor, who is now retired from the track, took control of Monaco based Venturi three years ago and is now the CEO.

He opened his presentation by apologizing for his English, although I thought that he had an excellent command of the language. He went on to explain that Fétish, in French, is something you carry that brings you luck. His intention, he added, was “to show what battery electric vehicles were capable of”. The Venturi Fétish is, in his words, “The car of 2020 available today”.

The Venturi Fétish is a sleek two-seat roadster designed by French engineer Gérard Ducarouge, who is famous for his work on formula-1 racecars for Lotus and Matra, and vehicles designed for Le Man. The car is reminiscent of Lotus with lift up doors similar to those on a Lamborghini.

This is a mid-engined sports car with a carbon fiber monocoque body that is both light at 1653 pounds, and aerodynamic. Batteries add an additional 771 pounds for a total vehicle weight of only 2424 pounds.

What makes this different from the other sports cars is that it is totally electrically powered. The car uses the AC 150 drive train developed by AC Propulsion in San Dimas, California. A 180KW AC motor, capable of 14,000 rpm, provides plenty of power to move this car at a top speed of a little over 100mph. This motor has a flat torque curve and provides close to peak torque at zero revolutions which gives the Fétish neck snapping acceleration and a 0-60 time under 5 seconds

The Fétish’s Li Ion battery pack is arraigned in a T shape reminiscent of the EV1. It has enough capacity to provide a range of 200 miles in mixed city and freeway driving. Charging can be accomplished using any source from a standard 110V 15amp plug to an 80 amp fast charging system. At 80 amps the Fétish can charge at a rate of one mile per minute requiring a little over three hours for a full charge.

If anyone doubts the speed and range claims of the Fétish take a look at its ancestor, AC Propulsion’s T-Zero, which was used to develop the AC 150 drive train. The T-Zero can accelerate from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds, has a maximum speed of over 100 mph and has been driven from San Dimas to Las Vegas on a single charge. The Fétish has the same drive components so there is no reason to doubt that it will provide similar performance.

Monsieur Pastor told the audience at the LA Auto Show that the target audience for this vehicle is those people for whom expense is no object but who want something that is different and unique. To this end Venturi will only produce 25 vehicles, which will be sold in just three cities world-wide; Los Angeles, Monaco and Tokyo. They already have the car certified for the European Union and are working to get DOT certification here in the USA. They expect to have this process complete by the end of this year.

The cars that are sold here in Los Angeles will be built in the USA although Venturi has not yet contracted with anyone to do the actual assembly. The cars sold in Monaco and Tokyo will be built at Venturi’s facility in Monaco.

The car will sell for about $660,000 so it is not for mere mortals. They do not have any firm orders yet but do have three people interested in test-driving the car. The eye catching Fétish will appeal to those who want to drive a very rare car but at the same time want to be eco-friendly. I have no doubt that they will sell all twenty-five cars.