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Former England captain David Beckham aims to score another electrifying goal as a new high profile investor in expanding British electric vehicle company Lunaz, which converts petrol and diesel vehicles to green battery power.
Having established its reputation as a world-leader transforming luxury classics such as Range Rovers 4X4s, Bentleys and Rolls-Royce limousines and Jaguar sports cars to run as zero-emissions – at a cost of between £240,000 and £1/2million – the arrival of Beckham among a group of new investors aims to kick start the firm’s significant expansion into converting larger commercial vehicles and HGVs.
That includes refuse trucks and even fire engines- on a much bigger scale using its own proprietary electric powertrain.
This could see the firm – which says it is ‘committed to Britain’ – increasing its workforce from 60 to 500 highly skilled jobs by 2024, it says. The first prototype is aptly ‘a recycled refuse truck’.
Stake: Former England captain David Beckham aims to score another electrifying goal as a new high profile investor in expanding British electric vehicle company Lunaz
Car fan Beckham is one of a group of new investors that includes the Reuben Brothers, the Barclay Family and Alexander Dellal.
They join founding investors Navid Mirtorabi and Christopher Jones who are both entrepreneurs and investors in ‘clean-tech’ start-ups.
Taking a 10 per cent stake in the company, Beckham, who recently announced he was a brand ambassador for Italy’s Lamborghini, said the Silverstone-based firm demonstrated ‘best of British ingenuity’ in both technology and design and was drawn to it because of its work in restoring and ‘upcycling’ some of the world’s most beautiful classic cars and making them zero-emissions for the 21st century.
The firm said it was embarking on ‘an ambitious new growth phase following backing by a group of strategic investors’.
Founded in 2018 by entrepreneur David Lorenz and triple F1 World Championship winning technical director Jon Hilton, Lunaz recycles, restores, re-engineers and electrifies existing and classic vehicles to clean-air powertrains – known as ‘upcycling’ because it aims to both improve them and prolong their lifespan as environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Fresh thinking: Lunaz boss and founder David Lorenz, investor David Beckham and managing director Jon Hilton
It comes against the background of the government planning to ban all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 as towns and cities like London, Birmingham and Bath introduce clean air zones that charge drivers of all but the lowest or zero emissions vehicles to enter.
Lunaz announced: ‘Following this injection of growth capital Lunaz is announcing ambitious plans to grow its offering to the upcycling and electrification of industrial vehicles on a mass global scale.
‘Lunaz will begin with industrial HGV vehicles including refuse trucks, of which 80 million currently exist in the UK, EU and USA alone. ‘
Beckham said of his latest investment: ‘Lunaz represents the very best of British ingenuity in both technology and design. I was drawn to the company through their work restoring some of the most beautiful classic cars through upcycling and electrification.
‘David Lorenz and his team of world-class engineers are building something very special and I very much look forward to being part of their growth.’
Lunaz said: ‘Through his investment arm Beckham has successfully identified and backed fast-growth start-ups in sectors as diverse as eSports and athletic recovery products. He took a 10% stake in the company.’
The firm says demand for such electric conversions services will increase around the world as politicians and environmentalists force petrol and diesel vehicles out of city centres like London by imposing clean air zones: ‘This growth has accelerated as individual and hospitality buyers across the globe rebalance their fleets in response to increasing pressure from legislators to limit the use of high-emissions vehicles in city-centres.
All about Lunaz
Lunaz is based at Silverstone which, aside from hosting F1 racing, has also become a hub for advanced automotive technology .
Producing its first cars from 2019, its Lunaz Design arm created the world’s first fully-electric Range Rover, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Jaguar sports cars through its Lunaz Design brand.
The 1961 Bentley Continental Flying Spur by Lunaz, costing £350,000, was awarded by BBC Top Gear in its ‘Electric Vehicle Awards’ issue.
Prices start at £245,000 (excluding tax) for an electrified Range Rover Classic. An electrified Rolls-Royce Phantom V, a limousine starts at £500,000 (excluding tax).
‘With major market bans on the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles being brought forward, there is a pressing requirement for industry to find viable alternatives to scrapping the estimated 2billion internal combustion engine vehicles that will exist by 2030’.
Lunaz says its engineering team comprises a world-class group of technical specialists drawn from companies including Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, McLaren, Renault Formula 1, Prodrive, Ferrari and Cosworth.
Lunaz founder and CEO David Lorenz noted: ‘By 2030, when the UK ban on internal combustion engine car sales will come into effect there will be 2 billion internal combustion engined vehicles on the planet.
‘Without conversion to electric, this will represent mass redundancy of finite resources that could otherwise be re-used. Our approach answers the urgent need to extend the life of these vehicles for future generations.’
Lorenz, wjo is married with one daughter, Luna, after whom the company is named, explained: ‘The upcycling of existing passenger, industrial and commercial vehicles presents a sustainable alternative to replacing with new.
‘Our approach will save fleet operators capital while dramatically reducing waste in the global drive towards de-carbonisation.’
Lorenz added: ‘Our commitment to Silverstone affirms the United Kingdom’s status as a leader in the development of clean-air automotive technologies.
‘Firms like ours, which operate in the principles of the circular economy show that British industry can provide potent answers to the global need to transition to less impactful industrial practices.’
Lunaz says its electric conversion will extend the life of up to 70% of the existing weight and embedded carbon within a vehicle, and will save fleet operators significant costs compared with replacing existing vehicles with new.
It noted: ‘For example, a municipal authority could save more than 43% in the total cost of ownership of an upcycled and electrified refuse truck versus replacing their existing fleet with new equivalent vehicles. ‘
The Lunaz Group said it was committed long-term to Britain and specifically Silverstone as its global HQ: ‘This reflects the company’s confidence in the United Kingdom’s leadership in the development of electric powertrains.’
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