A new electric roadster concept car just launched, and it goes by the name of Aura. It’s not made by any one company in particular. Instead, the Aura is the work of four British companies combined and funded by the British government via the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles.
The goal of the project was to create the future of driver’s cars in an electric era — yes, that makes it extra cool that the government funded the project. The four companies involved are Astheimer Design, Conjure, Potenza Technology and BAMD Composites. They spent the last 11 months developing this car, and they have something rather neat to show for it.
The Aura’s bodywork is made of natural composite fibers to be lightweight and sustainable. Aerodynamics were key, as the design is meant to be as low-drag as possible. It even has rear wheel covers, air curtains and a diffuser designed “to reduce the vehicle’s overall wake.” There’s no coefficient of drag rating available now, though.
Potenza Technology developed the batteries and electric motors. It’s using two 44 kWh battery packs, one situated in the front where you might find an engine, and the other underneath the car’s chassis. The press release says designers and engineers studied at length the exact positioning of the batteries to deliver the most neutral balance and weight distribution for the best handling. Both battery packs are also made to be easily accessible for future maintenance.
Total range is estimated to be about 400 miles. Power is applied to the rear wheels only via a single electric motor, but power figures weren’t provided. Low-rolling-resistance tires and aero wheels are fitted to increase range even further.
Conjure was responsible for the infotainment and tech on the car’s interior. There’s a 10-inch infotainment system in the middle of the cabin running Android Automotive. Plus, the Aura has a five-inch steering wheel-mounted display that acts as your instrument cluster. The interior is covered in vegan "leather" to further the sustainability mission.
The coolest part of the whole car is that this isn’t just a rolling chassis concept or design mockup. It’s an actual prototype that is fully functioning and drivable on British roads. That said, there’s no real path forward to turn this roofless roadster into a production vehicle you can buy. It’s still cool to see, though, and you can check it out in person at the CENEX-LCV show at Millbrook Proving Ground if you happen to be in the U.K.