Laureti Automotive, a UK-based automotive manufacturer, has unveiled its premiere electric SUV, christened DionX. The company claims that the SUV has a travel range of 540 kilometres on a single charge and accelerates from 0-60kph in 5.4 seconds. The vehicle is expected to be manufactured in Puducherry with an investment of $370 million (Rs 2,578 crore). At present, the prototype e-SUV is being built in Spain.
Laureti is scheduled to demonstrate the performance of DionX through the ‘Laureti Endurance Trip’ in August 2019. The trip involves a challenge to make the journey of 6,000km in less than 12 charge cycles. The journey will begin from Leh, Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, covering seven major cities – Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. Laureti says it will display the live dashboard data, drive status and highlights of the journey in real time on all major online networks as well as specially built digital display-boards in various city centres. The live dashboard data will publish vehicle location, mileage, battery status and charging performance.
‘‘Use of a combination of specific battery technology and power systems gave us the key breakthrough results to bring forth DionX. This enables Laureti to produce highly efficient long range EVs that come with a battery life guarantee of up to 100,000 km,’’ says Emmanuel Laurent, managing director of Laureti.
‘‘Laureti will also be known for its safety aspect especially in the Indian market. We sourced a lot of data and research on road conditions and traffic behaviour in building our technology solutions to achieve the top mark in safety standards. We are looking forward to publishing further test results and demonstrating them live in the ‘Endurance Trip’ this year,’’ says Marcus Paleti, CEO of Laureti Automotive Corporation. “Most of the breakthrough technologies used in making DionX are sourced from cooperation and joint ventures with leading innovative companies in France who I think will be major contributors for the success of Laureti,” he added.
To be made in Puducherry
Marcus has confirmed with Autocar Professional that the state government of Puducherry has been assisting it for the past 14 months for the new facility, which would come with an investment of $370 million (Rs 2,568 crore). The facility will commence operations in the third quarter of 2021, with an initial capacity of 10,000 vehicles per annum and an expansion plan of 20,000 vehicles per annum by 2023. DionX and its components will be manufactured and assembled in the Puducherry facility.
The company has also revealed that a number of technology companies have joined forces to produce the DionX. According to Laureti, they include leading technology companies, battery producers, power systems developers, R&D team members from top universities working on AI and semi-autonomous features in safety.
The vehicle’s electronics, telematics, power systems, control systems and battery management can be remotely accessed and serviced, thus claiming to reduce the average repair and service duration by one third of the traditional. In the prototype vehicle built in Spain, the battery technology is being sourced from UK, control units and motor units are from France, telematics from Germany, regenerative braking technology from Italy and the overall engineering from Croatia.
According to Laureti, the valuation of the company is heading close to GBP 110 million (Rs 976 crore) in the coming financial year based on the design, technology, market share, brand share, current IP assets, prototype asset, and the management team. It further claims that the company is able to achieve key milestones through its own funding such as research, patents applications (in the area of regenerative braking, battery compositions, power distribution and control systems and telematic functionalities) in addition to design and fully-functional prototype. The entire prototyping and development activities are based in Spain and all their associations are based in Europe and the US.
Laureti claims to have executed several joint ventures that secured necessary technology, funding and infrastructure to deploy 100,000 charging points across all major cities in India. It projects the network to become operational by 2020 through an exclusive leasing agreement it procured for India. It also claims to have partnered with a company in Europe that charges a 100 kwh battery in 4.20 seconds (passenger car) and a bus in 10 minutes. The technology is currently being used in pilot projects across various cities in China.
The DionX e-SUV is projected to be priced around Rs 40 lakh and would be available in two variants according to official sources. Bookings are expected to open by the end of the year. Laureti is preparing to showcase DionX simultaneously in European and Indian motor shows with the vehicle launched in both these markets simultaneously.
While Laureti’s plans and product look promising, it is yet to be seen how the company would fulfill its aspirations in the nascent EV space.