Aehra’s stunning carbon-tubbed all-electric SUV revealed

08th November 2022
Ethan Jupp

It’s difficult these days, if ever it were easy, to lend a cursory glance when a new manufacturer says it’s launching an electric SUV. They’re just about the only flavour of the month. We’re sure you’ll agree though, that with a first glance at Milanese start-up Aehra’s new entry into the segment, it’s difficult not to break your neck going for a double-take.


It’s a properly slender, elegant and curvaceous thing, with supercar hallmarks hard-baked into a premium four-door family SUV. Aehra says mission one was to be like nothing else yet offered and to weaponise the freedoms of design afforded by a dedicated all-electric architecture, that legacy marques and upstarts alike have yet to take advantage of. Indeed, this is the most blatant snub of 'three box' convention we've yet seen.

At the rear three-quarter, there’s a bit of “what if Porsche ‘Model Y’d’ the Taycan”. There's a split active wing and blade-like lights, while the profile does away with overhangs and aggressive creases. It’s smooth, but carries itself like a supercar, like Mission E meets Bluefin Tuna. Have you seen a more aggressive dispensing with the now defunct ‘bonnet’ in an EV to date? That's very deliberate, with Aehra claiming that the kind of 'frunk' seen in some EVs gets very little real-world use, begging the question, why have it at all?


Up front, it’s definitely its own thing, with two power bulges on the vented bonnet living on in ‘tusks’ in the upper grille, which feeds air under and through the winged nose. The lights are slim and aggressive, but pretty, with double-stacked day-runners front and rear. Air curtain vents bulge out into the gently exaggerated front arches, with a subtle splitter and central vent at the bottom.

Overall the design has been CFD-hewn front-to-rear, with active aerodynamic elements employed at both ends. The rough coefficient of drag is a staggering 0.21, with overall aero pressure massively reduced compared to conventional rivals. All told? It is concept meets reality in a very good way. For an SUV? A slam dunk.


The supercar-like touches don’t stop with the looks. Just look at those doors! Skyward opening patented 'Elytra' doors are forcing the mid-2000s concept car nerd in us to say it’s giving off Ford Iosis Concept vibes. We can’t think of many other four-door cars that did the ‘McLaren’ thing at the front and back and yes, they're a cert for production.

They're a clue, too, as to the exotic construction of the Aehra, which utilises a crushed carbon tub that’s both cheaper and lighter than carbon fibre and more recyclable, made in a press rather than an autoclave. This underpinning will be used in the upcoming saloon too. In fact, Aehra claims the overall car – 120kWh battery included – should weigh less than two tonnes when it goes into production in 2025. The body-in-white is expected to be just 170kg.


Powertrain partnerships are to-be-determined, though Aehra’s targets are clear: 750-800PS (550-600kW) from two or three electric motors and a near 500-mile range figure. Ambitious? Yes, though with its low weight targets and slippery aero, it’s entirely possible.

When you learn who they brought in for the job of designing the Aehra SUV, its good looks suddenly don’t seem so surprising. Project lead and Aehra Chief Design Officer Filipo Perini was the designer of the original Lamborghini Aventador and most Lamborghini models and concepts from that early 2010s era. He also did a stint further back at Alfa Romeo, with secondary roles in the designs of the GTV, Brera and even the stunning 8C supercar. Joining him is Allesandro Serra, the man that penned the fighter jet-aping Lamborghini Reventon.


“With the Aehra SUV, we have shunned the conservative constraints that have encumbered all other car manufacturers in their approach to designing EV vehicles to date,” Pirini says.

“Instead, we have taken a highly courageous approach. And at Aehra, this mindset drives not just the design of our vehicles, but every aspect, including engineering, the layout of the interior, the state-of-the- art sustainable materials we use and how we are redefining the entire customer journey.

“We have created a vehicle that goes far beyond the conventional standards set by the automotive industry for an SUV, and sets new benchmarks for style and comfort. We have used a monobody construction, which, while used widely in Italy in the past, is now normally reserved for supercars only. We have taken an equally radical approach to aerodynamics, which play a central role in the design, driving characteristics and efficiency of the SUV.”


So what's it called? This is where things get a bit weird. Aehra says its cars won't have names. This is only called SUV, because that's the type of car the marque intends to deconstruct and redefine with this first model. The next is simply a "Saloon".

We've not yet seen the cabin, with Aehra saying it wants to get the most exposure for its next-gen HMI with a staggered media reveal strategy.

Sales will occur through a mix of physical dealers and online, with production and sales targets of up to 25,000 cars per year once fully up and running. Price? Not cheap. Think Urus rather than Q8, DBX rather than Cayenne, though no specific number has been given yet.

What do you think of the Aehra? We're very taken by the radical design concepts and impressed by the innovative construction. It's ambitious and bold: exactly what's needed to succeed in an era of such volatile change. We hope they do.

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