Aura concept: British-built electric roadster boasts 400-mile range
The two-seat Aura concept could be our first glimpse at the future of the British sports car, combining a rear-wheel-drive electric powertrain with a focus on efficiency and sustainability
This is the Aura: a two-seat electric roadster concept produced by a consortium of companies that came together during the pandemic to design the British sports car of the future. The result is in the same vein as the MG Cyberster and forthcoming electric Lotus sports car – but it won't be going into production; rather it serves to showcase the capabilities of the companies that built it and explores what might be possible in the future.
No performance figures were disclosed for the Aura concept at the time of its unveiling, but according to its makers, the Aura can cover up to 400 miles on a charge thanks to two 44kWh battery packs, for a total capacity of 88kWh. For reference, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S has a usable battery capacity of 93kWh.
The first battery is located under the Aura’s long bonnet, while the second sits beneath the concept car’s floor, to aid weight distribution and improve handling. Also helping to achieve that 400-mile range is a highly aerodynamic design, which includes covered rear wheels, a sizeable rear diffuser and an 'S-Duct' in the nose of the car that helps to channel air across it.
The open-top EV’s cabin is as eye-catching as the exterior, featuring sustainable vegan leather and a 10-inch touchscreen running Android Automotive OS – much like the Polestar 2 and recently unveiled Renault Megane E-TECH Electric. In fact, the Aura is the first British car to feature this operating system.
As opposed to having a second screen behind the wheel for showing vital driving information, the Aura’s steering wheel itself is fitted with a five-inch self-levelling digital display that can show you speed, range and remaining battery capacity, among other functions.
To help alleviate range anxiety, the Aura is able to return extremely accurate real-world range readings to within 0.5% and can provide feedback as to how you can maximise your range during a trip.
The Aura is the product of several companies' work. Astheimer Design took care of the exterior and interior design and Conjure worked on the user interface. The powertrain comes from Potenza Engineering, while BAMD Composites developed the natural composite fibres and woven fabrics used for the body panels, which are not only more environmentally friendly, but also much lighter, than their metal equivalents.
The entire endeavour was funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), through the Niche Vehicle Network. As noted above, the Aura itself won't go into production in its current form, but some of its technology and ideas could be incorporated into future models from manufacturers working with the companies involved in its creation.
Full-on sports cars with electric power are few and far between at the moment, as manufacturers concentrate on high-volume family cars and SUVs, but there are several in development. These include electric replacements for the Porsche Boxster, Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110, as well as Lotus' first electric sports car, which is due in 2026.
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