My Car Quest

September 28, 2020

Sasha Selipanov and the Koenigsegg Gemera

by Wallace Wyss –

Every once in a while you meet an outsize personality, one that can’t be contained in an ordinary person. Everything he does hints that he’s got a rocket on his back and he’s headed for the stars.

Such is Sasha Selipanov. He’s a graduate in car design from Art Center College of Design, which is where I met him during a show and later during a preview at Genesis. I now have heard he’s over at exotic car maker Koenigsegg and they just announced the first car he designed for them, one that combines e-motors with a camless three-cylinder engine and four seats.

It is amazing that such a tiny firm has three car models to offer at once, the new Gemera, designed by Sasha, then the hybrid Regera and the internal combustion engine only Esko ‘megacars’.

Koenigsegg Gemera

I also remember while working for the first automaker he worked for, Sasha was bored so at night he’d draw wild Ferraris and post those drawings to the internet. So there’s all these Ferrari guys that are fans of the Ferrari Selipanov yet there ain’t no such animal. The drawings didn’t get him a job with Ferrari but with Lamborghini. But he’s moved on, now working for his third automaker.

The new design is derivative, not an all new shape but has its charms.

SIDE: I like the stance and the huger scooped out portions in the body side feeding into a giant scoop on each side. It’s ironic that the scoops seem larger than its diminutive flat three cylinder engine. This car has such a small engine, you wonder why it would need the venting, unlike a Ferrari V8 or Lamborghini V12.

Koenigsegg Gemera

It’s got a strong side profile. The front fender lifted out from the rest of the body is another thing you wonder if it needs how much heat ventilation does the engine need? It vaguely reminds me of a Countach in side view, but still makes its own statement.

Koenigsegg Gemera

FRONT: It’s very Ferrari-ish especially the portion below the “beltline” so to speak. Even the headlights with a row of little bright “notches” is used in other exotics.

Koenigsegg Gemera

REAR: The huge “exhaust vents” big enough for a jet fighter, look strong and muy macho. Not sure if I like the kick-up-to-spoiler treatment on the tear deck but not extending to the rear fenders, didn’t Aston do that?

Koenigsegg Gemera

FOUR SEATS

The really amazing thing is that this swoopy space age rocket-from-mars car seats four. It has lift up dihedral doors but they are larger than you usually see in supercars because it has to expose two seating areas. There’s no B pillar so they are counting on the roof for all the strength. Amazingly they are claiming luggage space, for as much as three carry ons, not using the American measure of how many golf club bags.

Koenigsegg Gemera

Koenigsegg refers to the Gemera as a ‘Mega-GT’ as, like the Regera and Jesko, it produces well over a megawatt’s worth of horsepower from its (hybrid) powertrain..

It is a forward cab design. The goal was to have a forward leaping stance with short overhangs. Like any supercar the wheels are the dominant factor in the side view.

Koenigsegg Gemera

Koenigsegg Gemera

What made it possible to have four seats is that they had the slick supercar roof but it’s much longer, going all the way to the tail with its integrated spoiler at the tail. The headlights have a surround that takes in air and around the taillights it exits hot air out. There must not be laws where an exhaust can be because the rear window is narrowed by a pair of top-exit titanium exhausts, which in turn free-up the underbody for some mega-aggressive aero treatment…

Selipanov worked long and hard on the car’s stance, drama and athleticism, and managed to disguise the fact that it’s a four-seater. He’s been quoted as saying “That aspect should be experienced as a complete surprise.”

If you’re thinking gauges galore, forget that–it’s got a large tablet screen in front of the dash.

Koenigsegg Gemera

Note no rear view mirrors, replaced by small screens on the A pillars, taking a feed from the cameras outside. As per their other cars, a strip of glass loosely resembling a NACA duct lets more light in from above.

The rear seats – which even have latching points for baby seats (that baby’s making an entrance, lemme tell ya!)– are designed for regular use, and have such niceities as a reading light, two cup holders (one hot and one cold) and various storage compartments. Rear occupants also get their own entertainment screen, climate control and stereo adjusters for the 11-speaker audio system. Everyone also gets free Wi-Fi and inductive phone charging.

The hybrid Gemera has an 800V, 15kWh battery mounted in a carbon fiber casing under the front seats (to counterbalance the weight of the engine that’s behind the cabin), which feeds the juice to three electric motors – one for each rear wheel, plus a single one at the front connected to a differential. Together these three e-motors in harness crank out 1400 horsepower and 2500NM of torque, with torque vectoring at both axles.

The Engine

The engine is one of the biggest departures for the brand, a two-liter three-cylinder engine instead of their usual V8. Their nickname for this engine is “the Tiny Friendly Giant”. As well as twin turbos, this engine uses ‘FreeValve’ – a technology developed in-house and now supplied to other OEMs through an eponymous sister company – to replace cams and camshafts with a system of computer-controlled pneumatic valve actuators that allegedly give infinite adjustment of ignition timing and power delivery characteristics. It also maximizes the efficiency. They rate the mighty mite at 600 horsepower, which is sent through the company’s ‘HydraCoup’ single-speed direct-drive system to the front(!) wheels only.

Oh, and it can also run on biofuel or even alcohol. Well, why not? The gas engine and electric motors are tuned to reach their maximum power at the same speed, meaning a total peak system output of 1700 horsepower.

Despite the incredible performance, Koenigsegg is claiming a 1000km range, thanks to the engine’s ability to recharge the small battery (which can discharge at 900kW and recharge at 200kW). What’s more, with its carbon-aramid chassis and carbon body, it has a target weight of 1880kg – making it a full 370kg lighter than a Tesla Model S P100D if they achieve it for the final production version.

The car will be exclusive, a limited edition with 300 scheduled to be built, starting in 2022. The car could set the exotic car industry on its ear by delivering so much with such a small engine. You wonder if the phrases V8 and V12 will disappear from exotic car descriptions by the mid 2020’s.

In sum, I am glad to see Sasha’s soaring up there with the design superstars at so young an age….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR: As co-host of Autotalk, broadcast each week from KUCR FM Riverside. Wyss is a familiar figure at So Cal car events.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Koenigsegg Logo

All photos compliments of Koenigsegg.

Summary
Sasha Selipanov and the Koenigsegg Gemera
Article Name
Sasha Selipanov and the Koenigsegg Gemera
Description
Selipanov worked long and hard on the car's stance, drama and athleticism, and managed to disguise the fact that it’s a four-seater.
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Comments

  1. SKIP HINOJOS says

    I ALWAYS THOUGHT FOUR PLACE CARS WERE A LOT MORE PRACTIACAL

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