Opinion: Exciting new brand Aehra needs to show off its viability

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There’s no denying the new Aehra SUV’s stage presence, but the firm has lofty ambitions and a tight timeframe

It seems every week a new electric SUV is being launched with an eye-watering price tag. Recent entrants to the rarified high-rider sphere include the £100,000-plus BMW iX, the range-topping £120,000 Lotus Eletre R and the £143,000 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV.

New Italian-American outfit Aehra’s first venture surpasses the lot, tipping at just over £155,000; the firm targeting the “ultra premium” segment – which it says is under-occupied.  

Only California-based Lucid (whose SUV remains under wraps) is listed as an obvious rival, with CEO Hazim Nada proclaiming the brand will “eclipse” the European big brands such as BMW, Porsche and Mercedes.

But the car it has presented at launch – with a blacked-out cabin and no mechanical innards to speak of – feels very far away from its 2025 arrival, when production will start and first deliveries will be made – a saloon is also confirmed for the same year.

Currently, Nada says talks are still underway with suppliers, throwing details of its final battery size, range and motive power – it may get two or three motors, depending on the firm Aehra partners with – up in the air.

A factory base has also yet to be found, meaning the “proudly Italian” brand may not even set up shop in the country. Its goal of producing 25,000 units per year (around 10,000 more than Bentley achieved in its record-breaking 2021, for reference) is ambitious, to say the least. 

Yet, leaving viability to one side, the brand should be praised for doing what others haven’t: created something truly unique in its conception and design. Styled like a supercar, touting the practicality and comfort of an SUV, and – if all goes well with suppliers – pushing out the performance of a grand tourer.

And when those much sorely needed supply chains are established, real thought has already been given to how best utilise them: the upcoming saloon will share 70% of the SUV’s parts, including the battery, to minimise costs and speed up production.

So, Aehra really could be one of those rare start-up gems that fulfils its early promises, but – and it’s a big but – real progress needs to start being made behind the scenes.

Source: Autocar

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