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The Piëch Mark Zero, with a New Kind of Battery System, Is Almost Too Good to Be True

The Piëch Mark Zero, with a New Kind of Battery System, Is Almost Too Good to Be True
  • Here's an electric supercar that posts interesting numbers, among them a new type of battery that will recharge to 80 percent in less than five minutes, with a total of 311 miles of range.

  • The Piëch Mark Zero also targets zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds.

  • The platform is also designed to enable a switch to plug-in-hybrid, fuel-cell, or even internal-combustion power. 


    The Piëch Mark Zero is taking concrete shape. Last week, we reported on the first teaser shots sent out by the company co-founded by Ferdinand Piëch’s son Anton ("Toni") and Rea Stark Rajcic; now we get illustrations that are a lot more detailed, and some promising background on this upcoming supercar.

    We now know the dimensions of the supercar, which is still in the concept stage: At 174.5 inches long, 78.4 inches wide, and 49.2 inches tall, it is slightly shorter and lower but significantly wider than a Porsche 911. And its wheelbase of 103.1 inches is a lot longer than the 911’s, making for very favorable proportions.

    Power will come from one front asynchronous and two rear synchronous motors, which can deliver just over 200 horsepower each. The target for the zero-to-62-mph sprint is 3.2 seconds, while top speed will be limited to 155 mph.

    The company claims a weight distribution similar to that of a conventionally powered sports car. We'll have to see, as the placement of the rear batteries above the axle raises questions as to the center of gravity.

    Unlike most current electric cars, which typically place their batteries under the floor, the Piëch Mark Zero has its batteries in the central tunnel and atop the rear axle. It's an approach not entirely dissimilar to that of the Porsche Taycan, which has "tunnels" for the rear passengers to place their feet. This way, the Mark Zero allows for an extremely low seating position. The target weight is 3968 pounds, and the company claims a weight distribution similar to that of a conventionally powered sports car. We'll have to see, as the placement of the rear batteries above the axle raises questions as to the center of gravity.

    Even more questions arise around the type of batteries: Piëch is guarding information closely at this point, claiming the Mark Zero will feature an entirely new battery type developed by Hong Kong–based Desten Group. The carmaker claims that this "special type of cell hardly heats up during charging or discharging phase."

    This technology has two benefits. First, air cooling will suffice, which Piëch says helps to shave off 441 pounds. Second, and even better, the charging time is reduced sharply. As it's fed by a charging infrastructure developed by Qingdao Tgood, charging the Mark Zero to 80 percent will take a mere four minutes and 40 seconds. This brings the recharging time to little more than the time it takes to refill a conventional car with gasoline or diesel. Keep charging to 100 percent, and the Mark Zero is claimed to be able to deliver a full 311 miles of range in the WLTP cycle.



    Count us among the skeptics until we learn more about those new battery cells, which would constitute a real breakthrough.

    But there are more good things: The Mark Zero is designed to be updated over its life cycle both with new software and hardware.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the sporty if slightly generic look of the Piëch Mark Zero. And know that if electrics don’t take off, the platform is designed to accommodate a fuel-cell electric or a plug-in hybrid powertrain as well—or even a good old-fashioned internal-combustion engine.