Looking for a hybrid vehicle to help cut down on your carbon footprint? Can I suggest the new 1,700-horsepower Koenigsegg Gemera?
The mad Swedish supercar scientists at Koenigsegg are known for making ludicrous, limited-run, high-performance vehicles like the absurd 1,500-horsepower Regera, which was also a hybrid, or last year’s 300 mile per hour missile, the Jesko. But their latest creation, the Gemera, takes the absurdity to another level. And while, yes, it’s not going to make the same kind of dent in transportation emissions as, say, a Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, or a Chevy Volt, or any all-electric vehicle, it’s a fascinating piece of modern automotive technology.
The Gemera’s hybrid powertrain is made up of three electric motors and a three-cylinder combustion engine that Koenigsegg says runs on renewable alcohol fuel. (The company calls the three-cylinder engine the “Tiny Friendly Giant Engine.”) All four of these power units are clustered around the Gemera’s rear axle. But the supercar is still an all-wheel drive machine — Koenigsegg’s first — which the company accomplishes by using a direct drive system that runs from the rear of the car to the front axle.
The powertrain is an evolution of what Koenigsegg employed on the Regera, but it’s really something to behold. There is a 500-horsepower electric motor for each rear wheel, with the 600-horsepower combustion engine sitting in between. The third, 400-horsepower electric motor sits in front of this package and is attached to the crankshaft that drives the front wheels. And just behind those front wheels (and located under the direct drive system) is the 800-volt, 15kWh battery pack from which the electric motors draw their power.
Got all that? It’s a little more digestible in photographic form, where it’s also easier to appreciate the sheer economy of the design. For all that’s going on here, the packaging is surprisingly efficient:
The benefits of this wild hybrid powertrain are multifold. For one thing, Koenigsegg says the single gear direct drive setup allows the car to achieve its incredible performance with higher efficiency and less weight than “any other hybrid solution.” The result is a car that can go up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) before needing to recharge or refuel, and also go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62mph) in a brain-liquefying 1.9 seconds.
And by using dedicated motors for the rear wheels and an open differential (with hydraulic clutches) for the front wheels, the Gemera is capable of torque vectoring, which is the ability to deliver dynamic amounts of power to individual wheels. This helps in low-grip and high-performance situations, or let’s be real, those moments when you’re mixing both. And when you have 1,700 horsepower to play with (which is the ultimate combined output, though the individual ratings for each motor and engine add up to more) you want to be sure the car can respond accordingly to as many of your commands as possible.
Hybrid powertrains are usually bulky and ungainly, especially since so many of them have been designed to fit into cars that were originally designed to only house combustion engines. Since companies like Koenigsegg are continually designing their limited-run cars from the ground up, it’s always interesting to see where they’re able to take the technology, and also to imagine how other automakers might be able to learn something from the project.
As for the rest of the car, it’s just as weird as the hybrid drivetrain that powers the Gemera. It’s Koenigsegg’s first four-seater, which inspires the hilarious vision of packing a family into this outlandish 1,700-horsepower machine for a trip to the grocery store, or even an amped-up modern day National Lampoon’s Vacation-style road trip. The seats have memory foam and can be clad in leather or Alcantara fabric. There are two wireless smartphone charging pads. The large, protruding 13-inch touchscreen is compatible with Apple CarPlay, as is the one for rear-seat passengers. There’s a 360-degree camera on the dashboard that floats for some reason. And since the Gemera uses cameras instead of side-view mirrors, there are screens poking out from each A-pillar that offer the driver a view of the person they just left in the dust.
Koenigsegg calls it “the world’s first Mega-GT” (for Grand Tourer), and... sure. Like the company’s other cars, the Gemera is so ridiculous that it has license to pretty much call it whatever it wants. Most of us will never get a chance to drive one of the 300 that will be made, let alone consider buying something so rare. But it’s always fun to see what a group of people can do when they’re removed from the constraints that traditional automakers face.