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Christian von Koenigsegg talks about the One:1, Regera and the future of hypercarsThe Koenigsegg One:1 might be the high water mark for what an internal combustion engine alone can do for a road legal car. XCAR caught up with Christian von Koenigsegg to talk about what's next for the marque.
[MUSIC] At an event recently to promote Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST, an oil developed specifically to work with the highest performing cars on the planet, we were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with a Koenigsegg One:1. And to have a chat with it's creator, Christian von Koenigsegg himself. We started by asking exactly how the one to one had achieved its obscene power to rate ratio of a thousand horsepower per ton. They're basically working on almost all aspects to save over a hundred kilos of weight. But to really go through all the different aspects of the car even the lay-up of the carbon fiber [INAUDIBLE], new type of carbon fiber materials which came out Even more titanium fasteners, thinning the glass, putting less thin glass in the roof area. It just goes on and on. Titanium exhaust ports. Making the internals of the engine lighter and stronger. And of course apart from making it lighter, we have increased the aerodynamic capability drastically and Made in interactive aerodynamics, so it's just all in all a very different experience and performance leve. With so many manufacturers turning to some kind of hybrid technology to get more performance, we asked if the one to one was the limit of what could be achieved from an internal combustion only engine. It's getting close to that. But there's always new technology, new evolutions, new simulations you can try out and increase portions, step by step. It's possible. But it's very high level, for sure. Now a 1,000 horsepower per ton is a staggering figure, and it's twice as much as you'd expect from a Veyron, or a high end Aria Atom. We ask Christian how those insane figures effect the experience of driving the 121. Well, it makes the car much more nimble than it would otherwise be. And it It's easy to just focus on the power numbers, and when we developed the car, we spend more time on optimizing air dynamics, handling, steering input, excitement, enjoyment, than getting maximum power out. It's about creating a balanced package that's exciting to drive. And I think what people will be mostly surprised when they drive one is how easily accessible the performance is, and how not really overpowered the car feels. It feels like, wow, there's a tremendous amount of power But the [UNKNOWN] is even stronger and stiffer. And the brakes are even more stable than the power, compared to the power level. Yeah, pretty much. With the [UNKNOWN] which was unveiled earlier this year, [UNKNOWN] has firmly moved into the hybrid market. We asked if the one to one was the end of the line for [UNKNOWN] internal combustion only cars Well, we have the Acura RF now in production. And that is also relying on the early combustion engine. But for sure as batteries become lighter, and electric motors and inverters become also more efficiently smaller, there is a greater opportunity to utilize those technologies to enhance the experience Of a sports car. So, it's going more and more towards the direction I would take. The Regera's drive train is something we've never seen before. And we asked Christian exactly how it differs from other hybrid hypercars. It's unique in the sense that it has no gearbox or transmission and still we can drive the engine. Directly from, or the wheels directly from the engine. That is completely unique and never been done before in the history of cars. And what that means is, we can save a lot of weight, and we also reduce the transmission losses when you're, for example, traveling on a highway. However to make it work we really needed the next generation of battery technology and an absolute, most extreme electrical motors so we didn't bog down the car with too much weight or take up too much space. But it's a very exciting system because it's, you have that direct response of electric drive And you have that energy density of our very compact combustion engines. So it's a very unique prospect that gives very high excitement when driving, because the power is so easily accessible. And a new comfort level, as there is absolutely super smooth in driving. Drivetrain. With all of the familiar names in super car manufacturing lining up to develop new hybrid technologies. We asked Christian if he felt it was a flash in the pan, or whether this trend was here to stay. I'm sure it will continue, because batteries will become smaller, and lighter, and therefore more viable. electric motors are already quite good, but they will also become smaller, lighter, more efficient, and also the also the inverters that are in between. And done in a clever way in which you can remove other things. So in the case of removing the gear box, the gear box is only changing the ratio of the engine. That's all it does. Well, if we add batteries to electric motors instead so we can have that torque feel that we need when we don't have the gear box, but we will add power and torque, and controlability and response. So when you can replace something with something better, with no rate penalty, I for sure see a future in it. And those technologies will just keep on getting better and the integration We just to keep on getting better as well. So I don't see an end to that right now. Well, for sure, when you can spread out the power train in a more even way, or wherever you want to put it for a finer dynamic or ergonomic reason, it will change the way a car can look like. But I wouldn't see that as something negative. It just gives more freedom to the engineers and designers to create even more exciting machines. In only 21 years, Koenigsegg has come from nowhere to be one of the highest regarded hypercar manufacturers, being counted alongside Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren. How have they pulled that off? Well, we had to work hard, be a bit innovative and Don't believe in the hype that it's impossible. [LAUGH] You know, every day we strive and push and learn and adapt and when you do that for 20 years with a great focus within the group. You can do pretty much anything. I think that's the, Simple ounces, but for sure, it's not easy. You have to be prepared to work hard for it. Koenigsegg are fully independent and manufacture their cars entirely in house. We asked if this independence is a benefit to them. I do. I do. For example, with the Riguera, I don't see any of the other established super hyper car brand daring to remove shifting of gears. It's such a fundamental thing to take away from a sports car, that I think it's only Karnassay that could make that decision. And I'm very confident about the decision, I'm very confident when people experience. That direct power, that instant control you get and directness that they will quickly understand why that's a very good alternative to shifting, even though shifting is fun, nice, and part of driving a sports car. So, for example, yeah, we have more freedoms like that, or take more freedoms like that I think it's one of our strengths. There are strengths of being a big car corporation with all the resources you have at hand, then there are also strengths for a small founder driven sports car company that we have to utilize to compensate for the lack of size. With so many achievements in such a short amount of time, what have been the highlights? Well, there are a few. But I remember when we managed to beat the unbeatable speed record of the [UNKNOWN], that was something astonishing at the time for us and for many other people. But also, I think the one to one problem has really exceeded our expectations of what the car felt like, and what it's capable of. I mean, we didn't really dream of two Gs cornering without- I mean, we're not talking peaks. You can actually reach two Gs constant in a corner. On road tires, that is just beyond almost belief. So the 120 is really something special as well. And the [UNKNOWN] I'm really, really excited about. At the same time, when we did the first production car, the CC8S, I mean there was a constant high of getting to that point after eight years, as well. So there's so many. So many occasions which have been fantastic throughout the years, really. finally, we asked Christian what the plans are for the future. Well, we have a lot of interesting work and technologies in the pipeline. And I'm very excited by that. And it's moving forwards and upwards, growing the company a little bit. We're right now in the [UNKNOWN] position having a good order book. But it means also that customers have to wait a long time. So we try to speed up the production by growing the company. Make it a little bit bigger, and maybe have one or two more models in the lineup, at the same time, so. The 121 might go down in history as the high water mark in performance, for what an internal combustion engine can deliver, in a road legal car. But that will not be the last record Christian will claim. Not by a long shot. [MUSIC]