One of the perks of living in Germany is that every two years I get to attend the International Motor Show (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung in German, or IAA), held in Frankfurt. The world's largest car show, the IAA lasts for a total of 11 days, focusing on the latest and greatest passenger vehicles and motorcycles. I always look forward to the show and have never been disappointed -- this year was no exception.
However, as I walked through over a thousand exhibitions sprawled out over 143 acres, one car caught my attention above all the rest:
The Thunder Power Sedan.
The car, produced by Taiwanese company Thunder Power, is a rear-wheel-drive four- door electric sedan that comes equipped with either a 308-hp or 428-hp setup. The company claims the car has a range of over 400 miles on a full charge, with a quick charge (30 minutes) providing a range of about 186 miles. (You can see more photos on Thunder Power's official website.)
Much like league leader Tesla, Thunder Power seems to be going after the performance and style-minded driver. The company claims the 428-hp engine takes the car from 0 to 62 mph in under five seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph. The styling -- which includes sweeping, dynamic lines and heavy wood accents -- was created by the Zagato studio in Milan, known for its design work on Bugatti and Aston Martin models.
Thunder Power also displayed a "Racer" version:
Known traditionally for its power tools, Thunder Power has been listed on the Taipei stock exchange since 2001. The company claims (through its website) to focus on "environmentally safe solutions [that] benefit society and enhance the daily lives of the consumer," with the goal "to establish a leading position in the E[lectric] V[ehicle] industry."
Believe me, I know what you're thinking. Thunder Power -- really? Sounds like a cheesy 1990s kids show. But the company lists some impressive credentials:
- Wellen Sham -- Chairman and CEO: With more than 30 years experience managing technology, private equity, and VC businesses (including 10 years investing and working in the automotive industry), Sham is also a founding member of the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute and a former partner at KPMG.
- Peter Tutzer -- CTO: Holding a PhD in mechanical engineering, Tutzer has more than 35 years of experience in the automotive industry. He's held top positions with Porsche, Bugatti, and the Lotus Group. As technical director at Bugatti, he led engineering and development of the Bugatti Veyron.
So when do we see these cars in action? Thunder Power is aiming to put its sedan on sale in Europe by the end of 2017, followed by a China launch in 2018. The company says it will attempt U.S. market entry soon thereafter.