High Performance vehicles are one of the ideal street machines of some car enthusiasts. One of the well known high-performance vehicle today is “Zoop”. It is a 150 kW three seat electric car that weighs just 690 kilograms and has a range of 450 kilometres and has been awarded at the recent international sustainable mobility event, the Michelin Bibendum Challenge for its extreme performance. Surprisingly, this high performance driving machine is not the creation of any automotive manufacturer, or even an automotive design house. It is actually the third fully-operative EV prototype manufactured by globally renowned Paris-based fashion design house Maison de Courrèges and has had very little publicity outside of the car’s native France. Which is all very surprising, because in the heady world of fashion, the husband and wife team of André and Coqueline Courrèges are superstars. Both André Courrèges and Coqueline Barrière were (separately) apprenticed and mentored by one of the original fashion designer icons, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Further reading on the remarkable legacy of Balanciaga can be found at Wikipedia, the Fashion Industry Search Engine, InfoMat, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and there’s currently an exhibition on Balenciaga at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

One of famous designers of the sixties, André Courrèges has opened the Maison de Courrèges in 1961. He’s actually the well known inventor of the the miniskirt but also responsible for the trouser suit, the Moongirl look and gogo boots. Although one of the most important and famous designers of the sixties, the Courreges name has maintained its position at the head of the fashion world for nearly fifty years. Today, Madam Coqueline Courrèges is considered as the championing the cause of the electric car. The house that they built which is the Maison de Courrèges is one of the driving forces if the sixties. In fact, way back 1969 they were already using electric automobiles in his fashion shows. The more modern EV direction of the company was first seen publicly when it rolled out La Bulle (the Bubble), a vehicle that looked for all the world like a flying saucer, at the 2002 Michelin Bibendum Challenge in Heidelberg, Germany. The vehicle was capable of 110 km/h and had a range of 170 kilometres – quite a feat back in 2002. La Bulle competed again in the Bibendum Challenge in Sonoma, California in 2003, and has appeared in each subsequent Bibendum.

In 2003 during a California event, Madam Courrèges drove La Bulle witnessed the performance of the AC Propulsion TZero and soon began negotiations to purchase an entire drive system to power the next Courrèges prototype vehicle. So in 2004, Courrèges has run two cars at the Shanghai Bibendum Challenge. In 2005 Madame Courrèges continued her pursuit of understanding of the electric vehicle, competing in the Kyoto event with two vehicles. The EXE’s was once again using custom-made red tires produced specially by Michelin, but reports suggest that in the unlikely event of a flat tyre, the Courrèges team had a complete set of both blue and green tyres in the van, as the coloured tyres had been made in sets of four and colour co-ordination was considered of utmost importance.
Just prior to the eighth running of the Bibendum Challenge in Courrèges home country, Madame Courrèges unveiled her latest creation, the Zooop, with a bright yellow-orange canopy and matching tires.

The new automobile is a further development of the EXE’s drive train in an entirely new chassis, with the Lithium Polymer batteries that are lighter, have greater power density don’t overheat, charge quicker and offer many more recharges. The new 70 A/hour 370 V Lithium Polymer batteries offer a range of 450 kilometres.

The Zoop is now capable of 180 km/h and deliver performance in order to match most supercars. No statements have been made by Courrèges regarding the possible future directions of the company’s EV efforts. You can check out about this info by visiting the foursprung.com.

~ by khia0486 on May 22, 2008.

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