Former Volkswagen CEO to lead Piech EV startupOctober 6, 2020
Piech Automotive plans to launch an all-electric two-seater sports car based on the Mark Zero concept with innovative battery technology and fast charging times.
Matthias Müller, the former CEO of the Volkswagen Group, has been named chairman of Piech Automotive, an electric vehicle startup run by the son of former VW Group chairman Ferdinand Pich.
Müller is one of many notable personalities at Piech Automotive, founded by Tony Piëch and Ri Stark Rajčić, a Swiss designer and entrepreneur. They include tech investor Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook.
Piech Automotive said in a statement that it has completed its first round of investment with Thiel, but details were not specified. He announced that a second round of fundraising for the production car launch will take place in the coming months under the leadership of UBS.
Müller was overthrown by the Pich-Porsche-controlled VW Group in April 2018 and should be replaced by Herbert Diess. Müller took over at VW after Dieselgate. Insiders saw him as a stubborn CEO who has a rocky relationship with the Lower Saxony government, VW’s second-largest shareholder.
Piech Automotive showcased the Mark Zero concept coupe at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. The company says its fast charging system can charge the battery up to 80 percent in less than five minutes, using an energy recovery system and an air-cooled battery pack co-developed with the Hong Kong company.
The Mark Zero was slated to be the first model in the family to hit the market by 2023 and will include a two-seater, four-seater and an SUV. The company said this week that construction of prototypes will begin soon and that an engineering camp is under construction in Memmingen, Germany.
In addition to Müller, Piech Automotive announced that Klaus Schmidt, the company’s CTO and BMW veteran, will become co-CEO alongside Andreas Henke, its marketing director. Most recently, Henke has worked for audio manufacturer Burmester as well as at Porsche.
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