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Italian designer launches EV-focused EV carmaker; expected to cater to boutique customers

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On: Thu, May 5, 2016 at 5:10PM | By: Carl Malek

Italian designer launches EV-focused EV carmaker; expected to cater to boutique customers

The electric vehicle market is about to receive a high dose of fashion and boutique cues thanks to the launch of an all-new EV car maker by Italian designer Umberto Palermo that will make its inaugural debut at the Turin Auto Show in June.

Known officially as Mole, the upstart company has goals of building electric vehicles that will cater to well-heeled boutique buyers who want to add a unique form of exclusivity and style to their EV purchase. Mole's basic operations are split into two distinct operations. The first makes visual exterior and interior upgrades on existing electric vehicles, while the second specializes in coach building vehicles from the ground up. Mole will be showing one model from each of its subsidiaries in Turin in what could be a compelling glimpse into a new untouched niche for EV vehicles and other fuel-friendly automobiles.

The first model, dubbed the Valentino, is based on the existing Tesla Model S and retains the basic styling theme found on the Tesla. However, Mole designers have given the car several visual upgrades that gives the Valentino a more muscular appearance highlighted by a deeper front bumper, massive front splitter, as well as Lamborghini-inspired Y-spoke trim elements where the fog lights used to be. The rear fascia also receives tweaks and incorporates a larger air diffuser, blacked-out taillights, as well as a trunk-mounted spoiler. Beefy 22-inch alloy wheels round out the look, and give the Valentino a handsome profile especially when viewed from certain angles. The car comes equipped with a Tesla-sourced electric powertrain that is good for a healthy 421 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the P90D, the Valentino's power is channeled to the rear wheels, and surprisingly the electric combo also boasts a driving range of 315 miles, which is a slight boost over the 300 mile driving range boasted by the aforementioned Tesla. Mole is keeping more extensive details under wraps until the car's debut in Turin, but expect the transmission hardware to also be lifted from the Model S.

The Luce, on the other hand, is a sleek two-door coupe designed to showcase the talents of Mole's coach-building division. Tipping the scales at a lightweight 2,600 lbs, the Luce features a tubular chassis as well as a body allegedly crafted from a lightweight composite material that is supposed to be 100% recyclable. The Luce favors a more relaxed attitude to performance with the car boasting an electric powertrain that is capable of 288 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Valentino, the Luce comes equipped with all-wheel drive which could make the Luce an interesting all-season proposition. Mole is using its appearance at Turin to gauge reaction to the coupe, and is hoping that it can get enough positive reactions to undertake a small production run. Mole hopes to build 30 to 90 copies with each one being distributed to well-heeled buyers in Europe, Japan, and the United States. Look for final pricing information to be announced once the company decides to formally begins production of the Luce.

As for the Valentino, the car currently on display was built for a wealthy client in Italy, and will be delivered to that customer after it makes its appearance at the Turin Auto Show. However, the Valentino does intimate that the company can make more; look for the company to also observe attendee reaction to see if there is a widespread business case for a more extensive production run for select markets, especially in the United States.


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