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Auto Industry’s Electric Newcomer

AUTO INDUSTRY’S ELECTRIC NEWCOMER

ANTON PIËCH—THE GREAT-GRANDSON OF PORSCHE’S FOUNDER — IS DETERMINED TO SHAKE UP THE SPORTS CAR MARKET

Anton Piëch wants to modernize the classic sports car.

Piëch, 41, has teamed up with friend Rea Stark Rajcic, 36, to create Piëch Automotive, an electric sports car company he describes as an “an asset-light, next-generation automotive original equipment manufacturer.”

As the great-grandson of renowned car maker Ferdinand Porsche and son of Ferdinand Piëch—the late industry veteran and once-Volkswagen Group executive—it may not be surprising that Piëch is working to leave his own mark on the automotive industry. Although, he says, no one, including himself, expected him to follow in the family footsteps.

“To be honest, my family heritage has had very little to do with the inception of our idea,” Piëch says. “Of course it helps with the brand and the story, but we were really two entrepreneurs looking for a challenge in a changing industry.”

Anton Piëch, has teamed up with Rea Stark Rajcic
Anton Piëch.

He and Stark, an entrepreneur with a background in industrial design, began discussing ideas soon after a friend introduced them in 2014, and their mission to create a sleek electric sports car has escalated more quickly than they could’ve imagined.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Piëch Automotive, founded in 2016, currently has one model of its electric sports car, the Mark Zero. It is described as a “timelessly beautiful” GT sports car and claims to have a 310-mile range with a recharge of just under five minutes.

Whether they’re working with factories or technology experts, Piëch says the people he works with have made the experience all the more enjoyable.

“We have been able to attract some amazing talent, and the work they have done has been truly inspiring to watch,” he says.

The car’s price will range from US$150,000 to US$170,000, with plans for the vehicles to become available within the next three years.

Creating a stylish car was a top priority.

“Just because a car has an electric drivetrain, we don’t think it needs to look like a spaceship,” Piëch says.

Anton Piëch, has teamed up with Rea Stark Rajcic. To create a stylish electric car.
To create a stylish electric car

And the Mark Zero’s look is what differentiates it on the growing electric-car market.

Piëch says he and Stark drew from a “classic and puristic design philosophy,” taking inspiration from the quintessential sports cars of the 1960s and ’70s.

Though Piëch—who was previously an entrepreneur in China—says his family history had little to do with his new company, that doesn’t mean his new business venture lacks a reflection of some of his family’s past.

In fact, Piëch is not the first in his family to design an electric car—his great-grandfather Porsche is credited with creating the first hybrid car.

While Piëch says he’s encouraged by the potential to “disrupt” the automotive industry, breaking into that industry hasn’t been easy.

“Convincing the market that we have found a solution that is a true alternative to the way legacy car makers work has been hard work,” he says.

Through their friendship, Piëch and Stark have developed a solid business partnership.

Though Piëch says their skill sets differ, they also complement each other.

Stark says his close friend Piëch is creative and has a great sense of humor.

“It’s basically more fun than work,” Stark says.

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