Exagon Furtive eGT: France’s Electric Luxo-Coupe
The Exagon Furtive eGT is a beautiful car. It’s a car that I'm proud of because it's French—but any auto enthusiast anywhere in the world would like it.
The Furtive eGT is a sleek coupe with four seats. It's about the same size as a Chevrolet Camaro, but its design is not as muscular as the American car. It has a European more subtle flair. It's not as eye-catching as the Fisker Karma, but certainly as nice as the upcoming Tesla Model S—nicer in my eyes—with the added sportiness of being a two-door.
What matters to us is that it has an electric drivetrain. The Furtive eGT doesn't have any competition. Maybe Tesla will make a two-door version of its Model S, but as of today, this is the first electric luxo-coupe in the world.
You may wonder where it comes from as Exagon Engineering has never sold a road car before, even though this company has been in the car manufacturing business for many years. They've been building racecars! Exagon is the manufacturer of all the cars competing in the "Trophée Andros Electrique," a winter championship for sprint car racing. All cars are electric; all races are in France; and it’s run during winter for good reason: The cars race on ice. It's more about sliding than about driving but it's a lot of fun.
From this experience, we know two things. Exagon knows how to make an electric car that can go fast and handle well. That’s to be expected, because Exagon's offices are located next to the Magny-Cours racetrack. That makes it very different from Tesla. Teslas are born in the Silicon Valley, while the Furtive eGT was born on a racetrack.
Yet, Exagon doesn't know how to manufacture electric motors, and they have no plans to do so. They buy batteries and motors from suppliers, which they're not afraid to name, because they are among the best in the industry. Batteries will come from Saft, a leading French manufacturer. They build the batteries that go into the French Army submarines. Those are batteries that can last many, many years, and they've already entered the automotive sector. Saft is manufacturing the lithium-ion battery of the Mercedes S400 hybrid, in a joint venture with Johnson Controls.
The motor manufacturer has an even more impressive background. It comes from Siemens, the huge German conglomerate. The first AC alternator to power street lighting from a renewable source (a watermill) was made by Siemens, some 130 years ago. Siemens has been making the electric motors for German high-speed trains since then, and they have a huge knowledge base about anything electric. They also have extensive resources to make things better.
The Exagon Furtive eGT has two motors, each making 125 kW for a total of 340 horsepower at 10,000 rpm. These are very high voltage AC motors—700 volts to be precise. Super powerful and super efficient, these Siemens motors maybe the best on the market. They should enable the Exagon to cover the quarter-mile in the low 12s. Hey, this is a serious electric car! Top speed is a theoretical 178 mph, but there should be a electronic limiter on the production model.
So can it be real? Yes. The car was unveiled last year to great acclaim, and the company already has a few orders. More important, they have enough capital to complete the car's development. We should see it driving this year. True, the Exagon will be a very expensive car, more than 120,000 euros—that’s more than $160,000—but it may be the best performing electric car. With a 50 kWh battery, range is advertised at 122 miles driving at a constant 81 mph speed (130 kph). It could go up to more than 250 miles in slower driving. The engineers are already talking of a small gasoline engine working as a range extender to double that. What's not to like?
The first car with a gasoline engine was built in Paris by Etienne Lenoir in 1860. It's good to see France again at the forefront of automotive technology.
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