Swiss electric car maker Piëch Automotive hires former VW CEO

FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller speaks at the annual earnings news conference of VW in Berlin in Berlin, Germany, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Swiss electric car start-up Piëch Automotive AG appointed Matthias Mueller, the former chief executive of Porsche and Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE, as its new chairman, the company said on Monday.

Founded by Anton Piëch, son of ex VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch, the Switzerland-based company is preparing to raise funds to launch an electric two-seater sports car equipped with batteries that charge to 80% capacity in under 5 minutes.

“I was immediately enthusiastic about the mission of the two founders, because it is more compelling and more visionary than all the new approaches I have encountered during my work in the automotive industry,” Mueller said.

The electric sportscar will have a range of up to 500 kilometres (311 miles), and the first planned vehicle concept will be available to buy at the end of 2022.

The Zurich-based company also hired Jochen Rudat, a former Tesla executive, as head of sales.

Among the company’s early-stage investors is Peter Thiel, the carmaker said. Swiss bank UBS will leading the next funding round, Piëch Automotive said.

Reporting by Edward Taylor, editing by Louise Heavens