A lot of attention has been paid to the various Chinese and American electric vehicle startups, but there’s one from Italy that’s aiming to make a splash.
The Milan-based company is called Aehra and was founded earlier this year by Hazim Nada, a commodities trader and the founder of indoor skydiving company Aero Gravity.
Its first model is an unnamed electric SUV penned under chief design officer Filippo Perini, who was head of design at Lamborghini for 11 years and responsible for models like the Huracan and Urus, before moving to Italdesign and then Genesis.
Aehra will reveal a second model, a sedan, in February 2023, and aims to begin customer deliveries of both models in 2025.
The company claims the SUV will produce between 550kW and 600kW of power and offer around 800km of range.
Auto Express additionally reports the company is looking to use a 120kWh battery and three electric motors, one on the front and two on the rear.
It also reports Aehra plans to build between 20-25,000 SUVs and sedans per year for various global markets, with sales starting in the US and Europe before expanding to China.
Aehra says the SUV will be priced around US$160-180,000 (around A$242-272,000), approximately the price of a Bentley Bentayga due to the brand positioning itself as “ultra premium”.
It measures around 5.1m long with a 3m wheelbase and weighs less than 2 tons. For reference, a BMW iX M60 measures in at 4953mm long on a 3m wheelbase and has a tare mass of 2584kg.
The company says the cabin can accommodate “four NBA-size players in complete comfort”.
The SUV rides on large wheels (23 inches up front, 24 inches at the rear) and features distinctive cab-forward proportions, with short overhangs and a particularly stubby front end.
The Italian tricolore is integrated into the D-pillar, and there are “elytra-like” butterfly doors.
The headlights are connected by a slim opening punctuated with two raised elements that align with the creases of the bonnet; a similar design element is employed at the rear with the tail lights.
The company says the SUV’s “curvaceous flowing lines contribute to class-leading aerodynamics and a peerless vision of effortlessly elegant futurism”.
It has used computational fluid dynamics to design the slippery body and says the SUV will set “optimum standards for aerodynamic drag reduction, cooling, and battery thermal management”.
The SUV utilises movable aerodynamic elements front and rear plus lightweight composite materials including forged carbon-fibre.
Auto Express reports a drag coefficient of just 0.21. The aerodynamic Mercedes-Benz EQS has a CD of 0.20.
“With the SUV, we have created a vehicle that goes far beyond the conventional standards set by the automotive industry for an SUV, and sets new benchmarks for style and comfort,” said Filippo Perini.
“We have used a monobody construction, which, while used widely in Italy in the past, is now normally reserved for supercars only.
“We have taken an equally radical approach to aerodynamics, which play a central role in the design, driving characteristics and efficiency of the SUV.”
“The AEHRA SUV represents a radical combination of cutting-edge sustainable materials, ultra-advanced EV technology, smart manufacturing technologies, pure Italian design, and of course, a seminal moment in our company’s history,” said founder and CEO Hazim Nada.