When you think of the principality of Monaco, chances are you think of the casinos, the luxury hotels, the mega-dollar yachts and the world’s most famous Grand Prix circuit. I’ll bet you don’t think about automakers, because Monaco isn’t exactly known as a global hot spot for automotive engineering. One boutique electric car builder, Venturi Automobiles, currently calls Monaco home and has announced their expansion into the U.S. market. Venturi will open a facility in Columbus, OH, due to its proximity to Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research. The U.S. operation will design and build electric vehicles for “specialty markets”, most likely direct competition for the Tesla Roadster.
Venturi began life as a French manufacturer of sports and racing cars. Despite endurance racing success against the likes of Porsche and Ferrari, the company went bankrupt in the year 2000. In 2001, the company was purchased and revived to build the electric powered Fetish roadster and the “energy autonomous” Eclectic, which uses solar panels and a wind-powered generator to produce electricity. The company is also developing the Astrolab, billed as the first solar-electric hybrid automobile. It’s not yet known if the Ohio facility will be used to produce any of the current models, or if it will be used to create more mainstream vehicles with a broader market appeal.
Source: Left Lane News