Venturi Automobiles, a car manufacturer based in the small European country of Monaco, has been making gasoline-powered sports cars and race cars since 1984. In the year 2000, however, the company was closed down due to a lack of funds. Not long after, Venturi was bought out by millionaire European businessman Gildo Pallanca Pastor, who shifted Venturi's emphasis toward electric-powered vehicles. The prototype of the Venturi Fetish was introduced at the 2002 Geneva International Motor Show and was brought to the United States for the 2003 Detroit Auto Show. Originally, the Fetish was scheduled to enter production in 2005, but that date has been pushed back more than once, and now the Fetish is scheduled to hit the streets in 2009.
Venturi's plan for the Fetish has always been to produce five hand-crafted cars per year over a period of five years, for a total of 25 cars in all. And the best current estimate of what the Fetish will cost in U.S. dollars is roughly $400,000. This is clearly not going to be a car for the average driver.
However, the Fetish isn't the only electric car planned by Venturi. They've also announced the Venturi Eclectic, a quirkily designed electric car that comes complete with solar panels and wind turbines, so that, in theory, it will never require recharging from an external electric source -- although this option is available, too. Venturi has also announced the Astrolab, a hybrid vehicle that combines an internal combustion engine with a solar-powered electric motor similar to the one found in the Eclectic.
The Fetish is a unique car in several ways. On the next page we'll look at exactly what sets it apart.