The futuristic Aura concept is a one-off road-legal two-seater developed by a consortium of British companies to showcase an array of new technologies that could shape the development of electric cars.
Four outfits contributed to the project: Astheimer led the design, Potenza Technology supplied the batteries and electric motors, BAMD Composites developed the body panels and vegan interior and Conjure took care of the human-machine interface (HMI), which uses technology supplied by Spark EV to effectively manage battery charge.
Funding for the concept, which was designed and built during the pandemic-induced lockdowns and is described as "Britain's first long-range EV", came from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) through the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN). Development began on 1 October 2020, less than a year before its public debut at the Cenex-LCV show.
Although it's designed in the mould of a traditional open-top sports car, the Aura's prevailing focus is on sustainability and efficiency, rather than outright pace and dynamic agility. It was conceived to be "efficient on power and its demands on the world around it" and as such employs an array of measures to maximise range and reduce its environmental impact.
Its body is formed from lightweight and sustainably sourced natural fibre composites and shaped using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technology to optimise aerodynamic efficiency. The rear wheels are covered to reduce drag, while the prominent rear diffuser helps to reduce the car's wake. It also wears low-resistance tyres to reduce friction.
Two 44kWh battery packs are separated for optimum weight distribution and a low centre of gravity, with one positioned under the long, low 'bonnet' and the other mounted more conventionally under the floor. As well as enhancing the car's dynamic performance, this format also allows for easy access to the battery packs for maintenance.