On Tuesday, Koenigsegg will reveal its replacement for the world's fastest car, the Agera RS. But Koenigsegg is also working on a higher volume model with NEVS, which is set to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. And according to Christian von Koenigsegg, that car will use the Koenigsegg V8 in naturally-aspirated form, with Freevalve, and electrification.
Last month, NEVS, the Chinese-Swedish company that owns Saab's assets bought a 20-percent minority stake in Koenigsegg. This development will result in a new car, which will be built in Ängelholm and badged as a Koenigsegg, but sell for under a million euros, and produced in the hundreds instead.
Of course Christian had a lot more to tell us about the NEVS joint venture:
The collaboration is basically that we have this slightly higher volume–still very low volume, a couple of hundred a year–idea of a car priced under a million euro. Let’s say somewhere between 6-7-800,000, depending on the specification. We’ve been working on that project for two years now, and we realized that to make it properly, we probably need to bring in an investor for that program, in order not to put too heavy burden on the other programs we are doing, which are much smaller volume, of course.
During that process, we had talks with some very good investors, and then NEVS came knocking on the door: “Hey, we just got this new main shareholder who wants to invest in new car technology, Swedish technology, and so on.” And we’ve been working with NEVS for many years to utilize their testing facilities in Trollhättan, where Saab used to be. They have emission test labs, electronic radiation test labs, climatic chambers, test tracks, crash facilities…all of those things we’ve been using. And we’ve also been talking for many years about maybe working on more together, but they were never really in the condition of expanding their efforts into other areas.
But with this new shareholder, they said they really want to find a way to work together, and if possible, would also like to invest. We said okay, we have this opportunity that we’ve been working on, and then the idea came about that they invest as a minority shareholder, and we do this joint venture car together. The production facility will actually be here in Ängelholm, we’ll be running the engineering and production, but we’ll be utilizing the facilities in Trollhättan like we already do, and also whatever capability they have for slightly higher volume production parts than we can do here. Like sub assembly, subframes, maybe wiring harnesses, upholstery, painting…but the car will be engineered here and but together by the same people here, and also tested here at Ängelholm. So it will very much be a Koenigsegg car, with the involvement of NEVS.
I was also curious to find out whether this higher volume second model is a safety measure in case our current hypercar-crazed era comes to a sudden end, perhaps due to unpredictable economic reasons. But Koenigsegg says their core business is looking good, and the new car is a much more personal project:
The projections are still for this segment to grow over the foreseeable future. The next car is more about exploring new avenues, and to make use of the technologies we’ve developed. I mean, we developed so many complex systems, and put them in so few cars! By doing this, we can take the experience of direct drive, on our infotainment, electronic platforms, and reuse them at very little extra cost.
And we will get so much more out of it! Also, to showcase Freevalve (camless engines), and our capabilities in general. We think the car we develop is in a very interesting niche that nobody has ever tried before. It’s a car that came about because I very much want one myself. And than it turned out that other people are also very interested in this type of a car. You’ll see it at Geneva 2020. We’re not trying to cannibalize what we are doing with our super extreme hypercars. It will be more of a road car, not at all track focused. Of course you can enjoy it at a track like you can enjoy a very high performance version of another car, but it’s a different focus, and something I’m very excited about.
That leaves us with the question of the powertrain. Ever since Koenigsegg's engine deal fell through with Spyker, I've been wondering if we will ever see the Koenigsegg V8 in production in naturally-aspirated form. The company has already announced that the joint venture model will combine a Freevalve engine with a hybrid system, but now, we've also learnt that the engine under that camless top will be the naturally-aspirated V8:
To spill the beans a little bit then, the higher volume Koenigsegg, we’re foreseeing a naturally-aspirated V8. But with Freevalve.
Yet don't expect Koenigsegg to go any cheaper than the joint venture model. Christian has other ideas for extending their portfolio:
To me, Koenigsegg should be a top pinnacle brand. And when we’re saying we’re doing a car just under a million euro, or around there, that’s still a very-very expensive car. It’s just that our other hypercars became astronomically expensive. I think at that sub-million price level, the Koenigsegg brand still works well, but I don’t foresee us becoming like a McLaren, a Ferrari or an Aston Martin. We’ll stay smaller volume, and higher average price than them. But hopefully, we can showcase our technology at an ever broader spectrum, and make more business on the side with our technology setup, a company we’re now forming to help others with platforms, electrical systems, carbon fiber wheels, and various other solutions that will trickle down to normal cars.
So, the 2021 Koenigsegg-NEVS joint venture car in a nutshell:
Road-focused, electrified, with a camless naturally-aspirated V8, for under a million dollars, or thereabout, designed and built by Koenigsegg in Ängelholm.
Knowing this, Christian von Koenigsegg isn't the only one who "very much wants one", in advance...
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