The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association show is an aftermarket extravaganza, where makers of add-on gear for cars and trucks convene to show off their wares. Appropriately set in the Las Vegas Convention Center, it’s a sprawling wonderland of noise, chrome and metal-flake paint. At first blush, this is an unusual venue for a group of Australian engineers to unveil a sleek, silent solar-electric sports car.

“Inspired by the world portrayed in post-apocalyptic movies” and apparently named for a Marvel comics villain, the Immortus is a one-off concept from EVX Ventures, a collaboration between the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne and a group of Austalian engineers and solar-car racers.

Unlike the racecars built to compete in Australia’s annual World Solar Challenge, a 1,900mi desert road race from Darwin to Adelaide, the Immortus isn’t a sunshine-or-nothing car. In addition to 75 square feet of silicon photovoltaic cells on the roof, the car features a plug-in electric powertrain with a lithium-ion battery pack and pair of hub motors in the rear wheels.

As long and wide as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, the Immortus – which offers interior space for two occupants and their hand luggage – isn’t small. But the company promises sports-car handling and brisk performance. The trip from zero to 62mph takes less than 7 seconds and the car will hum to a top speed of in excess of 90mph. On a sunny day, the Immortus – traveling at about 50mph – will cover more than 340 miles before requiring a plug-in recharge. At a constant 37mph, the car has “unlimited range” on solar power alone. It’s unlimited, of course, until nightfall, but the claim – for anything other than a one-trick solar racer – is pretty impressive nonetheless.

So why SEMA? EVX Ventures’ decision to unveil the Immortus in Vegas doubtless has more to do with its plans to commercialise aspects of the car as a hybrid-electric conversion kit for gasoline-powered cars and trucks. The company is saying nothing about production plans for the Immortus, but that may come when the car has its moment in the Las Vegas sun. The 2015 SEMA show kicks off on 3 November.

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