Niche marque’s opening bid

September 13 - 19, 2017

Gulf Weekly Niche marque’s opening bid

British electric vehicle start-up Alcraft Motor Company has revealed details of its first car, the high-performance Alcraft GT.

The business is targeting a start of production in 2019, and is launching a crowd-funding campaign offering motoring enthusiasts the chance to play a part in the development of the car and a new brand.

Alcraft Motor Company has been founded by businessman David Alcraft. He has assembled a core team including niche car veteran Charles Morgan, ex-Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders CEO Christopher Macgowan, designer Matt Humphries, and ex-Toyota, Daewoo and Michelin senior executive Mark Carbery.

The engineering partner is Silverstone-based Delta Motorsport, whose expertise in electric drivetrains and battery systems sees it working both with global car manufacturers and at the highest levels of motor sport. Other partners include specialist British companies Sevcon and KS Composites, and agreements are in place with major suppliers including Continental for safety systems and Michelin for tyres.

“We want to build a British car company which brings together traditional skills and high technology for the emerging low carbon car market”, David.

“We’re about combining great design, outstanding dynamics and the visceral thrill of electric powertrains to create products that are high in performance and desirability but very usable. We hope this will establish a niche For Alcraft Motor in Britain’s renowned specialist low-volume car industry.”

The Alcraft GT is not another electric supercar – it’s extremely sporty yet practical, with a shooting brake-style rear giving access to a 500-litre luggage area, and a 300-mile range.

The fundamental concept is battery-only, but has been designed and engineered so that a range-extender could be added. It has also been designed so that it can be made as a 2+2 rather than a two-seater.

Although there has been an emphasis on developing a car with outstanding handling and dynamics, the absolute numbers associated with the three-motor, four-wheel drive powertrain are impressive.

Virtual engineering has provided expected figures of 840 lb ft torque and 600hp which, with four-wheel drive, torque vectoring and light weight, result in an estimated 0-62mph time of 3.5 secs. The batteries are in a T-shaped pack between and behind the driver and passenger seats.

The design features ultra-clean surfaces and visible structural elements. The exposed carbon-fibre B-pillars and roof structure are part of the aesthetic but serve as both a safety cell and a device to create an exceptionally- light cabin, with a roof made largely of glass and a wraparound front screen.

Morgan has recently agreed to step up his involvement with the business. His new role, director of innovation, will see him focusing on Alcraft’s plans for innovation and further models. He will also be involved in market development.

Prior to initially becoming an advisor, he had spent almost 30 years with world-renowned British low-volume car maker Morgan Motor Company. The founder’s grandson had spells as strategy director and managing director, but was voted off the company’s board. He remains a shareholder.

“I want to help develop a zero-emissions vehicle for the current environment,” he explained. “I’m involved with Alcraft Motor Company because it gives me the opportunity to do that and to bring together traditional craftsmanship with the latest technologies.

“Britain is a centre for innovation, in everything from fashion to Formula 1 and automotive engineering. I think that Alcraft Motor has a real opportunity to tap into these skills and create something very exciting.”

His views are reflected in the fact that he is a research associate at Birmingham City University, where he is currently doing a PhD on craftsmanship in the age of digital engineering.

So far, the new company has been entirely founder-funded, but Alcraft is now seeking outside finance to assist with the next stage of development, which will include building a prototype.

As well as seeking private equity, a crowdfunding project has been set up and a flexible target of BD300,000 has been reported. The crowd-funding bands range from BD5 to BD12,500.

Anyone partaking in the highest tier will qualify for a host of rewards, and will also receive a BD12,500 discount on one of the first 15 cars produced. Those vehicles are provisionally priced between BD65,000 and BD72,500.

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