Hello Monaco magazine Winter 2018 - issue HM02 - Page 112

MADE IN MONACO We were the first to offer a sports car with an electric drive. Exclusive interview with Gildo Pallanca Pastor, the power behind Venturi HelloMonaco: From 1984 onwards, Venturi was under threat of bankruptcy, or in bankruptcy as it had no clear position in the market place. They had at least 4 official bankruptcies. In 2001, you bought the company, and gave it a complete rebranding. The company’s new strategy and the modern image of Venturi was crafted. Were you not afraid to take a risk of this magnitude? Gildo Pallanca Pastor: I did not see any interesting strategic directions in the Venturi business, especially in the condition that it was in before the acquisition. Venturi was offered to me at the age of 18 or 19 years old. I always had friends working there. Whenever there were difficulties, I was contacted and the repeated answer I gave was «no thanks». The decision in favour of the buyout was, eventually, motivated by my desire to do something important in the electric domain. It is obvious that I felt a little bit apprehensive with the idea of plunging into the adventure, as at that time my «playground» was related to real estate and construction. But, I must say, we managed to make the business work efficiently. HM: How do you define the principal innovation in the Venturi electric vehicle? GPP: There have been many innovations. The principle one was the engine of the Fétish model. It’s important to say that at the beginning of the 2000s, the electric cars were made with engines that certainly demonstrated good performance, but were enormous. In contrast, the Fétish engine was super compact. The carbon chassis perfectly matched its shape as well as the batteries. It took 3 years of work to be able to present Fétish at the 2004 Mondial de Paris. We were the first to offer a sports car with an electric drive. It is our experience across the entire Venturi range that has allowed us to create the VBB-3, the world's fastest electric land vehicle. HM: How do you see future generations of Venturi? What are the main changes? Do you plan to implement an autopilot, for example? GPP: We are working on two innovations for 2018 and 2019. But for now, I would like to keep these a secret. HM: Do you have an ambition to create an electric concept-car for mass production? GPP: No. Mass production is for big players. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to make my own contribution for 17 years already to the development of the electric vehicle market. 110 / Hello Monaco – Winter 2018 HM: Your ambitious goal is to reach a speed of 644 km/h, the speed of an aircraft. If you look into the future, does it include «flying cars»? GPP: I would like to keep the concept of flying cars for science fiction. We distinguish car manufacturers and aircraft builders. These are 2 different businesses. Certainly, there are companies that have created these hybrid vehicles but they are not «flying cars» in the sense that we imagine. HM: What is the main barrier between consumers and electric vehicle producers today? Why do we still not see everybody «going green»? GPP: Frankly speaking, the builders have gone «green» already, but it will surely take some time to see it and for the public to go massively in this direction. There is not really a barrier, only progressive adoption. HM: Having the fastest electric-powered car in the world, you must have the bravest and the most professional test-drivers as well? GPP: Roger Schroer is great. It is going really well with him in the cockpit, despite the difficulties he faces, for instance, with bad climatic conditions. The behaviour of VBB-3 can vary greatly depending on the weather. Roger tells us about his feelings behind the wheel and we do our best to leverage that information. It is our unyielding goal to achieve the highest level of performance possible.