Starting up an EV company from scratch right is significantly tougher in these economically uncertain times than it was a couple of years ago when investor cash was easy to come by. But that hasn’t dissuaded newcomer AEHRA from throwing its tailored Italian hat into the ring.
The Milan-based company launched today promising to inject some flair into what it sees as a creatively bankrupt $200-220,000 (£160-180,000) luxury sector currently occupied by the likes of BMW, Lcuid, Mercedes and Porsche. What that style will look like, we don’t know because, frustratingly, AEHRA hasn’t got any photographs, renderings or even the most ambiguous two-pen-stroke sketch to show us of the cars it says will be on sale three years from now.
But since CEO and Chairman Hazim Nada and his co-founder Sandro Andreotti have persuaded former Lamborghini, Genesis and Ital Design designer Filippo Perini to come on board and set the stylistic tone, the omens are good. Though Nada is a relative newcomer to the automotive space, he does have a background in advanced aerodynamics and together with Andreotti previously founded Aero Gravity, Europe’s largest wind tunnel, so you can bet he won’t let Perini get his own way with everything when it comes to design.
The vehicles, an SUV and a sedan of equal standing, will be revealed later this year and enter production in early 2025 ahead of first customer deliveries later that year, the company claims. They’ll be built around a carbon fiber monocoque based on a platform brought in from an unnamed third party supplier. AEHRA won’t be getting its hands dirty building the cars either; it’ll leave that to others, though it isn’t saying who.
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Nada says that breaking away from the styling and packaging constraints of traditional ICE vehicle (and followed by EVs like the Lucid Air) will allow AEHRA to offer huge interior space within a relatively small footprint. The company makes the unusual claim that they will offer seating for four NBA (National Basketball) players, plus room for a dinky six-footer in the middle of the rear row of a car the same size as an Audi e-tron SUV.
It makes no mention of power outputs or the number of batteries, but says it is targeting a range of “at least” 497 miles (800 km) and “awe-inspiring” levels of performance, while at the same time claiming to be uninterested in following every other EV maker in the race for increasingly ludicrous acceleration figures. Make of that what you will, but it’s safe to assume that to be considered relevant, AEHRA’s cars won’t be slow, while the carbon construction should help make them fun to drive.
Plenty of EV makers, including Porsche, can already do that so why would you shop with an unknown? Well, Nada believes that by the time it gets to market the major EV stumbling blocks like range anxiety will have been fixed, and that cars will be differentiated not so much by power, but by their looks, versatility and the ownership experience. AEHRA, which gets its name from a Latin word referencing “change”, claims it wants to marry American-style customer service with Italian design, which sounds great, unless you’ve had experience of trying to service a modern Alfa Romeo in the U.S. The cars will be available in the U.S., as well as Europe, China, and the Gulf States.
So it’s all pretty vague at this stage (we’ll find out more in the coming months, Nada promises), but the idea of a roomy luxury EV with Porsche performance and some Italian swagger and sophistication is interesting. Does this sound to you like the kind of direction Maserati should be taking?