The Too-Good-to-be-True Silex Power Chreos Goes After Tesla's Model S

By · February 26, 2013

Silex Power Chreos

The Chreos: an artist's conception. The company plans to start on the prototype in July. (Silex Power graphic)

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.

Top-Flight Talent?

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.

Silex Power Chreos

The Chreos has a long way to go to reach production. (Silex Power graphic)

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.

Zap-X

The ultra-high-performance Zap-X was great on paper, but it never saw the light of day. (Zap graphic)

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.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

Those unknown unknowns get you every time.

· · 1 year ago

621 miles at 77 mph? Seems more like it would take about 250 kwh, so that a 10 minute charge would be 1500 kw assuming 100% efficiency or 3000 kw assuming 50 % efficiency, which i’d say is more like it. The heat loss would be at over 5 million BTU’s./hour rate, or enough to heat a 100,000 sq ft commercial building.

If they could do 1% of what they say, or only ONE of the things they say they’d corner the market. 621 miles range even with a slow 6.6 kw charger would be much better than anyone could reasonably expect. So why invest in a fast charger since what people want is the car in the first place? 120 hp would be fine, 630 hp isn’t needed.

Sounds like someone’s wet dream to me.

· · 1 year ago

621 miles at 77 mph? Seems more like it would take about 250 kwh, so that a 10 minute charge would be 1500 kw assuming 100% efficiency or 3000 kw assuming 50 % efficiency, which i’d say is more like it. The heat loss would be at over 5 million BTU’s./hour rate, or enough to heat a 100,000 sq ft commercial building.

If they could do 1% of what they say, or only ONE of the things they say they’d corner the market. 621 miles range even with a slow 6.6 kw charger would be much better than anyone could reasonably expect. So why invest in a fast charger since what people want is the car in the first place? 120 hp would be fine, 630 hp isn’t needed.

Sounds like someone’s wet dream to me.

· · 1 year ago

I agree with the headline. What's more, 2015 is a long time from now, and their competition won't be standing still. Figure that by the end of 2014 Tesla will have at least 40k Model S vehicles on the road, and they should have SuperChargers covering most of the US, part of Canada, and a few in Europe (and SuperChargers should be significantly cheaper to roll out than this 'HyperCharger' as described). Tesla could also announce a 2015 dual-motor Model S (using technology from the Model X) with performance gearing to make their own sub 3 second car which at the very least might freeze that market. A Tesla Model S-based dual motor supercar would sell for what--$150k? I think that would be attractive compared with a first car from an unknown vendor priced much higher than that (I predict Silex will attempt to price this car at $500k--carbon fiber and batteries are expensive, even two years from now).

Add to that, the BMW i8 will have been shipping for at least a year at that point, and there should be some other interesting high end offerings from other manufacturers by then as well.

All that said, I wish them well. It is hard to build new things, easy to take potshots, and lots of people doubted Tesla as well (still do). It's just that Tesla's claims (while difficult) were in the realm of reality. Silex's claims as I read them are not.

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