Former CEO of VW Group, Porsche named chairman of EV startup Piech

It’s been a while since we last heard from Swiss EV startup Piech.

The company co-founded by a son of Ferdinand Piëch first made headlines in 2019 when it presented the striking Mark Zero sports car concept at the Geneva International Motor Show.

On Monday, it provided its first major update since the concept’s reveal, announcing a number of key hirings, as well as investment from PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel.

Piech named its new chairman as Matthias Müller, who served as CEO of Volkswagen Group in the years after the Dieselgate scandal and prior to that as CEO of Porsche. Müller will work with Piech co-founders Anton (Toni) Piëch and Rea Stark on the board to help guide product development and corporate strategy.

Meanwhile, overseeing the main nuts and bolts of the company will be a pair of CEOs. One is a former BMW motorsport chief engineer, Klaus Schmidt, who is doubling as chief technology officer at Piech. The other is Andreas Henke, who will also have the responsibility of chief marketing officer. Prior to joining Piech, Henke worked at Porsche and high-end audio company Burmester.

The automaker also includes Jochen Rudat among its staff. Rudat previously worked at Tesla and was responsible for establishing the company’s European sales network.

Piech Mark Zero concept

Piech has a new engineering center under construction in Memmingen, Germany. There, it will handle development of prototypes. The first model will be a sports car based on the Mark Zero concept. Piech will then launch a grand touring model and an SUV.

Piech plans to base its models on an in-house modular platform capable of fitting enough battery capacity for a range of 310 miles on the WLTP cycle, a more lenient measure compared to the EPA cycle. Piech’s technology will also supposedly enable an 80% charge in less than five minutes.

The company recently completed Series A funding, with billionaire Peter Thiel among the list of investors. The company is now in the process of Series B funding which it will require to launch its first production model. The goal is to have the sports car ready for sale by the end of 2022.

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