Ronald Gumpert, the man behind the Apollo and the Audi Quattro has come to light once again with a new vehicle concept titled Nathalie. Nathalie is a considerably sweet name for a car that munches on asphalt but we will go with it.
Nathalie is an EV at heart but a very different one at that. It was created as the Mr. Gumpert's solution to the problem that haunts all electric cars; long distance trips and the time needed to fully charge it back up. It uses 4 electric motors, one for each wheel. It has a power output of 800 hp and a claimed top speed of 306 km/h. Underneath its athletic body, a chromoly tube frame is linked to a carbon chassis to keep the weight at a bare minimum. The body itself is sculpted with multiple air ducts that generate downforce enough to keep this monster on the road. It is the perfect car for most people who don't drive more than 300 km per day. For the others, choosing an electric vehicle for their daily marathon commutes is simply not an option.
While others have used fast-charging battery cells and fuel generators to charge the battery on the move, Gumpert dismissed them and decided to use a methanol fuel cell. In only three minutes, you can fill your car up with methanol and generate enough energy to keep the car alive for 850 km more. It does not burn the methanol, instead the fuel cell combines air and methanol to produce energy, water and carbon dioxide. That's where the downfalls begin. First, it defies all logic of EVs; putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Second, it relies on the infrastructure of methanol which is normally not available everywhere; let alone country roads. Third, it only produces a 5kW energy charge which pales in comparison to the 600 kW power consumption. The battery is also not defined in terms of capacity so that is also a big question mark.
The Nathalie is a bold move by Gumpert, seeking to innovate the market for EV. Maybe it will serve as a catalyst for further EV technology research that could potentially make long trips possible. However, Nathalie looks like a hoot and really fun to drive but we'll hold on to our horses until the technology behind it is given some solid backing. Also, we can grasp a hint of a dressed-up GTR; do you?