Australian tech billionaire planning electric supercar – Michmutters

Australian tech billionaire planning electric supercar

An Australian billionaire who just unveiled a $3 million track car with Formula One speed says he is already planning an electric ‘hypercar’ that promises to put Australia and New Zealand at the top of the high-performance car world.

An Australian tech billionaire who this week unveiled a 360km/h track car – with twin-turbo V10 hybrid power – says his next project is to create one of the world’s fastest electric vehicles.

Australian-born David Dicker – who built his fortune in IT distribution with his company Dicker Data and splits his time between Australia, New Zealand and Dubai – has announced production of his new Rodin FZero ‘hypercar’ is now underway at his factory in the South Island of New Zealand.

The first examples of his new track-ready sports car – each with a $3 million price tag and with styling like the latest Batmobile – are due to be delivered to well-heeled customers with a need for speed in the first half of 2023.

His plan is to build up to 37 examples of the Rodin FZero for wealthy owners who will use them on private track days (as they are not homologated for racing and cannot be registered for the road), before switching focus to an upcoming electric car.

While Rodin cars have to date been designed only for track use, the future electric ‘hypercar’ will be the first road-going model for the specialist firm.

“We’ve got an electric road car very close to a finalized design. So we’re going to build that, for sure,” Dicker told Drive from his Rodin Cars headquarters in New Zealand.

Dicker said he was also considering a petrol-powered road car but is waiting to see if his small company can meet future emissions requirements.

“Our only real issue on the petrol road car is the emissions side of it. If we can get through that, we’ll do it,” he said.

“There are such strong headwinds at the moment.”

Development of the FZero has been underway for more than two years at Rodin Cars and Dicker is more confident about sales after the failure of the original FZed — despite establishing a sales base and ‘experience centre’ in the UK — most likely because its Grand Prix -style open-wheeled layout was too extreme.

The FZero is just as extreme on the performance side, with a claimed 853kW and 1026Nm from its bespoke V10 hybrid engine. It also makes four tonnes of aerodynamic downforce despite weighing just 698kg.

Dicker knows that potential buyers will cross-shop the Rodin against ‘hypercars’ from Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini and Aston Martin — as well as the upcoming $8.5 million RB15 two-seater track car from Formula One’s Red Bull Racing team — but said he never had a specific target.

“The basic objective for this car was always to build a faster car than a Formula One. It was about building a track car that can lap faster than an F1,” he said.

“To be honest, it’s got nothing to do with Ferrari. I love Ferrari. I own Ferraris.”

He expects the first FZed prototype to be finished by the end of the year, with some carbon-fibre parts already in the mock-up stage, although most of the preview material for the car is computer-generated images.

“We’re really trying hard to get the prototype running before Christmas. I’ll be the first one in it, and obviously I’ll do some of the testing,” Dicker said.

“The basic plan is to get the prototype on the track and pound it around to see what needs to be changed, so we can move to a production car as soon as we can.

“We’ve spent an awful long time working on the design and engineering on this car. I’ll be bitterly disappointed if it’s not 95 per cent right, straight out of the box.”

Paul Gover

Paul Gover has been a motoring journalist for more than 40 years, working on newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. A qualified general news journalist and sports reporter, his passion for motoring led him to Wheels, Motor, Car Australia, Which Car and Auto Action magazines. He is a champion racing driver as well as a World Car of the Year judge.

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