I've known Gildo Pastor for two decades and closely followed his career of breaking barriers, be they land speed records or public perceptions. His passion for cleaner, more sustainable mobility is ever present, whether building sexy electric sports cars long before Elon Musk, powering EV adventures from shanghai to Paris, tenaciously assaulting land-speed records, or exploring the Antarctica. I asked him, via email, to reflect on his twenty years of helping pioneer an EV world. Here are his thoughts. -- Bill Moore
What Venturi electric vehicle project over the last two decades excited you the most?
I would say that the VBB-3 project, also known as Mission 01: Jamais Contente is one of the most exciting project conducted by Venturi so far. This programme aimed at setting new speed records for electric vehicles is named after the first ever automobile to break the symbolic 100 km/h mark in 1899, the Jamais Contente (which was in fact an electric car). At Venturi, we designed the Venturi Buckeye Bullet (VBB), our own version of that car, with the precious collaboration of students from the University of Ohio who helped to develop the vehicle. The VBB successively beat its own world speed records on the famous salt lake of Bonneville in the USA until reaching the FIA-certified world record of 549 km/h that still stands today.
Which EV project are you the most proud?
I am proud of all the projects that we have carried out at Venturi so I just couldn t choose one. I am proud to have played a role in developing electromobility by demonstrating the capabilities of electric vehicles and inspiring the world's biggest manufacturers of electric vehicles. When I acquired Venturi in 2000, and despite electric mobility being in its infancy, I was convinced that it represented the future so I made a choice to focus on electric engines. In 2004, we launched F tish, the first electric sports car - a true success - and then 4 other concept cars which have all revolutionised the world of electric mobility.
What's been your biggest disappointment since becoming involved in the EV world?
When attempting new electric vehicle land speed records with the VBB-3 in 2013, 2014, and 2017, we faced poor weather conditions that forced us to push back our attempts. When unexpected situations such as flooding of the Bonneville salt Flats, it is really sad for the whole team because we all work so hard during the entire year to develop the vehicle. But I learnt to analyze the situation calmly, realistically, as there is nothing we can do.
What impact do you see Formula E racing have on modern electric vehicle development?
To me, it is clear that Formula E is going in the right direction: the championship boasts one of the best driver line-ups in motorsport, with more and more innovative technology on the track and an exciting calendar of host cities. I am proud that the Venturi team (ROKiT Venturi Racing) was the first team to commit to the Formula E World Championship back in 2014. With our drivers Felipe Massa and Edoardo Mortara we compete against the world's biggest constructors which is amazing. Thanks to our powerful partnership with Mercedes Benz (which supplies the car's powertrain, cooling system and rear frame among other things), we acquire a precious experience that benefits our R&D department as well as Mercedes competition department in charge of developing the next mass-market zero-emission cars.
What's next for Venturi?
This year, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary as a manufacturer of electric vehicles, 2 major events will be at the centre of our agenda: in July, the world electric motorcycle speed record attempt by Voxan (a group brand), and by the end of the year, the delivery of the Antarctica vehicle to the south Pole. Once again, we aim to prove the unrivalled efficiency of electromobility solutions. Shortly after the Voxan Wattman returns from the salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the world's largest salt flat, Antarctica will set off for the south Pole. There, the caterpillar-tracked vehicle will assist the scientific community with their day-to-day work.
First Published: 2020-03-13
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