Lunaz: world’s first electric classic Bentley and expanded UK EV manufacturing presence
“Restoration, re-engineering and electrification responds to the global requirement for a clean-air future. The Lunaz proprietary powertrain has been proven by furthering the legacies of the most significant cars in history. The time is now right to establish a significantly expanded presence to answer the global need for much wider conversion applications. Our commitment to the UK as a global centre of technical excellence in EV engineering is signalled with the commissioning of a permanent home for our rapidly growing business.”
David Lorenz, Founder, Lunaz
Lunaz, the electric vehicle engineering company and creator of electric classic cars will grow its global manufacturing headquarters by 500% in the Spring of 2021. The company will increase from its current 8,000 sq/ft facility to a 40,000 sq/ft high-tech engineering, design and manufacturing centre adjacent to its current home. This will be the largest occupied manufacturing space within the Silverstone Technology Cluster in Britain’s advanced engineering heartland.
A significantly expanded UK manufacturing footprint forms a key pillar of a multi-phased growth strategy that will see Lunaz become a global leader in the conversion of passenger and industrial vehicles. In the immediate term, expanded production capacity is required to meet rapidly growing global demand for clean-air, up-cycled expressions of the most admired classic cars in history. Lunaz enjoyed significant success in 2020 despite challenging market conditions. This growth follows the highly successful market introduction of the world’s first electric classic Rolls-Royce, Range Rover and Jaguar sportscars.
This success is underpinned by rapidly expanding global demand for truly sustainable luxury goods. Governments in many major markets are also engaged in creating legislation that will ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains in the coming two decades. This includes Lunaz’ home market of Britain, where Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a ban on the sale of new cars with internal combustion powertrains will be brought forward from to 2030.
START OF PRODUCTION FOR WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC BENTLEY:
“The Bentley Continental is the definitive British grand touring machine. Customers across the globe asked us to create the world’s first electric expressions of these iconic cars. The result marries the beauty and presence of these extraordinary cars with a proven answer to the key questions of reliability, usability and sustainability that surrounds classic car ownership. We are proud to further the legacy of the Bentley Continental with the start of full production from our significantly expanded UK manufacturing presence.”
David Lorenz, Founder, Lunaz Design
Following overwhelming customer demand, Lunaz will commence full production of the world’s first electric Bentleys.
The most recently completed car is a 1961 Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur by H.J Mulliner. It demonstrates the breadth of possibilities through collaboration between a Lunaz customer and the company’s design team, with the car presented in a contrasting yet harmonious two-tone exterior paint configuration.
The interior cabin delicately echoes the exterior aesthetic with leathers finished in a tone that matches the lustrous greens on the exterior and burr walnut hand-restored by Lunaz’ master craftspeople. The car subtly integrates modern conveniences derived from Lunaz’ re-engineering process. This includes the up-rating of suspension, brakes and the inclusion of power-steering and air-conditioning. An infotainment screen is subtly integrated to provide modern functionality like navigation and Apple CarPlay with no compromise to the authenticity of the classic design aesthetic.
The car will be used daily by one of the UK’s most eminent car collectors and includes the integration of child seats to the rear, finished in leather that matches the interior scheme.
Following private dialogue with its global customer base, Lunaz has been commissioned to restore, electrify and re-engineer some of the rarest coachbuilt examples in the breed’s history. This includes two highly coveted James Young Cars.
Lunaz will now permanently release production allocation for Bentley Continental S1, S2, S3 in two-door and four-door configuration. In addition to fixed-head cars, the company will also offer rare Continental Drophead Coupé examples.
Every classic electric Bentley by Lunaz will be subject to the same bare-metal restoration process that every Lunaz marque undergoes. Each will be offered with full modernisation through the firm’s re-engineering process before it is converted to the Lunaz proprietary electric powertrain.
These cars will be offered in strictly limited production allocations with deliveries already in progress. Prices for original factory steel-body cars start at £350,000 excluding local taxes.
GLOBAL HOME FOR LUNAZ DESIGN:
Lunaz’ new facility, which is due to be completed in the early spring of 2021 will include a state-of-the-art design and R&D hub for the company. Key technologies including surface finish, battery engineering, body restoration and craft shops for both soft and hard finishes will be housed within the new facility.
As restrictions relating to the global pandemic ease in the summer, customers will benefit from access to a hosting space on the second floor of the building with an uninterrupted view of the Silverstone Racetrack with an aspect to the podium and Club Corner. Beyond serving as the perfect experience for race-days, this suite will be the place that customers come to consult with Lunaz’ Design Team.
Classic cars by Lunaz Design represent a tailored collaboration between its customer and the company’s team of designers. The factory is designed from the ground-up to provide them with the opportunity to engage with every facet of the restoration, re-engineering and conversion of their cars.
THE LUNAZ PROPRIETARY POWERTRAIN | WIDER APPLICATIONS:
In establishing the Lunaz Design brand as the leading conversion specialist for pinnacle classic cars, the company has developed a modular and proprietary electric powertrain. This has been led by former double F1 World Championship winning Technical Director, Jon Hitlon who has drawn an engineering team from names including: McLaren, Prodrive, F1, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari and Bentley.
The Lunaz powertrain will scale to uses far beyond the conversion of classic cars. Legislation is already in place that is driving government and private entities towards replacing existing ICE fleets with electric vehicles. Conversion and up-cycling of these vehicles represents a far more cost-effective and sustainable proposition than commissioning entirely new assets. Lunaz is poised to serve this demand in line with the principles of the circular economy.
As the Lunaz Group moves through its growth phases through presence in key global markets, the new facility will establish a permanent British HQ. This will include an R&D hub and design centre for the company as it develops these new applications for the Lunaz proprietary electric powertrain. The establishment of this home facility signals a commitment to England and more specifically Silverstone as its global centre of excellence.
Lunaz will announce growth to both its classic car model portfolio and wider applications in the coming months.
Under the technical leadership of Managing Director, Jon Hilton and Engineering Director, Jason Hill, Lunaz will again double its workforce in 2021 and is actively recruiting across both traditional craftsmanship and coachbuilding disciplines and high-tech electric vehicle specialists.
Silverstone and the surrounding area is a globally recognised centre of excellence in automotive innovation. Proximity to some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, motor racing teams and electric powertrain engineering firms means Lunaz has built multidisciplinary team that will continue to expand through 2021 to 100 highly skilled roles.
KEY APPOINTMENTS – TECHNICAL AND MANUFACTURING LEADERSHIP
Jason Hill, Engineering Director
Jason is a leading specialist in the development of highly complex propulsion technology programmes. His 25 year career has seen him take on leadership positions in the development of Formula 1 powertrains, race engines and special bespoke projects, most recently at Prodrive where he spent two-decades in senior technical leadership roles.
He joins us following triumph at Le Mans where he technically led a victorious campaign in the 24 hour race.
Jason is a seasoned driver of technical strategy and will lead the application of the Lunaz proprietary powertrain to wider industrial uses.
Ian Sturman, Production Manager
Ian has over 35 years experience with some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and race operations, most recently at McLaren Automotive where he led the P1 hypercar production line.
Over his 8 years tenure he was also Head of End of Line Assembly within the main production facility and Head of Production for McLaren Automotive Motorsport, responsible for GT3 and GT4 race programmes.
On his journey to McLaren he also worked for Noble Automotive, bringing the M600 to market and completed 23 years at Cosworth Engineering, working on Indy Car, World Rally and Moto GP.
Lunaz converts vehicles to electric powertrains. From its HQ in Silverstone, England, the firm designs, engineers and manufactures a proprietary electric powertrain solution; the first in the world developed with the flexibility to be applied to a wide range of vehicles.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS: DAVID LORENZ
Lunaz’ proposition is borne from an intimate understanding that upcycling and conversion is the answer to the global requirement to consume less.
This hypothesis and the technology that underpins it was proven through furthering the legacies of the most celebrated classic cars in history through an exhaustive process of restoration, re-engineering and electrification.
Lorenz’ gathered a team of the world’s best engineers and technical minds to create a modular, proprietary powertrain that can be applied to much wider uses than classic cars. This next phase in Lunaz’ foundational strategy will begin at the company’s significantly expanded manufacturing presence in Silverstone, UK.
David Lorenz, Founder of Lunaz possesses a lifelong love of classics and as a committed driver, he sought to create cars that combines the beauty of a classic with the dynamics and usability of a modern car.
“I want to respond to the demands of those drawn to the beauty and romance of classic cars but reject them because the current proposition doesn’t align with their sensibilities and lifestyle requirements. Lunaz provides these people the perfect solution; a beautiful but usable, sustainable and reliable electric classic.”
David Lorenz, Founder, Lunaz
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS: JON HILTON
Lunaz’s Managing Director and Technical Lead, Jon Hilton’s career started by engineering the powertrains for a successful helicopter world speed record at Rolls-Royce PLC. He then moved to the development of engines for motorsport. One of the most highly regarded technical minds in his field, Hilton built his reputation as Technical Director for Renault F1 where he developed the engine for Fernando Alonso’s successive World Championships.
Hilton left to exploit the potential applications beyond the sport bred by the introduction of new Kinetic Recovery Systems (KERS). While developing this technology, Hilton also technically directed the first ever hybrid Le Mans entry for Hope Polevision Racing sparking a passion for alternative powertrains.
The KERS business worked with OEMs seeking to integrate the technology, priming him for the leadership of a fast-growing technical company like Lunaz.
“The Lunaz solution takes cars that are under threat and gives them new purpose. These cars will be true to the original in their aesthetic, peerless in their performance and effortless in their day-to-day use. To breathe new life into these vehicles represents vital engineering in the purest sense.”
Jon Hilton, Managing Director and Technical Lead, Lunaz
THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY
“By 2030, when the UK ban on internal combustion engine car sales will come into effect there will be 2 billion ICE 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.”
David Lorenz, Founder, Lunaz
Lunaz’ approach is in line with the principles of the ‘circular economy’. Its mission is to deliver pinnacle cars whilst exhausting significantly fewer resources than goes into the production and lifecycle of a new vehicle. 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 ICE vehicles that will exist by 2030. Furthering the legacies of classic cars through electrification will preserve their life and make them a relevant and usable proposition for a new generation.
RESTORATION AND ELECTRIFICATION PROCESS
“We designed inherent flexibility within our approach to upcycling the world’s most celebrated cars. The commencement of production of the first electric classic Range Rovers demonstrates the scope of vehicles that can be re-engineered and given an entirely new life through conversion to our proprietary electric powertrain.”
Jon Hilton, Technical Lead & Managing Director, Lunaz
From its inception in early 2018, the company has hired the very best engineering, design and manufacturing talent. The team has been handpicked to satisfy all of the identified requirements of Lunaz’s clientele and includes expertise from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford, Formula 1, Jaguar, Volkswagen, McLaren and Rolls-Royce.
The restoration and conversion process represents re-engineering from the ground up. It starts with an exhaustive inspection. Each corner is then weighed to understand the original weight distribution to the gram. This information informs decisions on chassis setup, powertrain packaging and suspension. The internal combustion engine and associated systems are then removed and the chassis is prepared for electrification.
The car is then 3D scanned; this allows the engineers to create detailed CAD models to ensure technical perfection in every step of the process. The specifics of Lunaz’s electric propulsion technology is closely guarded, but each classic by Lunaz is designed, developed, engineered and tested in-house using the highest specification modules available for automotive applications.
Traditional coachbuilding and restoration skills are then employed and the car is stripped down to a bare metal shell. Even imperceptible body defects are addressed by hand before the surface finish process begins.
The same approach extends to the interior. The in-house design team makes subtle adaptations to integrate modern conveniences such as satellite telecommunications, WiFi, audiovisual entertainment and navigation aids.
The accessories associated with electric powertrains including battery chargers and DC converters are sensitively integrated into the existing design of the car, utilising the fuel filler cap for charging and adapting dials to an appropriate read-out for the electrical powertrain. New air conditioning and electronic heating systems are installed and the accelerator is converted to a throttle-by-wire system. Following the uprating of braking, suspension, steering and electronics systems every circuit is tested before first start-up procedures begin.