(Forbes) – Flagship investor Peter Thiel has closed off the Series A funding for Piëch Automotive, just as the Swiss startup rams its board seats full of Porsche, BMW and Tesla TSLA +1.7% executives.
Former Porsche and Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller has signed on Chairman for the as Piëch Automotive’s electric vehicle (EV) company, founded by the son of the late industry heavyweight, Dr Ferdinand Piëch. Dr Piëch was also Müller’s boss during his long tenure as Volkswagen Group emperor.
Toni Piëch founded Piëch Automotive in 2017 with Rea Stark and they showed their Mark Zero (Mk0) EV concept at last year’s Geneva auto show.
The 450kW Mk0 boasted a range of 500km (WLTP) and a claimed five-minute recharge time, but it was also modular enough to support plug-in hybrid, internal-combustion and hydrogen fuel-cell (FCEV) powertrains as well.
There are three models planned from 2022, including a sports car, a sedan and an SUV, all of which are pure electric vehicles.
Boasting what it calls breakthrough battery technology, Piëch Automotive claims its cars can deliver 400km of range (or 80 percent of a battery recharge) in just four minutes and 40 seconds.
The core of the vehicle is claimed to be more than the battery, though, with an innovative modular concept, which can be used with a variety of body styles, powertrains and accommodating hardware and software upgrades.
The company’s highly innovative modular vehicle concept is unique in its flexibility, allowing numerous body variants, drive types and continuously possible upgrades in hardware and software.
“I was immediately enthusiastic about the mission of the two founders, because it is more compelling and more visionary than all the new approaches I have encountered during my work in the automotive industry,” Matthias Müller said in a statement.
“I am proud to be involved in the business – it has the potential to herald a new chapter for modern mobility and shape the future of the automobile. It is an endeavor that will receive my wholehearted support.”
The startup plans to have its first cars in production in 2022, Piëch Automotive has also retained ex-BMW Motorsport Chief Engineer Klaus Schmidt as Chief Technology Officer and joint CEO.
It has also taken on co-CEO and Chief Marketing Officer Andreas Henke, whose CV contains credits from both Porsche and audio company Burmester.
It has also taken on former Elon Musk direct report Jochen Rudat as its Head of Sales.
“The dual CEO leadership with Klaus Schmidt and Andreas Henke strengthens our objective of not only bringing technologically innovative vehicles to the road, but also completely redefining the brand and the relationship, which we will develop with our customers,” co-founder Rea Stark said.
With Thiel on board and Swiss bank UBS signed on as the sole advisor for the Series B financing round, the company has already broken ground on its own engineering campus near the southern Bavarian city of Memmingen, near Munich.
The sports car’s design has been finalized, Toni Piëch confirmed, and Piëch Automotive is on the verge of commissioning the construction of its first prototypes.
Anton (Toni) Piëch is a member of the Porsche dynasty and his father, Ferdinand, rescued the Volkswagen brand and saw the Volkswagen group blossom until he was forced from the company.
He died in August 2019 after a legendary career that included engineering the legendary Porsche 917 race car, reviving Audi, saving Volkswagen, turning it into the dominant European automotive force and delivering Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley to the Group.
Toni Piëch is also the grandson of Porsche founder, Ferdinand Porsche.