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  The GT96 concept car was unveiled at the Geneva auto show last year
Chinese startup recruits Italian expertise for GT96 supercar
David Jolley | 2016/8/30

Chinese automotive r&d company Techrules has recruited Italian design and engineering partners as it seeks to launch the country's first supercar.

Designers Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro, and engineering and production specialist L.M. Gianetti, will help Techrules to develop and produce a supercar based on the GT96 concept that was unveiled at the Geneva auto show in March.

Techrules said the production version of the hybrid-powered 1,030-hp GT96 will debut at the Geneva show next March. By then the company and its partners "will be finalizing the supercar's development and fine-tuning its manufacturing processes," it said.

"The level of interest in our technology and our next-generation electric cars proves that we have a formula that can make a major impact," Techrules Chairman William Jin said in a statement.

L.M. Gianetti's facilities are designed for limited production runs, with an initial capacity of 25 units per year, Techrules said. The company was founded in 1966, and it is known for its engineering work for Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Fiat's Abarth brand.

The Giugiaro family has designed iconic cars for Ferrari, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Maserati and others. Last year, Giorgetto Giugiaro severed connections with Volkswagen Group after selling the remaining part of his Italdesign styling and engineering company to VW Group's Audi division. 

Fabrizio and Giorgetto subsequently set up a new company called GFG Progetti.

The GT96 has a hybrid powertrain that uses a natural gas-powered turbine to generate electricity to charge a battery pack. The battery powers the motors that drive the wheels. According to Techrules, the powertrain's high efficiency means fewer batteries are needed, saving weight and space.

Techrules has been testing a prototype at the Silverstone race circuit in England. Initial projections show the production car can accelerate from 0 to 100kph (62 mph) in 2.5 seconds.

Global sales will begin in two to three years, Techrules said. A few years after that, the company plans to begin production of higher volume city cars.

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