Bugatti’s First Electric Car Is a Miniature Type 35 Grand Prix Racer That Starts at $33,000
Whether for kids or adults, the Pur Sang and Vitesse models come with carbon fiber bodies and “Speed Keys” that deactivate the speed limiter.
Bugatti announced its first fully electric vehicle, but much to everyone's surprise, it's not a 300-miles-per-hour road car—it's a three quarter-scale replica of a Type 35 Grand Prix race car called the Baby II. Also, it starts at $33,000 and they're all sold out.
Based on laser scans of a car that raced at the 1924 French Grand Prix, the Baby II is an authentic replica of historic Bugatti racing machinery just without the gasoline-sipping engine. Instead, it has a 1.4- or 2.8-kWh lithium-ion battery good for almost 19 miles of driving range. Its electric motor is attached to the rear axle by a limited-slip differential and offers multiple levels of power output depending on the age (or maturity) of the person behind the wheel.
In "child mode," the Baby II is limited to just 12 mph, with the motor generating only one kilowatt (1.34 horsepower). Should the kid behind the wheel get too adventurous or not want to share the Baby II with his siblings, a remote control can disable the car from up to 50 meters (164 feet) away.
By sliding the pedals forward, the Baby II can also accommodate an adult, one who might be responsible enough to handle the more powerful four-kilowatt (5.4-horsepower) drive mode and a top speed of 28 mph. Those who spring for the Baby II Pur Sang or Vitesse will also have access to a 10-kilowatt (13.4-horsepower) drive mode. Inserting a "speed key" in the Baby II will also override the governor, and it works much like those included with Bugatti's Super Sport models. Bugatti didn't say how fast a delimited Baby II can go, but we'd be surprised if highway speeds weren't within reach.
Bugatti didn't elaborate on the Baby II's ability to drift, but with its skinny Michelins, rear-wheel-drive, limited-slip differential, and functional handbrake, it's not hard to put two and two together. Of course, if your mother gets scared by the idea of you hooning a scaled-down, 507-pound Grand Prix car, you can just tell her you bought the Baby II for its artisanship; in which the gauges mimic the design of the original Type 35 but show speed and level of charge instead of oil or fuel pressure.
Production of the Baby II will be handled by The Little Car Company in Britain, which will manufacture just 500 Baby IIs in three build specifications. Base models will have composite bodies painted French Racing Blue like the car above, but no "speed key," which are exclusive to the Baby II Pur Sang and Vitesse, which respectively get handcrafted aluminum and carbon fiber bodies. Purchase of a Baby II comes with membership to The Little Car Club, which grants the buyer and the next two generations of their family access to club events at racetracks where they can drive the Baby II to its absolute limit.
If you're smitten with the Baby II, we have bad news: all 500 cars sold out within three weeks of the original prototype's unveiling. Bugatti is accepting waitlist applicants but you'd be better off bookmarking Bring A Trailer and waiting for a scalper than crossing your fingers.