Christian von Koenigsegg answers my questions.
Fortunate to be able to pose some questions to Christian von Koenigsegg about the Gemera Mega GT, his own car collection and dealing with COVID-19
For many years I have admired the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the skilled artisans at Koenigsegg in Sweden. A few years ago, I brazenly contacted Koenigsegg to volunteer my services as a “regular person” point of view test driver for the Koenigsegg One:1 hypercar. Unsurprisingly I was not pressed into service as a Koenigsegg One:1 test driver, however I have continued to follow the exploits of this remarkable company. Despite knowing about Koenigsegg I did not actually see one in person until March of 2018 when a trio Koenigsegg Agrea RS models visited Vancouver. This year Koenigsegg surprised me with its first four seat Mega GT car called the Gemera. I am utterly beguiled by this Koenigsegg creation and I would happily pony up the $1.7 million USD if I had the money. Supercars and Hypercars have come along way from the sensitive works of art that were driven sparingly due to their fragility, whereas today they are almost practical cars. I have always believed that supercars and hypercars should be used, enjoyed and shared . When Ferrari produced the FF/Lusso it demonstrated a supercar company could make a car that could be used to transport people and go to grocery shopping. This is considered by some supercar enthusiasts to go against the whole ethos of the supercar. So if you are produce a relatively practical car supercar/hypercar then its best if you take this concept to a whole new level and boy have Koenigsegg jst that with the introduction of the Mega GT Gemera.
Picture credit - Jason Grunsell
The look of any car is always subjective, but for me the Gemera is an arresting design that instantly grabbed my attention. Some cars like the Bugatti Veyron/Chiron are impressive technological tour de forces, but one would hard be pressed to call them beautiful cars. The Gemera at least in my eyes is an extremely good-looking car. The design flows from the sleek contours of the nose of the car through to the slightly pronounced muscular rear of the car. Visually the most outstanding feature of the Gemera is the giant doors or more accurately full length Koenigsegg Automated Twisted Synchrohelix Activation door or KATSAD for short. Arguably they are the most impressive set of car doors in the automotive world. KATSAD ingenuity allows for easy ingress to the Gemera for four people making the Gemera a practical useable day to day transportor. With space for four suitcases, three in the trunk and one in the front the Gemera ticks another practical use box, ideal for getting away for the weekend or taking a long road trip. I would love drive a Gemera across Canada and the United States. These long road trips are accentuated by eight large cup holdeers. Half of the cupholders are designed to keep beverages cold while the other four are designed to keep your Starbucks coffee warm. I know my wife would greatly appreciate this amenity. So, you can head out you on a long-distance road trip or you can pop down to your local supermarket in a Mega GT that has a combined power of 1700 bhp Mega GT. Yes, you did read that correctly. This power comes from a 2L 3-cylinder twin turbo freevalve engine in conjunction with three electric motors. The Gemera has all wheel steering, all wheel drive, rear wheel steering and torque vectoring. Koenigsegg will make 300 examples of the Gemera so get your order in now. Koenigsegg are all alone in the Mega GT car realm.
Picture credit - Koenigsegg.
Picture credit - Koeniggsegg
The inspiration behind Koenigsegg is the founder, Christian von Koenigsegg. I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to pose some questions to Christian about the Gemera, his life, and the impact of covid-19 on the health and welfare of Koenigsegg.
Questions for Christian von Koenigsegg.
1) How many prototype Gemera's will there be? What happens to them once production starts.
As Koenigsegg has grown every new car program has become bigger and we make more prototypes to speed up the development so that more work can happen in parallel. With the Gemera, we plan around 15 test cars, plus crash test cars. When production starts, we usually keep the prototypes in testing in parallel in order to continue accumulating mileage, further testing for future upgrades, etc. Eventually, the cars can retire into museums or collections or in the worst case be taken apart and scrapped for various reasons.
2) How much has it cost to develop the Gemera?
The Budget is around 150 Million (EUR)
3) What are the paddles for on the Gemera steering wheel? I was under the impression the Gemera was a single gear, do I have this wrong?
The paddle controls are context-sensitive. They are for selecting either the unlocking or locking of the Hydracoup while driving – a bit like manual up or downshift. They also can be used for R-N-D functions during parking.
One of the key elements to KDD is a component called Hydracoup – a bespoke-design torque converter with lock-up functionality. It is the link between the combustion engine and the electric drive, working to blend power from both sources into a seamless driving experience.
Hydracoup operates in two modes. In lock-up mode, Hydracoup takes power primarily from the combustion engine and applies it directly to the rear wheels. In unlocked mode, Hydracoup maximizes the power from both the combustion engine and the electric driveline for the ultimate in responsiveness and acceleration.
When taking off from standstill, Hydracoup is managing the combination of electric and combustion power as the car accelerates. Under gentle load and steady acceleration, the driver may feel Hydracoup go into lockup mode at some point (the exact speed at which this will happen can vary due to driving conditions). The sensation is similar to that of a gear change in an automatic transmission. Hydracoup can be used in the same way while the vehicle is in motion. When cruising and with want for extra accelerative power (for overtaking, for example), pressing the left steering wheel paddle will unlock Hydracoup and give you access to full power from both the electric and combustion power sources.
4) Where will hot weather testing take place?
Spain, UAE and potentially Death Valley
5) Covid-19 what has been the impact on Koenigsegg? - short term? long term? Will this affect the price of the car ($1.7 million USD?) Production still on for 2022?
Covid-19 has impacted many businesses and industries. We have been able to still operate but at a slower pace. We still believe 2020 will be our biggest production year to date – with close to 30 cars produced. But it is to early to say as we are dependent on the rest of the world to operate as well of course.
So far there is no impact on the production of the Gemera, it is still scheduled for 2022 and pricing remains the same. We are well aware that things can change very quickly, which is why we are doing as much as we can to prepare for the future.
6) Where will the Gemera be built, the new factory?
It will be built here in Ängelholm as an extension to our existing location to accommodate the Gemera’s production run.
7) Will, it still have the Ghost insignia or will it be a new insignia?
As it is produced in the same location – the answer is yes!
8) Christian, do you still drive a Tesla, if so what model? Horacio Pagani has other supercars aside from his own in his collection, what supercars do you have?
As a daily driver, I rotate between the Model 3 and the Model S. When it comes to my private collection of cars, it is sparse. Reasons are – that for the first 15 years of Koenigsegg’s operation, all the money that I made was put back to use into operations to make sure we could grow as fast and stable as absolutely possible. When I could start building my private savings – my one-car garage had been converted to a makeshift music studio for my son! Now I am building an addition to the house with a five-car garage with some extra parking slots and I have started a small and modest car collection consisting of – the first sportscar that I bought as a 19-year-old – a Miata. Recently, I stumbled across one of the last Lotus Esprits ever produced, online. As the Esprit was one of my halo cars as a kid – I bought it. I am on the lookout for some more halo cars (those from when I was young) first and then I might go into newer things. Very few modern cars inspire me at all, but I am keeping two slots for Koenigsegg cars as well! I’m aiming for an early manual Koenigsegg and a Regera. The Gemera will have to be parked outdoors!
9) How would you describe your management style? Do you think people enjoy working for you? What is the difference between young Christian von Koenigsegg the entrepreneur and Christian von Koenigsegg today?
Koenigsegg has a flat business structure – democratic in that respect where everyone has a chance to contribute and make a real difference on a day-to-day basis. I feel that those who work for me are driven and passionate and as someone in a leading position, I always try to make sure that the organization can expand to its fullest potential. It is not the easiest job, because we’re always pushing boundaries. I know I am very demanding, and I expect everyone to put in an effort above what normally can be expected. I think working here can be deeply rewarding, as everyone is clearly seen and can leave a legacy.
What I tell people who start here – our ambition is to create masterpieces that will be cherished till the end of time. Good enough does not exist – only striving for the next level does. Working for Koenigsegg should be something you will want to tell your grandchildren about.
10) What pictures if any are on the walls of your office and why these images?
A photo of earth taken from space, the Koenigsegg Direct Drive in components, drawings from my children when they were younger and of course photos of my family. They serve as reminders of existence, innovation, and kinship.
11) I know you love innovation, what are some innovations that have impressed you and why?
The ball bearing. A Swedish invention then that shaped the world to come. I cannot imagine what the world would look like without it! Friction was such a showstopper for thousands of years before its conception.
Adding on to that thought – the tire – a truly amazing invention. The grip, low dB, long-wear, etc of a modern tire is almost unbelievable if you start thinking about it. Also, the chaos that goes on when a thread hits the tarmac at high speed creates a momentary molecular bond that is instantly ripped apart and then immediately repeated without much destruction as result – is truly mesmerizing.
The use of energy as a metaphorical time machine. The fact that we have had abundant energy available to us in the last 100 years or so – has made it possible for us to progress several thousands of years into the future. If we did not have access to these amounts of energy, where we are today in 2020 would be in reality 4100 or so. A car is like a time machine, a plane even more so, a computer may be the most. Just think about it – flying across the Atlantic – instead of sailing – you “time machine” travel several weeks into the future and get on to other things much sooner that are also “time machine” related/boosted.
Of course the most important invention – Money! Perhaps even fiat money, as it can be created out of thin air! Money is also “time Machine” related, as you can buy/convert money into e.g. air travel – or buy and store energy (e.g. fuel/electricity) to propel a “time machine” (e.g. a car or a plane). In many ways energy is money is time Machine - in a triangle and these three forms of entities are each other’s reflection.
Hydrofoils for boats are very elegant – as they allow the boat to stay virtually the same – but give the enhanced effect of very low drag and a comfortable ride when utilized.
12) How does it feel to have a supercar/hypercar brand that bears your name and is talked about in the same league as Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and Pagani?
I would like to thank Christian for taking the time to answer my questions. I will continue to follow the development and production of the Gemera over the next few years and hopefully get an opportunity to experience a Mega GT drive.