Porsche progeny: Piech Automotive preparing to produce electric sports cars

Company named for Ferdinand Piech, grandson and nephew of Porsche founders

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Preliminary sketch of the Mark Zero | Piech Automotive

Although his name isn’t as well-known as his maternal grandfather’s or uncle’s, Ferdinand Piech was an automotive engineering genius and ruthlessly aggressive executive. Piech, who died at the age of 82 in the summer of 2019, was responsible for much of Porsche’s success in major motorsports, for Audi’s rise to prominence, and for the expansion of the Volkswagen Group to include brands such as Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti.

At the Geneva Motor Show just a few months before Piech’s death, one of his sons, Anton (Toni), and Anton’s business partner and product designer, Rea Stark, announced the launch of Piech Automotive with plans to being producing electric-powered sports cars in 2022.

This week, Toni Piech and Rea Stark provided an update on their progress, including word that the first of three planned vehicles, a 2-seat sports car, will have a range of 500 kilometers, and can be recharged to 80 percent of battery capacity (or 400 kilometers of range) in less than 5 minutes. The vehicle, known so far as the Mark Zero, “will be available for purchase at the end of 2022,” the news release added.

While Tony Piech and Stark will be members of the Piech Automotive board, the announcement this week includes the news that the company chairman will be Matthias Muller, former chief executive of Porsche and then of Volkswagen. 

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Klaus Schmidt, former chief engineer at BMW Motorsport, moves from chief technology officer to co-chief executive. The other co-CEO is newcomer Andreas Henke, who also will serve as chief marketing officer. Henke formerly worked in marketing and sales at Porsche and most recently a Burmester, a high-end audio producer.

Also joining the management team is Jochen Rudat, who built the Tesla dealership network in Europe.

“The dual CEO leadership… strengthens our objective of not only bringing technologically innovative vehicles to the road,” Stark is quoted in the news release, “but also completely redefining the brand and the relationship which we will develop with our customers.”

The news release also reported the successful first-round of financing for the new company, which will be based in Switzerland but with engineering facilities in Memmingen, Germany.

For more information, visit the Piech Automotive website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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