Gumpert Aiways reveals production-version of methanol-fuelled Nathalie

by Felix Page, Autocar UK 05 Mar 2020

Chinese firm Gumpert Aiways, led by renowned ex-Audi engineer Roland Gumpert and backed by Chinese EV start-up Aiways, has revealed the production version of its long-awaited Nathalie methanol fuel-cell sports EV. 

The first models to be sold will be in €407,000 (£353,520/Rs 3 crore) First Edition guise, which has a bespoke paint scheme, and deliveries are due to start in early 2021. Just 500 examples of the Nathalie will be built throughout its entire production run. 

Revealed in prototype form in 2018, the Nathalie is equipped with a 15kW fuel cell, developed by Danish firm Serenergy, that generates electricity by converting methanol to hydrogen. 

The cell sends power to a pair of synchronised two-speed gearboxes to four wheel-mounted electric motors that, with a combined output of 536bhp, propel the Nathalie from standstill to 62mph (100kph) in 2.5sec and on to a claimed top speed of 186mph (300 kph). 

The unusual choice of powertrain is said to allow greater ease of use, removing the need to visit specialist hydrogen fuelling stations and with a claimed refuelling time of three minutes – significantly less than even the fastest-charging conventional EV. Gumpert claims a range of over 500 miles between fill-ups. 

The production car’s styling remains true to that of the 2018 concept. The thin headlight clusters, gaping air intakes and rakish, coupé-style silhouette remain, as does the downforce-enhancing rear spoiler.

However, the concept’s conventional doors have made way for Lamborghini-style scissor doors that are said to be more in keeping with the Nathalie’s 'super-sport car genes'. 

Although it is road legal, the Nathalie is prepared for track usage, with a full FIA-approved roll cage in place of a rear bench. Extensive use of materials such as flax and carbon fibre ensures maximum lightness.