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Swiss-UK venture aims to build electric cars in Switzerland

It has been many years since a motor car was last manufactured in Switzerland. BAK Motors

A Swiss-led consortium plans to produce a new electric-powered sports car and SUVs for the market. Part of the initial five-year plan is to build a production facility in Switzerland, manufacturing bodyshells.

This content was published on December 18, 2020 - 09:26
swissinfo.ch

Located in the central Swiss town of Zug, BAK MotorsExternal link is collaborating with an unnamed British Formula 1 manufacturer to design and build the lightweight Kincsem “zero-emissions” sports car. The model will be manufactured in Britain and aims to be in production in 2023.

Founded by Hungarian national Tibor Bak, the company says the Kincsem will perform and handle like a traditional fuel-powered sports car. It is patenting a technology to achieve this aim but is remaining tight-lipped on the car’s exact specifications and technology partners.

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The next stage of the company’s plan is to produce two SUV models under the “Helvetia” brand name, the second of which would be partly made in Switzerland. “We are considering what was previously considered impossible. We are planning to establish a car production facility in Switzerland for future models”, Tibor Bak told swissinfo.ch.

Bak dismissed the notion that manufacturing in high-cost Switzerland would be too expensive. He insists that modern technology can be employed to run a low-cost “smart factory”, producing carbon-metal hybrid chassis for the cars.

“Switzerland is an expensive place for mass production using 20th century technologies. But if you combine the latest cutting-edge production technologies, where a few hundred employees can generate a multi-billion franc output, labour costs are not an issue.”

He cited Switzerland’s central European location, reputation for innovation, sophisticated financial sector and high quality of living as reasons to start the business up in the Alpine state. A site for the proposed factory, which would not be established before 2025, is still being evaluated.

The company already has financial backers to help fund the prototype stage, which has a budget of under CHF50 million ($56 million). Next year BAK Motors plans to create digital shares on a blockchain trading platform run by Sygnum bank and list on the new digital assets exchange (SDX) that will be launched by Swiss stock exchange operators SIX Group.

Deep pockets

Last year the Swiss car company Piëch Automobile launched its sporty two-seater electric prototype Piëch Mark Zero at the Geneva Motor Show. The company is collaborating with European manufacturers, such as Michelin and Bosch, and aims to have its Piëch GT2 model on the roads by early 2023.

It plans to produce a maximum of 2,000 vehicles a year on a budget of just under €500 million (CHF540 million), new CEO Andreas Henke told swissinfo.ch. “You need to have deep pockets to operate a production facility,” said Henke, who has previously worked for Porsche. “They must be kept fully loaded, constantly operating at full capacity.”

While Switzerland has many companies that produce parts for the automotive industry, it has always struggled to maintain the large-scale manufacturing of cars.

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