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Posted: December 17, 2008
Nanotechnology battery for revolutionary Russian sports car
(Nanowerk News) It has a look of a smooth Lamborghini, the color of a Cayenne Sport, a girl's name, and 240 horsepower. The Russian sports car Marussia has been unveiled to the public – to both admiration and skepticism.
Russia’s automobile manufacturers have found a niche that might help to overcome their foreign competitors: huge investments into the metal body once made by major companies, which now prevent them from utilising newer predominantly non-metal bodies. The Marussia project will now attempt to capitalise on this, by omitting the usage of wing spars, making exchangeable bodies, and developing an electric engine, but experts are skeptical.
The man behind Marussia is former FIA N-GT racing champion, popular Russian singer, TV-anchor and theatrical actor (his new play is just out in Moscow’s Pushkin Theater) Nikolay Fomenko.
During his travels around the world while participating in the FIA Gran Turismo races Fomenko developed a set of peculiar ideas on sports car making. After finishing his driving-career in 2006 – with the help of his partner Efim Ostrovsky, a renowned political crisis-manager – Fomenko started to work on the Marussia.
Although most of the car’s parts – including the engine, which will be courtesy of either Nissan or Renault – are made abroad, some 35% of them are genuinely Russian, along with all the designs:
3.5-litre 6-cilinder central engine;
240 to 300 hp;
100 km/h in 5 secs;
80 litre fuel tank;
Pirelli PZero Rosso tires;
two independent trip computers: trip-controlling and entertainment-controlling;
plasma screen on the windshield;
two additional plasma screens;
320 GB hard drive;
4G Yota network supporting 10 Mbps internet connection on a speed up to 120 km/h;
a crash camera that keeps a record of all emergency situations;
two additional cameras.
Russia’s leading automobile guru Aleksandr Pikulenko played down Marussia’s perspectives, pointing out the most expensive part of the work – that of installing and tweaking the engine – is yet to be done, which might be tough in the times of global economic crisis.
Fomenko on the contrary hopes the crisis will in fact act in favour of Marussia, which will cost cheaper than other cars of its class.
“There can be no crisis in the real sector,” Fomenko claimed with conviction. “We hope the ecological transition will come soon enough. If our innovative work goes as planned we will have electrical cars that can travel 400 kilometres without recharge by mid-2009”.
“The project might get an extra dimension when the electric engine version is introduced, but it will inevitably lead to a dramatic increase of price, like it did with the $100,000-Tesla Roadster,” Pikulenko agreed.
“The problem in Russia is not even the electric engine, but the battery,” Ostrovsky stressed. “Our cold climate negatively affects their capacity. We dug in that direction and have found a very interesting nanotechnology project made at one of Russia’s big construction bureaus. It might help solve the battery problem”.
First consumer versions of Marussia will be shipped in Autumn 2009, while its sports version will take part in the 2010 edition of FIA Gran Turismo season.