The Veritas RS III Hybrid goes beyond most of the hybrids on the road today, incorporating a full-hybrid system with a bank of lithium-ion batteries that can be charged by plugging the car into an outlet.
Most of the car's power comes from a BMW V-10 engine that makes 507 horsepower. It sits right behind the driver and powers the car's rear wheels. It's the same engine that gives the BMW M5 its oomph. A 140 horsepower electric motor at the front axle powers the front wheels. Power going to all four wheels, albeit from two different sources, makes the RS III Hybrid an all-wheel-drive sports car, like several current Lamborghinis and even the brand-new Ferrari FF.
The Veritas RS III Hybrid uses a lithium-ion battery pack -- the same stuff that powers your cell phone and laptop. The roadster can travel about 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) on electric power alone at fairly low, around-town speeds. Any farther or faster, and the V-10 engine kicks in and the car operates as a full hybrid, sort of like a frighteningly fast Toyota Prius. Contrary to early reports, the three Veritas Hybrids will not have the charge-on-the-go, Formula 1-style, Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) system; Vermot AG says it's too heavy and expensive for a car like this.
All told, the hybrid bits add about 500 pounds (226.8 kilograms) to the total weight of the car. But, with its high-tech carbon fiber and Kevlar body, the Veritas RS III Hybrid still only weighs 2,821 pounds (1,280 kilograms), not including the gas in the tank or a driver. Keeping the weight down and the horsepower up means the hybrid can still go well past 200 miles per hour (321.9 kilometers per hour) -- though it's still a tad slower than the gasoline-powered Roadster.
But the hybrid makes up for that off the line. Like all electric-powered vehicles, there's a lot of torque available from the motor as soon as you press on the accelerator, plus there's that 507 horsepower, V-10 engine, too. The hybrid shaves a tenth of a second off the Roadster's 0 to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) time, at 3.1 seconds. That's exactly as quick as the monstrously fast Koenigsegg CCXR.
There's not a lot of competition in the plug-in hybrid supercar category so far, but there is some. Next, let's take a look at who else has a horse in this race, and what the future holds for the Veritas.