Kreisel brothers: Austria's secret electric-car weapon?


Kreisel Electric Porsche Panamera

Kreisel Electric Porsche Panamera

There's no shortage of companies trying to replicate the success of Tesla Motors.

Startups such as Faraday Future, Lucid Motors, and NextEV have all announced plans to build long-range electric cars aimed pretty much directly at the Silicon Valley automaker's electric cars.

But rather than take on Tesla itself, a small Austrian firm plans to equip other firms with the tools to build electric cars.

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Kreisel Electric GmbH was founded by the three Kriesel brothers—Johann, Markus, and Philipp—two years ago, and is now fielding inquiries from established automakers, according to Bloomberg.

Kreisel Electric currently supplies electric powertrains for installation in existing vehicles, designs lithium-ion manufacturing infrastructure for OEMs, and builds one-off prototype cars.

The self-described "E-Mobility Maniacs" work out of a small garage in Freistadt, 124 miles northwest of Vienna, and have ambitious plans to expand their business.

Philipp Kreisel (left), Johann Kreisel (center), and Markus Kreisel (right)

Philipp Kreisel (left), Johann Kreisel (center), and Markus Kreisel (right)

Kreisel recently broke ground on Austria's first lithium-ion battery cell factory, and plans to double its workforce to 70 employees.

The company has also reportedly attracted interest from the likes of BMW, McLaren, and Volkswagen.

It has contracts with two unnamed companies, one of which is "bigger than Tesla and will actually build 100,000 cars over the next two years," according to Markus, who is in charge of sales.

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So far, it's added electric powertrains to a Porsche Panamera, Volkswagen Caddy small pickup truck, and a Skoda Yeti small minivan—claiming ranges of more than 300 kilometers (185 miles) for the latter two.

The all-wheel drive electric Porsche boasts a power output of 360 kilowatts (482 horsepower), a top speed of 300 kph (185 mph), and a range of 450 km (280 mi), according to the company.

Last month, Kreisel announced an order for 2,000 electric powertrains placed by VDL Groep for use in Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans.

Kreisel Electric

Kreisel Electric

Kreisel says it will accept orders of up to 10,000 units for its conversions.

A significant amount of the company's funding has so far come from low-interest loans earmarked by the Austrian government for startups.

MORE: Faraday Future imperils electric-car factory, misses payment to contractor

Kreisel's next major expansion will involve a 68,000-square-foot lithium-ion cell factory, which will have an initial capacity of 800 megawatt-hours per year.

The company expects that to double within three months, and ultimately hopes to sell at least 50 million cells next year.

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