The Too-Good-to-be-True Silex Power Chreos Goes After Tesla's Model S
It’s not often that a car can come out of nowhere (Malta, in this case) and shatter every preconceived notion you might have about electric cars. It’s not often, and it’s not happening now—despite the rather spectacular announcement of the Silex Power Chreos, which is a Tesla-like plug-in supercar due in two years (PDF). Does 640 horsepower, 186 mph, zero to 62 mph in less than 2.9 seconds and 621 miles of range, with 10-minute fast charging, sound too good to be true? Well, it does to us, too.
Johnaton Grech, the CEO of Silex, insists the slinky-looking Chreos four-door sedan is real, and coming to the market in a limited edition of 300 cars in 2015. But he also admits that there isn’t even a prototype yet—the much-circulated pictures of the Chreos are artist’s conceptions. “Pricing is not yet disclosed, and will not be until the prototype is ready, when we will present to the press the full information about the car,” Grech said.
Some 20 Silex Power engineers are toiling over the Chreos, Grech said, and together have experience working for McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Honda. Grech himself doesn’t have an auto background. His company designs real estate projects, and Grech says he brings knowledge of software and IT to the project that will help optimize the battery pack’s performance.
Grech declined to identify the wunderkind battery pack (from an outside supplier) that could yield such performance, but he said it is in the testing phase, and “comfortably meeting our expectations.” He said that “high-density” batteries of the type needed to deliver the Chreos’ stellar performance will be available by the 2015 target date.
In case you were wondering, the Chreos’ striking design was executed by Maltese stylist Reuben Zammit, also responsible for a 2+2 Bugatti prototype, a Mazda RX-7 based X3, and the KC-427, a modern take on the high-performance Cobra.
Markets in Russia and China
Grech says the biggest interest in the car is coming out of Russia and China, but a North American and European version is possible. The would-be automaker says later and cheaper mass-market Silex models will definitely be aimed at the U.S.
Asked what he’d say to critics who doubt the Chreos’ ability to achieve on the road the performance it has on paper, Grech said there are already battery chemistries demonstrating capabilities beyond those demonstrated by Tesla Motors, and that claims of 10-minute charging are “not out of this world.” He points to his four “very powerful” hub motors as capable of delivering the stated acceleration and top speed.
Here's the video. It probably doesn't help that Silex boasts right out of the gate to have created "the most technologically advanced vehicle ever conceived."
Yes, it’s hard to believe that Grech and his small Maltese team are going to pull off a major automotive upset here. The car is a design sketch, and those are capable of 500 mph and two-second zero to 60 times. Grech seems sincere. It may be that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know yet.
Where's the Zap-X?
But we’ve heard claims like this before. Zap, now Zap-Jonway, unveiled the Zap-X in 2007. It was a crossover SUV with 644-horsepower, 4.8-second zero to 60 times, a top speed of 155 mph and 350-mile range with, wait for it, 10-minute rapid recharging. Did I mention the photovoltaic glass, and thermo-electrics for heating and cooling? It also had four 161-horsepower in-hub motors.
If you haven’t seen the Lotus-designed Zap-X, that’s because it was never made, though the company certainly produced design sketches, like the one above.
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