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Vienna - Three Austrian brothers have reworked a limited-edition Porsche race car model in Steve McQueen’s 1971 film Le Mans to run on electricity.

Kreisel Electric plans to sell the EVEX 910e for 1 million euros (R14.34 million), according to an email on Thursday. The car has a range of 350km and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds. The original model 910 race car that appeared in the film used petrol.

“With the first purchasable electronic Kreisel car, our company is entering into a new phase,” Markus Kreisel, the middle sibling and managing director of the company, said in the statement. “In contrast to the historical original by Porsche, this is licensed for the use on public roads.”

Working out of a three-door garage, the Kreisel brothers - Johann, Markus and Philipp - are making battery packs and drivetrains for a new generation of plug-in cars, boats and airplanes. Pitching themselves as “E-Mobility Maniacs” at trade shows, they’ve convinced established car companies to visit them in Freistadt, 200 kilometers northwest of Vienna, to test drive their creations.

Transmission technology

The Porsche 910 finished sixth in the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race that took place 200 kilometers southwest of Paris, according to the statement. Lee Katzin directed the 1971 movie about the race starring McQueen, who died in 1980 after becoming known as “The King of Cool” during his acting career.

The Porsche 908, 910 and 911 and 917 all appeared in McQueen’s 1971 film.

Kreisel said it was working with EVEX Fahrzeugbau, a German manufacturer of classic automobiles based outside of Dusseldorf, to make the car. The Austrian team developed new cooling and transmission technologies. Kreisel is selling the car’s transmission as a standalone product, according to the statement.

Steve McQueen was one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood and was able to choose his own projects and set his own terms.

Kreisel Electric burst onto the Austrian and German automobile scene in 2016 with a reworked Porsche Panamera that outperformed Tesla’s flagship Model S on some measures. The Austrian company says its patented laser-welding and thermal-cooling techniques give them an edge over Tesla because the method preserves the full power of the lithium-ion cells.

‘Very limited’

It’s not the first time that Kreisel has tapped a Hollywood icon to market its creations. In January, former California governor and Austrian-born actor Arnold Schwarzenegger began trialing a Mercedes G 350 all-terrain vehicle retrofitted to run on electricity.

Because only about 35 of the original Porsche 910 frames were ever built, Kreisel will only produce “very limited quantities” of the souped-up plug in model, spokesman Martin Lettner said in an email reply to questions. Production will begin in  2018. 

The original two-litre Porsche 910 had a maximum output of 162kW, according to the Cargister, an online repository of automobile specifications. The motor in Kreisel’s rebooted model is rated at 360kW and has a capacity of 53kWh.

Kreisel announced its first order in 2016 to deliver as many as 2000 electric powertrains and battery packs to VDL in the Netherlands for Mercedes Sprinter minibuses.