UPDATE - 16.05.2019
Koenigsegg will launch an all-new hybrid supercar at the 2020 Geneva motor show as part of plans to ramp up annual production to 300 cars a year. Christian Von Koenigsegg revealed on Sweden’s Di TV Motor show that the electrified model would cost about ten million kronor, which is just over £800k – making it around a third less expensive than the brand’s existing cars.
The company founder - who first mentioned the electrified 5.0-litre V8 model’s existence back in January - said the idea has been on the drawing board for three years. It will be produced in Trollhattan by NEVS, the Chinese-backed company that has already invested £130 million into Koenigsegg. While technical details are scarce, the supercar is expected to use Koenigsegg’s cam-free engine technology and be able to run on pure alcohol, which Koenigsegg said would produce no CO2 emissions.
Currently, Koenigsegg builds around 30 cars a year, but it plans to grow to over 100 in the coming years and then multiply it tenfold following the launch of its new ‘entry’ model. The Swedish brand added the 1,600hp Jesko to its line-up at the 2019 Geneva show, which introduced its all-new twin-turbocharged V8 motor, but that car will remain extremely low volume and most of the sales growth will come from the 2020 hybrid. However, the latter might not necessarily be badged as a Koenigsegg but rather fall under NEVS’s portfolio.
Either way, it seems that Christian Von Koenigsegg has his sights set on far more than just six- and seven-figure hypercars. If the big man gets his way, the firm will be at the forefront of ensuring the combustion engine’s survival in the face of ever more stringent emissions limits. Not bad for a company that currently only has 200 directly employed staff members.
ORIGINAL STORY - 31.01.2019
Given the fame and appreciation for the Koenigsegg brand across the world, it might be surprising to learn that the company only makes about 20 cars a year. Boss Christian von Koenigsegg understandably thinks that this volume is far too low for a firm of this stature, so he's plotting the launch of an all-new model for 2020 that's tasked with increasing annual output tenfold.
In order to make this new-from-the-ground-up car more accessible, it'll be built to a lower budget than we're used to from the Swedish outfit. The price is expected to be a much more attainable €1 million, or £870k of the Queen's money. Form an orderly queue...
Most interesting is Christian's mention of what will power the new car. He told Top Gear that the powertrain would follow suit of the Regera and mix electric power with a combustion engine, but that the latter would incorporate Koenigsegg's innovative camless combustion engine technology, called freevalve.
"Our ambition is that this car will be completely CO2 neutral," he said. "Given the freevalve technology, we can actually cold-start the car on pure alcohol, down to -30 degrees Celsius, so there's no need for any fossil fuel mix then. The idea is to prove to the world that even a combustion engine can be completely CO2 neutral."
We've no reason to doubt the claims of a company that's broken top speed records, built the world's first megacar and even produced a new type of naked carbon, but backing the firm's ambitions will be its recently announced strategic partnership with Swedish EV maker NEVS. The deal will provide Koenigsegg with an enlarged pool of knowledge and more infrastructure; both will be key if this company of just 200 employees is to be ready for an expansion of this scale.
Aside from growing volumes, Christian believes his new car will also prove that the combustion engine is far from superseded by battery electric technology. He said: "If you imagine that Tesla today is producing around half of all the battery cells in the world, and that's just about enough for 300,000 cars. Then you hear Volkswagen is going full electric, BMW too, and that's millions of cars. It's quite easy to realise that there will be a cell shortage coming up very quickly."
A hybrid car that utilises his firm's freevalve tech would therefore, he says, avoid the supply risks of an EV while also creating a "very enticing, exciting, lightweight, sporty solution for a sports car." Sounds good to us.