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French Electric Vehicle Maker Parks New Location Near CAR

Venturi Automobiles has announced the establishment of a new company, Venturi North America, to be headquartered at The Ohio State University. Venturi plans to design, engineer and produce electric vehicles for specialty markets.

Founded in 1984 in France as a sports car manufacturer, Venturi was purchased in 2001 by Gildo Pallanca Pastor and now focuses on innovation in electric vehicles by harnessing the most advanced technological solutions in this area. The company’s expertise extends from urban cars to high-performance vehicles.

Venturi chose Columbus as its North American base of operation to be in closer proximity to The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research, a partner on projects such as the Buckeye Bullet landspeed racing team, which recently set new international speed records for both hydrogen fuel cell and battery powered vehicles.

“The Center for Automotive Research is enthusiastic about working with Venturi’s design and engineering staff to development new electric vehicles,” says Giorgio Rizzoni, director of CAR. “Venturi employs some 70 people in its engineering and manufacturing operations in Monaco and in France, and we expect that in time they will establish a similar presence in Central Ohio.”

The company plans to use manufacturing space within the Science and Technology Campus Corp. research park (SciTech) located on Ohio State’s West Campus. Company headquarters will be located within TechColumbus, adjacent to SciTech on Kinnear Road.

“We’re very pleased about Venturi’s announcement to base its North American operations in Central Ohio,” says Ted Ford, president and CEO of TechColumbus. “This adds another important advanced energy asset to the region and further demonstrates our commitment to becoming a world recognized leader in advanced energy manufacturing and energy storage.”

John Pohill of Livonia, Mich., has been named CEO of Venturi North America. He has served in numerous engineering and manufacturing management capacities in his career of more than 30 years, including positions in the automotive and ship-building industries with Chrysler, General Motors and General Dynamics Electric Boat Division.

Venturi specializes in the design, engineering, manufacturing and conversion of electric vehicles including high-performance sports cars and lightweight urban vehicles. Recently, in collaboration with French automobile manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroën, Venturi developed an electric conversion for delivery vehicles, selected by La Poste, the French postal service.

In September 2010, the company opened its first factory, MVE (Manufacture de Véhicules Electriques), near Le Mans, France.

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