Automotive

Aura concept reimagines classic British roadster for electric era

Aura concept reimagines classi...
The Aura team cuts the roof and windshield out to create a clean, sporty electric roadster
The Aura team cuts the roof and windshield out to create a clean, sporty electric roadster
View 5 Images
The Aura team cuts the roof and windshield out to create a clean, sporty electric roadster
1/5
The Aura team cuts the roof and windshield out to create a clean, sporty electric roadster
The Aura has a rear-wheel electric drive and dual-44-kWh battery
2/5
The Aura has a rear-wheel electric drive and dual-44-kWh battery
BAMD Composites brings the natural fiber composite for the body
3/5
BAMD Composites brings the natural fiber composite for the body
The Aura has an estimated 400-mile range, and plans call for a test drive between London and Edinburgh
4/5
The Aura has an estimated 400-mile range, and plans call for a test drive between London and Edinburgh
The self-leveling circular wheel screen is designed to encourage drivers to keep their focus on driving
5/5
The self-leveling circular wheel screen is designed to encourage drivers to keep their focus on driving
View gallery - 5 images

A concept car without a brand, the all-new Aura electric roadster debuts after four individual British brands applied their individual talents toward creating a greener car that's still a true Sunday driver. It feels something like a modern-day MG Midget or Triumph Spitfire for our eco-obsessed times, featuring an aero-sculpted, roof- and window-free bio-composite shell, all-electric powertrain and efficiency-optimizing HMI (human-machine interface), making it an open-air beauty you'll want to drive every inch of its 400-mile range.

What to do when life screeches to a standstill due to pandemic lockdown? Why not invest your time in that project that's been pinballing around your skull? That's what a quartet of UK companies – Astheimer Design, BAMD Composites, Conjure and Potenza Technologies – did about a year ago when they went to work on the Aura concept. Funding came from the British government's Office for Zero Emission Vehicles through the Niche Vehicle Network, and the parties designed, developed and hand-built a working prototype of their concept car.

The brief was to create a sports car that takes it easy on earth, both in terms of its powertrain and the materials that go into building it. So the companies pushed well beyond dropping a battery and electric drive in an existing small sports car platform, developing a fresh, new design.

The Aura has an estimated 400-mile range, and plans call for a test drive between London and Edinburgh
The Aura has an estimated 400-mile range, and plans call for a test drive between London and Edinburgh

The Aura team started below the distinctive bodywork, optimizing the placement of the 88-kWh lithium battery by splitting it into two individual 44-kWh packs, one up front and the other below the spaceframe donor chassis. The placement helps to balance weight out against the rear motor drive while keeping the batteries more accessible for maintenance purposes. The Aura promises lively handling owing to the combination of rear-wheel drive and neutral weight distribution.

Over top that chassis is a silky-smooth skin that reminds us a little of a cigar boat. It's made from a lightweight natural fiber-composite and incorporates rear-wheel cowlings to boost aerodynamic performance. The lightweight, aero packaging helps the car reach its estimated 400-mile (644-km) range.

We'd think drivers of a car like this would want to recharge and get back onto twisty pavement as quickly as possible, but they'll be disappointed to note that charging crawls along for four hours using the 22-kW portable charger – better make it a full tasting-menu lunch.

The self-leveling circular wheel screen is designed to encourage drivers to keep their focus on driving
The self-leveling circular wheel screen is designed to encourage drivers to keep their focus on driving

Inside, the Aura team looks to mold modern technology in such a way that encourages, rather than distracts from, tight focus on the road ahead. Key information like remaining range and weather is centered inside the steering wheel on a 5-in self-leveling circular display. The display works in conjunction with the 10-in nav-infotainment screen through a single central computer running Android Automotive. The computer analyzes driving conditions, driver profile, nearby charging points and other factors in optimizing energy usage, managing time and directing drivers to charging stations along the route.

The Aura team revealed its concept car at this week's CENEX Low Carbon Vehicle Show at the Millbrook Proving Grounds. It plans to take it to additional events throughout the remainder of 2021, building toward a test drive from Edinburgh to London. Those interested can follow the project's progress at the website linked below and via Instagram at @aura.concept.car.

Source: Aura Concept Car

View gallery - 5 images
5 comments
5 comments
Don Martin
Great concept. Who needs a car with a roof in the UK?
BogBeast
Great concept. I hope that the technology can make it through to the kit/component car industry in the UK. There is a great selection of small, low volume self-build manufacturers that could do fascinating things.
ljaques
Funky looking beastie, innit? Prolly only a quarter million Pounds.
christopher
Looks like a cybertruck with the roof cut off. Going backwards.
Stephen Colbourne
The looks are ghastly. Why not use a well proven design like the AC Ace (better known for the AC Cobra it became when re-engined).
I presume some kind of roof is available , because from experience I can say that cars without a roof , don't work in England.