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How the Venturi Fetish Works

Venturi Fetish Performance
The Venturi Fetish made its world debut during the press days at the 72nd Geneva International Motor Show, on March 5, 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland.­
The Venturi Fetish made its world debut during the press days at the 72nd Geneva International Motor Show, on March 5, 2002, in Geneva, Switzerland.­
AP Photo/Laurent Gillieron


Few people associate the words "electric car" with the word "performance." But sports cars are performance cars and the auto designers at Venturi knew that they'd have to build in as much speed and acceleration as possible in order for the Fetish to be competitive with others sports cars on the market. Unfortunately, its maximum speed of 110 mph (177 kilometers per hour) isn't terribly impressive. Where the Fetish excels is acceleration.

Venturi estimates that the Fetish will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 96.6 kilometers per hour) in 4.3 seconds. It gets that burst acceleration from its 180-kilowatt electric motor that produces 280 foot-pounds (379.6 newton-meters) of torque. For a sports car, that torque figure isn't extraordinarily high, but unlike an internal combustion engine, where maximum torque is available only at certain engine speeds, a traction electric motor can deliver full torque from the moment it's turned on. This allows the Fetish to deliver neck-snapping acceleration from the very moment the driver steps on the accelerator. And that power will remain available even while cruising down the highway at 60 mph (96.6 kilometers per hour).

Another factor that makes the Fetish quick is its light weight -- about 2,450 pounds (1,111.3 kilograms). Venturi chief engineer Gérard Ducarouge achieved this relatively weight -- in spite of the car's large array of batteries -- by building the chassis from composite materials, carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb. The bodywork is carbon fiber, too.

The Fetish is an electric car and therefore draws its power from batteries rather than from gasoline. Like most recent electric car designs, the Fetish uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The battery array weighs 750 pounds (340.2 kilograms), nearly one-third the weight of the entire car, and contains 100 individual batteries. These batteries, which form a T-shape under the car's hood, give the Fetish its impressive 180-mile (289.7-kilometer) driving range between charges.

Like all electric cars, the Fetish has the advantage of producing no pollution. But whether the Fetish is completely nonpolluting depends on the source of the electricity used to recharge it. If that electricity comes primarily from coal-powered electric plants, then the Fetish will still be indirectly responsible for carbon emissions. But if the electricity is from a nonpolluting source, such as hydropower plants or nuclear plants, the Fetish owner can drive happily in the knowledge that he or she is not contributing to the gradual degradation of the earth's atmosphere. And that's probably a pretty good feeling.

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