Roland Gumpert is best known for being the man who quit his job as boss of Audi Sport in the early 2000s so he could pursue his dream of building a sports car bearing his name. That car, of course, was the Gumpert Apollo, a brutal and road-legal track monster that earned praise and admiration from motoring journalists and supercar aficionados everywhere. Unfortunately, it didn’t earn much money for the company, resulting in the boutique manufacturer going insolvent in 2014. The naming rights were then bought by a Chinese consortium, and the name Gumpert disappeared from public view—until now.
Bankrolled by a Chinese mobility startup called Airways, the RG Nathalie is an elegant and almost subtle-looking coupe that hides earth-shattering performance figures under its stylish silhouette. Four electric motors—one per wheel—generate a total of 815hp to propel the car from zero to 100km/h in 2.5 seconds, toward a top speed beyond the 300km/h mark.
The real technological kicker lies in the way the car generates the electricity needed to charge the 70kWh battery pack that powers the motors. Instead of solely relying on charging the car via electricity outlets or fast chargers, Mr. Gumpert, who serves as chief product officer of the new company, decided to fit the car with a methanol fuel cell that generates much of the electricity required to move his Nathalie.
Unlike hydrogen fuel cells, methanol ones are better suited for everyday use as the fuel does not require a special high-pressure fuel tank, and while gas stations do not commonly stock it, Gumpert is promising to come up with a solution to ensure a steady supply of the flammable liquid once the car goes into production. If push comes to shove, owners can always stop by a camping supply shop, as many outdoor products already use fuel cells with this type of alcohol as energy source.
With a fully charged battery and a full tank of methanol, Gumpert promises a range of up to 1,000km for his latest creation, which would be mighty impressive for what is essentially one seriously powerful GT car. Named after one of his daughters, the Nathalie will initially be hand-built in Germany, before production is moved to China. The German-engineered supercar is the showpiece automobile of parent company Airways, a new EV manufacturer that secured €1.5 billion in startup capital and is planning to build eight different electric vehicles, with a production facility in the works that can supposedly churn out 300,000 units per year.
There won’t be very many RG Nathalies, however, as the slender coupe has a target production volume of just 500 units, each priced at €420,000 (P26,500,000). Delivery of the first batch is scheduled for the end of next year, which should leave you just enough time to think up a really good story to tell your bank manager when you apply for a huge car loan.