In the car factory at the Swedish Air Force’s old F10 hangar outside Ängelholm there is an air of feverish activity. Double production lines are now being implemented, with both Agera RS and Regera to be produced in parallel, and everything that entails – from logistical demands to demands on craftsmanship from the car’s builders.
Extreme. Everything extreme, down to the smallest detail. That’s one way of describing Christian von Koenigsegg’s creations in the fewest of words. Just take something like the new One:1 car: a car with a one megawatt engine (1,340 horsepower!) and a weight to power ration of 1:1 – that’s to say as much horsepower as its weight in kilos – whence the name.Even the company’s HQ is unusual: the company is housed in a disused Swedish Air Force hangar outside Ängelholm, once home to the F10 squadron. This gives Koenigsegg a unique advantage, in that they have access to the old runway which is 1.7 km long, on which they test their cars on an almost daily basis. The location’s military history – with the roaring take-offs of the Lansen, Draken and Viggen fighter jets – has also had another unexpected advantage: it has meant there are no neighbours to be disturbed by the noise of the engines.
In the autumn of 2015, work on double production lines commenced, and the number of employees now nears 100 people. In order to make space, a development team has therefore moved out to the production site, and they are based on what could be likened to a bridge looking out over the factory floor. With the move came an acoustic challenge – how to find a reasonable working environment for developers and engineers, when the workplace is a factory?
A significant improvement came from using sound-absorbing mats in the office sections, and by lowering the ceiling through a number of hanging sound absorbers, which improve the acoustics around each individual workspace. “You really notice the absorbents,” says Christian von Koenigsegg. “Another effect is that you don’t get as tired of speaking, because you aren’t having to shout all the time,” he continues. “Of course, we’re going to work on this some more, and find more improvements moving forward”.
When asked what his favourite car sound is, von Koenigsegg replies: “I’m an engine guy, so the whistle of the wind and the wheel suspension aren’t really what I get most excited about. I’d say it’s hearing the engine sing – preferably when driving uphill, so it has to work a bit. But I should say that in reality I like speed that doesn’t only relate to engines. Our cars have set records several times in the world’s fastest car sports competition, with speeds of around 400 km per hour. But the speed at which you can take turns, how fast the engine and driveline react, brake speed, these are all just as important.”
Koenigsegg develops the cars and all carbon fibre and engine parts on site in Ängelholm. The company has an engineering team of around 25 people. The technological development and design are led by von Koenigsegg himself.
In March, the Koenigsegg CCXR was named one of the “world’s 10 most beautiful cars ever” by Forbes magazine in America. Koenigsegg has even held the prestigious German Red Dot Award and the Svensk Form Excellent Swedish Design award.