That’s not a typo in the title, the Zenvo ST1 really does pump out over 1,000 horsepower. There’s been a rash of new supercar manufacturers crashing the scene lately, but Zenvo is poised to deliver an actual automobile instead of concept renderings and promises. And the supercar world is in for a real treat.
What makes the ST1 so special is what those two letters in the name stand for. “S” is for “Supercharger” and “T” is for “Turbocharger” (the 1 means its the first model made by the company). Yes, both a supercharger and turbocharger on the same engine, which is pretty much unheard of, though it is sound in theory. Both a supercharger and turbocharger boost power by increasing the pressure of the air injected into the engine’s combustion chambers. The higher the pressure means more oxygen and fuel can fit into the fixed volume of the chamber, and that means more power. The method is different, however. The tubrocharger uses a turbine (hence the name) which is spun by the exhaust gas of an engine. This spinning motion is translated into a pressure boost, and the engine makes more power. A supercharger also uses a spinning motion to create a pressure boost, but the motion is provided by a belt attached to the engine (much like an A/C unit or alternator).
So why do you need both? Because they both have different times when they’re more effective. A belt-driven supercharger relies on the RPM of the engine and the turbocharger relies on the pressure of exhaust gas. So, if an engine is at idle, you could still use the supercharger to get a bit of boost into the engine, which would create more exhaust gas, which would power a turbocharger, which would increase boost, which makes the engine spin faster, which gives more power to the supercharger, and so on. Essentially, packaging a supercharger and turbocharger onto the same engine creates a positive feedback cycle which is only limited by the physical properties of engine (i.e., when the pressure becomes too great and it shatters under the stress).
The reason that most cars feature either one or the other is because there has never really been a need for both. Either a supercharger or a turbocharger will boost an engine’s power output by about 40%, so a base engine capable of about 200 horses, like an average sports car, could have an output of 280 with a charger, which is more than enough for most people. But then, most people don’t work for A/S Zenvo Automotive, which is based in Denmark, just outside Copenhagen. That’s why they installed a 7.0-liter V8 with a supercharger and turbocharger into the ST1, with a final power output of 1,104 horsepower.
On top of the insane power, the engine is also a Flex Fuel model, meaning that it can run on either gasoline, ethanol, or a mixture of the two. And, since ethanol contains a higher energy per volume measurement than gasoline, one imagines that the 1,104 horsepower is a measurement taken with an ethanol fuel. The engine is mated to a six speed manual transmission which was specially designed to handle all of the power, and there’s an option for a six-speed sequential gearbox as well. Performance figures are listed at 0-to-62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.2 seconds, which, while it seems too high for 1,100 horsepower, is more a result of the car not physically being able to put down all that power without the tires melting. You can hit 120 mph in a brisk 9 seconds, and the top speed is electronically limited to 233 mph.
In the looks department, the Zenvo does everything right. It’s got enough of the classic look of performance coupes to be instantly recognizable, and enough of the wacky, far-out design to let people know that this is a crazy supercar (like the giant hood scoops out of the hood and the boomerang-shaped side vents behind the doors). The interior is pretty much the same; a conventional two-seater with enough odd gauges, quirky angles, and exotic fabrics to let you know you’re riding in something special.
There’s no precise release date set for the Zenvo ST1 at the moment, and there’s no firm price tag, either. And, there’s only going to be fifteen of them made initially. Add those together and you can bet that this is going to be insanely expensive, insanely exclusive, and insanely good fun.