Piëch Mark Zero EV Sports Car Combines Good Looks With 300-Mile Range, 5-Min Charging

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There's no question that Tesla is at the top of electric vehicle (EV) field with respect to battery technology, performance and efficiency. However, a number of companies -- most recently, Rivian -- are looking to challenge the American automaker. The latest is Piëch Automotive, a startup helmed by Toni Piëch.

The company's first vehicle is the Mark Zero, and it's quite the looker with its shapely curves, low hood line, and large wheels filling out the fenders. At first glimpse, you'd be forgiven if you mistook this EV for an Aston Martin. In fact, the vehicle is quite conventional in the looks department, and if we didn't already know that this was an EV (and paid no attention to the missing tailpipes), we would have assumed that it had something like a twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood.

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Where things get a bit crazy, however, is with its powertrain. Piëch Automotive is making some wild claims here with regards to charging. The Mark Zero allegedly can achieve an 80 percent charge in a little less than 5 minutes. That is absolutely unheard of for a full-size EV, and would be an absolute game changer in this market. Even Tesla's Superchargers need about 40 minutes to take a battery from a 10 percent charge to 80 percent.

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This would put filling up the Mark Zero on par with topping off an empty tank in your gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle. However, there is no mention of what kind of battery cells that the company is using to achieve these rapid recharging times. Is it some new time of lithium-ion/polymer battery cell? Is the company using expensive supercapacitors? 

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"The special type of cell hardly heats up during charging or discharging phases," Piëch Automotive claims. "Significantly higher currents can flow as the cell temperature rises only marginally." The company also says that the battery cooled solely by air, but there is no mention of a heating system for colder temperatures (which can seriously erode EV battery range).

Piëch Automotive says that the Mark Zero will have a driving range of 311 miles on the European Cycle, will go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph. At this time, there is no word on pricing or availability for the Mark Zero.