The fastest and most powerful supercar on Earth comes from – surprise – Sweden. A company called Koenigsegg is building a hybrid that can go from 0 to 250 miles per hour in less than 20 seconds.
This speed machine called the Regera (a word that really has no counterpart in English) has captured the imaginations of the gang over at Top Gear. Although it is currently a rich man’s toy, the Regera has some features that are truly revolutionary. The Regera is a supercar that costs around $1.9 million and has a sleek design worthy of Italy’s best.
Look Ma, No Transmission
The most astounding thing about the Regera is that it has no transmission. Instead, it has a purely electric drive train; the power to the wheels is provided by electric motors. That allows for all the power to be delivered to the wheels at once. That’s a disruptive change from the average vehicle, in which a lot of the power is lost in the transmission.
Like the Tesla, the Regera is demonstrating that electricity is a better means of transmitting power to wheels. Since electric drive trains will be cheaper and easier to build than transmissions, it will not be long before most vehicles employ electric drive trains.
That is a truly disruptive change in automobiles because it will make it easier to adopt electric vehicles and use a wide variety of power sources in cars. Mercedes, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda are all experimenting with fuel cell powered vehicles. It will also make it easier for companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to enter the auto business.
Another advantage to electric drives is that they will make it easier to build self-driving (or robot) cars because it will be easier to integrate computers into vehicles. One reason why electric drive train technology is becoming widespread is that modern electronics make it easier to control the flow of electricity.
One beneficiary of this technology will be Elon Musk and Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA). More electric vehicles and electric drive train vehicles on the road will mean more potential buyers for all those lithium electric batteries that the Gigafactory is poised to churn out. The Regera has a nine-kilowatt battery on which it can run for about 18 miles.
The Car of the Future is Here Today
Koenigsegg is giving us a glimpse of the future. It contains the features of the cars that most of us will be driving 10 or 15 years from now. There will be a time in the near future when the transmission will go the way of the carburetor.
Koenigsegg is showing us that the Swedish auto industry is far from dead. Saab might or might not be gone, but Swedish sports cars are still making a splash. The future, it seems, will increasingly belong to boutique automakers like Koenigsegg, rather than large traditional car builders like Ford and Toyota. One has to wonder if Koenigsegg will be able to give Ferrari and Lamborghini a run for their money.