Aehra: new all-electric SUV to come with 497-mile range
The Italian firm has found a partner to provide batteries for its luxury EV
It seems like every car maker is scrambling to make an electric SUV these days, looking to join the luxury VIP area of the party is Aehra with its eponymously-named SUV. We expect the newcomer to be priced from around £157,000, but it won’t hit the market until 2025.
Aehra’s plans have just received a big boost after it signed a partnership deal with Austrian battery supplier Miba to develop a bespoke battery for the SUV and Aehra’s saloon model. Aehra says the two companies will be able to optimise body structure, range, efficiency and weight saving.
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The Aehra marque (pronounced 'era') was only launched in 2022, so its first vehicle has been turned around impressively quickly. Based in Milan, the firm says its SUV “rewrites the automotive design rulebook” and it takes design inspiration from motorbikes and supercars.
Powertrain, battery and range
Aehra has previously said it was looking for a battery capacity of 120kWh in the SUV – which would make the unit one of the largest available in a production electric car. It will power three electric motors – one on the front axle and two on the rear – providing up to 805bhp. Despite the large battery, charging should be up with the fastest in the EV world with plans for market-leading 925V architecture to recharge at a rate of 350kW.
The same platform and battery will also feature on an upcoming saloon model, which will also offer the same lengthy three-metre wheelbase. The SUV sits on a monocoque body with carbon-fibre used in its construction and Aehra says this will offer "exceptional agility and driving pleasure". A kerbweight of under two tonnes is being targeted for the SUV. Despite the size of the vehicle, its drag coefficient is just 0.21. To put that into perspective, the longest range EV on sale is the Mercedes EQS saloon which has a drag coefficient of 0.20.
Sustainability is a key driver, says Aehra, and the structural components of the SUV and upcoming sedan will be able to be recycled up to 5 times, with non structural elements potentially being used further. Both cars share 70 per cent of components as well, keeping costs down.
Aehra is looking to produce 20,000 to 25,000 units of each car once production is underway. The sedan is scheduled to be revealed in early 2023 and will sit as a cheaper alternative, although it should provide even greater range due to it sitting lower than the SUV. Customers will be able to purchase them online or through the ‘salons’ from which Aehras will be distributed.
Following on from the saloon model, a 2+2 sports car is even being planned – utilising the shortened version of Aehra’s modular platform.
For an SUV, the Aehra is remarkably sleek in its proportions, featuring ultra-slim overhangs and a windscreen that extends over the front axle. The surfacing is smooth and there are no protruding door handles that,along with the tiny virtual door mirrors, could aid the SUV’s drag coefficient.
The front-end is distinguished by the use of thin lighting strips for the headlights and fog lights. Behind the front wheels are some huge air vents, which will help channel air away from the wheel arch and there are similar elements on the bonnet. The Aehra has also been designed to incorporate active aerodynamic elements.
The sloping roofline means Aehra’s creation is very much a coupe-SUV, and at the rear we see another thin LED lighting arrangement. The firm claims its SUV will use "leading-edge battery platform technology, targeting a range of at least 800km (497 miles) and awe-inspiring performance".
With four top hinged doors, an oblong steering wheel and a full-width dashboard display, the Aera’s cabin is steeped in sci-fi style technology. The major touch points are trimmed in hand-stitched leather, aluminium and carbon fibre, with swathes of configurable ambient lighting on the dashboard, door panels and footwells. With a three-metre long wheelbase and a flat floor, the Aehra offers enough space for five tall adults, with both four and five seat layouts available. The front and rear seats can recline and passengers are greeted by an enormous screen that spans the base of the windscreen, which includes speed, navigation and climate information during normal driving.
However, when parked, the display screen can extend upwards to form an enormous monitor to watch content or make conference calls. The Aera’s main infotainment functions are operated through a smaller central touchscreen, and there are digital mirror displays at the extremes of the dashboard. We expect the same technology feature in the SUV to make its way over to the saloon.
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