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Influx interview- dr. peter maskus-inventor of acabion- the world’s fastest road vehicle

May 29, 2007

Autocar, the British car magazine, described the Acabion  (the Swiss super motorbike), in the following terms – “Faster than a Veyron and crazier than a fondue.”

If you are fortunate enough to have just sold your Web company, or work in hedge funds, have a thrill for speed and $2 million lying around, the Acabion could be just the ticket.

It’s the fastest road worthy vehicle ever made; capable of 342 mph and economical-70 mpg at 60 mph.

Influx tracked down Dr. Peter Maskus, the creator of the Acabion and fired some questions at him.

1. Can you briefly tell us the history of the Acabion?

From the very youth, I was strongly influenced by scientific background of my parents – by chemistry thanks to my mother and by math and physics thanks to my father. After spending two decades in car industry, Porsche and Mercedes included, I am – more than ever – truly convinced that building any kind of vehicle is much more matter of “sound and solid” physics and well understood bionics than of anything else. Additionally, I was already born with a dream to build a car by myself one day, I suppose. 😉 I told to my astonished parents “that I will have a car brand on my own once” – when I was 5 years old. It took a while. I started with drawings in 1985, while I still studied, and continued designing while I wrote my doctor thesis in mechanical engineering. 1990 I started working at Porsche Stuttgart and for some years I enjoyed sports cars and super sports cars a lot. Then I began riding motorbikes and flying airplanes and got thrilled by the superior dynamics of these both types of mobility. Additionally, I learned to know Japanese lean production methods of Toyota production system and began building personal contacts to scientists of bionics and evolutionary strategy, such as Nobel Prize winner Prof. Manfred Eigen. Out of these influences I commenced writing books about bionics and radical innovations. All these things melted into one single, tempting “dreamable dream”: A new category of bionic, congenial vehicles of such a superb design and such outstanding dynamics and efficiency, that they will have the potential to open a new chapter of mobility.

2. What’s the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration is Lenka Mikova, an outstanding engineer and my business partner since 2001. She is a miracle if it comes to building up a long-term strategy and a team of the right people around our vision.  Our shared inspiration is to break boundaries and to create an “absolutely best option” for the next generation of individual, global mobility: Road streamliners.  If carriages were the generation 1 and cars are the generation 2, then the road streamliners should be the generation 3 – due to their characteristics and performance as well as to their beauty and fascination, literally nothing will stop them in the long run. 😉

3. Where is it built and manufactured?

It is a global project taking the best out of many places.  Aeronautic technologies comes from several international airplane manufacturers, motorbike parts from Japan, dragster engine and several other key parts from the USA, racing engineers expertise from England, dragster boost control from Australia, tires from France, frame, hydraulic system, electric drive, instrumentation and tailor made carbon / leather interior from Switzerland, design influences from Italy. Our home base for research, administration plus all assembly is the D4 Business Center Lucerne, it’s a tremendously progressive and attractive place for challenging innovations.

Below- a video of Acabion in low speed action in Lucerne.

4. Why are so few going to be made?

There are two answers:

Answer 1) The Acabion is very, very rare for several reasons. A: We see the Acabion as true and fine Arts. It really is. It is sculptural arts and most the time we work with it, we see it as a sculpture. And that excludes any kind of a mass production.  B: For the innovations and progress sake, we love to assure that everything is carefully created, options and innovations included. Not just to expose the money spent in the first place. Just as one of many examples:  The sound system of the Acabion consists of 26 high-end custom handmade lightweight neodym speakers in totally innovative bionic “Acabion TM Sound Systems” cases. The sound quality outranges anything that was ever heard in any vehicle. E.g. it beats the Bugatti Veyron’s Burmester system as clearly as the Acabion itself outranges the Veyron’s acceleration, speed and certainly its efficiency. Little hint: The Acabion is symmetric, inside and out, and you bet we will make the best accoustic use out of that. Just the GTBO sound system has a value of 190 000 Euro. Talking about really exorbitant sound quality, placing a high-end sound system in an asymmetric car (like all of them are now) is a nonsolvable task. Top acoustic engineers will agree.

Answer 2) We want to generate a second brand inspired by the Acabion GTBO vehicles – with pure electric drive, produced in much higher number and for much lower price. Those vehicles will still represent a high value brand, but not the top exquisite trendsetting art of the Acabion GTBO. The electric versions will be so efficient that they can solely operate on solar or geothermic energy, stored in the Acabion high tech rechargeable batteries. This is the only way to ensure mobility for generations to come. (There is time and space for 200 Million future human generations on this fine planet. Sadly, too many people do not even think about two of them). We have to change that. Therefore earnings from the GTBO’s will be invested into the second brand, for a long-term  “clean and fast” mobility’s sake.
5. Where do you do your testing? – performance, roadworthiness, etc?

Testing is done on huge Airports like the one north of Berlin that was used before by Russian military for jets. For lower speeds we use Samedan Airport close to St. Moritz, Switzerland. Roadworthiness is certified for each vehicle individually by the TUV Rheinlad in Cologne, Germany that is our partner for a decade now.  Each certification from there is valid not only in Europe but also compliable with the customer’s regional certification requests.

6. Will you be racing it at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed?

We will be around in Goodwood, but not for racing. Just for showing it and for being among all those nice people at that terrific place. We will be driving it though, but slow: It is an aeronautic inspired project following strict aeronautic safety guidelines, so we keep any risk as low as possible. There is anyhow as little need to prove that an Acabion GTBO can run really fast as there is need to prove that a bullet can fly 😉 I mean it. This thing is fast. And we just say one thing: We will prove it. But not according to someone saying: “Now run”, but according to our systematic and strict schedules. Additionally: Since I spent all my life for the Acabion, and Lenka joined in years ago with all her passion and all her life, too, the one and only GTBO that is existing now has a value of meanwhile something way above 30 Million Euro. (direct and indirect costs.)Hence I hope one can understand why we are so careful about it. It is in the interest of the entire following project. We will not endanger its roots.

7. Will you take the “racing” version?

The version that exists now is the predecessor of both ones, the very small number of customer vehicles plus the hand full of racing version.

8. Any plans to bring it to the US?

There is even a dream of having the US versions assembled in the USA long term. South of Austin TX. in the Canyon lake area.

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