Himera-Q: Ukraine's super-car ambition
If to believe its creators, the vehicle targets the most demanding consumers and is expected to compete with Bugatti & Pagani.
As you may have noticed from my earlier posts, I don't specifically like super-cars. There is too much uncontrollable (useless?) power in them. Moreover, the same banana-type smiles – stretched from one ear to another – can be evoked by driving smaller, nimbler, cheaper, and often more refined vehicles. This said, I do greatly appreciate technologies and human dedication standing behind every of the super-cars. Do they get soul this way?
At the age of ten I dreamed of making good cars. Not the ones my dad and grandfather drove. And not only cars, actually; my biggest teenage ambition resided in wielding a full-sized and fully-transformable Optimus Prime! In a way, I imagined myself as the worlds-best engineer producing worlds-best technologies offhand. I imagined drawing concept-cars and bringing these drawings to the only Ukrainian manufacturer I knew: Zaporizhia Automobile Building Plant (ZAZ). Obviously, all ZAZ employees – in my dreams – shouted “WOW” and immediately offered me a CEO post. I dreamed of a well-made, recognizable, and respectable Ukrainian car.
The life has proved my dreams to be unsustainable and I opted for Ph.D. in political sciences... but that's another story.
As for today, I can observe an interesting economic phenomenon in the post-communist space. It took quarter of a century after the Cold War for local engineers to start thinking – and crafting – cars for the most demanding customers. This was barely possible even ten years ago. Irrational, I would say. I see here strong signs of economic recovery, crossing the point of no-return (leaving the so-called “medium income trap”), acquisition of new market experiences, and transformation of the “luxury-seekers” into a class. The list and specifications of local super-cars are also impressive: Arrinera Hussarya in Poland, Rimac Concept One in Croatia, Skoda R200 Non-fiction in Czechia, K1 Attack Roadster in Slovakia, Jakusa Triango in Hungary, Black Falcon SBC-TT1750 in Romania. The list is far from being full, actually. You may choose any vehicle you like and start saving money (or selling kidney).
This said, as Ukrainian, I would like to shed some light on Himera-Q super-car concept. Which is not that much a concept any more. The first thing to be stresses here is that the information about Himera-Q is very nebulous in English-language sector of Internet. Few people speak about it. Even fewer have ever “noticed” the super-car. One of the fist mentions I found, actually, was a set of pictured posted by Aleksandr Halas on Drivetribe: drivetribe.com/p/himera-q-B-rXxLruTs2hxGrFlCvxZw?iid=ef5fa4ajQTiZznWLn1cVQg. But these were only pictures.
The company working on Himera-Q was founded by the Ukrainians and assembles cars in Barcelona, Spain. At least at the moment. The plans exist to move part of production to Ukraine in future.
The company representative Agnessa Ievseeva [Агнесса Евсеева] stated that it took three years to develop the concept, though the idea had emerged at least five years earlier. The development of Himera-Q, starting from the engine ending with the chassis, was completed by Ukrainian engineers. The production employs ten people. Two fully functional vehicles were crafted as for the summer 2017 and now they are tested on closed tracks in Spain. If everything goes smoothly, the company plans to put on the market ten vehicles per year.
According to Ievseeva, one of the two tested vehicles is fully electric (all wheel drive, four independent engines) powered by a battery with graphene modules. This battery is an original invention of Ukrainian engineers and has no analogues in the world. In the “normal mode” it fully charges in half an hour; in “turbo mode” (whatever this means) the battery becomes 100% ready-to-use in eight minutes! Eight freaking minutes, mates! Moreover, one can cover ~1000 kilometers (~600 miles) without re-charging (however, I bet this does not apply for a track). The second vehicle is equipped with a "conventional" petrol engine; according to the leaks, this is V10 from Lamborghini Huracan.
The project initiator and enthusiast Andrii Dzhazovskyi [Андрій Джазовський] promises that the super-car will have leather interior as standard. On the client's request, the interior may be decorated with elements of natural wood and precious metals. The maximum speed of the electric 1000HP Himera-Q is limited to 350 km/h. In order to hit 100 km/h mark the vehicle will need less than 3 seconds. But here comes the price. It will start from €700K depending on configuration and expectations of the client. Ouch, hurts! However, according to Dzhazovskyi, this is a "bargain" for such type of a car. There have also been a couple of pre-orders for Himera-Q, one of which coming from Hollywood. As we often say in Ukraine is such cases, God help our calf to eat the wolf.
First cars will appear on the market in November 2017. Mates, we still have two months to sell kidneys!
Skeptics may say that Himera-Q looks like Lada Vector Raven, a concept-car which was publicly presented a few months earlier. Dzhazovskyi responds here that the design of Himera-Q has been patented and should be regarded as original. Moreover, Himera-Q is a real-life vehicle already while Lada Vector Raven seems to stuck on a concept-car stage. It is to emerge on the market – if everything goes well – in 2020. This said, if the issue with the plagiarised design is confirmed, the Himera-Q will get into a huge legal trouble.
Personally, I find a clear allusion to the medieval Cossack baroque tradition in Himera-Q design. Wide curves, distinct lines, and mystic look. This looks special.
Now let's return to economics. What are the benefits for Ukraine - and Ukrainians - in positioning of this super-car as the “national product”? I bet, not many, apart from the pride. To begin with, the vehicle will be assembled in Barcelona. The plants and factories in Ukraine are fore-visioned, but none can say when they will be built and what exactly they will produce. Therefore, the Himera-Q will not contribute directly to the Ukrainian' budget, unlike to Spanish (Catalan?). The manufacturer will also not hire people on places in Ukraine, at least in the short run. Surely, some components may be produced in Ukraine offhand (for instance wiring and electronics on the existing facilities), but this is a tiny bit as the €700K vehicle is concerned. As I can see it, at least at the very beginning, the biggest contribution of Himera-Q into Ukraine will be a boost in the nation-branding. The vehicle's technological sophistication will raise attention to the potential of local engineers. This may attract foreign investments. This may also cause an eventual brain-drain.
Surely, Himera-Q may be bought by Ukrainian "luxury-seekers" (oligarchs?). Let's assume they will pay a tax on the purchase. And that's it for the state's budget.
I do also assume that Himera-Q risks to be less profitable than expected by its creators. Yes, there might have already been a couple of pre-orders from a "closed" circle of customers. However, the vehicle is “El Desdichado” which enters the competition on the highest levels with no loud brand behind it. Moreover, the proper promotion has not been launched yet: there exists no clear public interest to the vehicle two month before it airs onto the market! No one buzzes about its design, prices, and engines. At least, in the English-language segment of Internet. Nothing is also known about plans for the vehicle to get an extra promotion through taking part in sport events and proving what a machine it really is! The obscure nebulosity surrounds Himera-Q. In his turn, Dzhazovskyi is presented in media as an enthusiast, not as a businessmen in regards to the vehicle. A dreamer who advanced with his dreams and now impatiently waits how everything will work out.
Maybe... one day... if Himera-Q is a success... Dzhazovskyi will also wield a full-sized and fully-transformable Optimus Prime... Will he?
P.S. By the way, Hymera-Q is not the only vehicle developed by the Ukrainian engineers in Barcelona. KUGEL car, a two-door electric compact with three, five, or seven seats, will also be presented soon. It is planned as a competitor to Smart. The price starts at €8K.
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P.S. Matt Parsons can be reached here: www.behance.net/Matthew_Parsons_SA