British EV roadster provides a glimpse into a possible future for sports cars

  • The Aura electric roadster prototype created by a consortium of British companies features emission-free sports car technology, with two 44 kWh batteries.
  • The aerodynamic concept includes a circular instrument cluster on the steering wheel that stays upright, as well as a vertical infotainment screen powered by Android OS.
  • The roadster is a technological demonstrator with RWD, a rated range of 400 miles, and a nod to the British roadsters of the past.

    It’s safe to say that most of the EVs that have hit the market in the past few years – and will be in the next five years – fall into a handful of categories, with sedans, SUVs, and a few trucks making it. all hope to get a slice of their respective segments. It is much harder to find electric coupes, station wagons, minivans or convertibles in the yard, with a few rare exceptions.

    That’s why the Aura Concept feels like a breath of fresh air and is a reminder that electric vehicle buyers sometimes want something other than a metallic silver-colored midsize crossover.

    Created by a consortium of British automotive suppliers and tech companies, the Aura is a preview of the EV sports cars of the future, with a decidedly classic recipe reminiscent of vintage British roadsters. The car itself is a fully functional prototype, rather than a static concept made of plastic and meant to look convincing on the floor of an auto show. It is powered by two 44 kWh batteries, one placed at the front and the other just behind the passenger compartment for efficient weight distribution. The engine is also positioned up front, but the car is rear-wheel drive, a nod to the classic formula reinterpreted here.

    A circular dashboard in the steering wheel seems like a good idea, until you have to take your eyes off the road.

    Spark EV technology

    The interior also appears production-ready, with a vertical 10-inch infotainment screen, as well as a 5-inch self-leveling screen positioned in the center of the steering wheel itself and housing the instrument readings. It stays straight even when the driver turns the steering wheel. This is something we haven’t really seen on such a scale before in production cars, as airbag requirements tend to discourage such designs, but smaller screens have appeared along the lines. hub edges in some models.

    “We know there is huge potential for HMI (Human Machine Interface) systems to better connect the driver with the vehicle and its environment in the future,” said Chris Tingley, CTO of the company responsible for the HMI system. . “Until now, many HMI programs, software, hardware and user experiences have been developed separately. We believe our approach of developing them as one piece is a major stepping stone to the vehicles of the future.”

    It’s also hard to ignore other unorthodox design touches, such as the lack of a windshield and a built-in fender at the top of the hood. Much has been spent on maximizing the range of the car, which is expected to be 400 miles, with low rolling resistance Potenza tires wrapped around aero wheels and closed rear wheel arches for increased efficiency. Astheimer Design is responsible for the shape of the Aura, which has been optimized for drag reduction, while Spark EV Technology designed the prototype’s battery management system, being able to estimate the available range to be less than 0, 5%. Meanwhile, Conjure developed the steering wheel display, which uses the Android operating system.

    roadster prototype aura 2021
    A wing integrated into the hood is just one of the adventurous aerodynamic solutions to be found on this concept.

    Spark EV technology

    “To successfully introduce electric vehicles to the masses, we need to make sure that they provide drivers with the correct information about how far they can travel on a single charge and take away range and points anxiety. charge, ”said Justin Ott, CEO and founder of Spark. VE technology.

    “The Aura Project has enabled leaders in their respective fields to work together to build a functional demonstrator to show the world how the industry can use the technology available today to help overcome these obstacles.”

    But don’t queue up just yet. Like the Sony EV concept sedan, which ultimately came to naught despite being quite complete as a car, this is a technology demonstrator, so there isn’t necessarily any analysis. profitability or actual production plans. And having two 44 kWh batteries on board seems quite expensive, both in terms of price and weight.

    The Aura is more of an exercise in aerodynamic efficiency and range maximization, if not an example of the most efficient or user-friendly packaging around.

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