Unveiling your company’s first car ever at the Goodwood Festival of Speed must feel really special, but to paraphrase Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Now that the concept had been showcased, the tech to power it had to be worked upon. Enter Vazirani Ekonk. Mumbai-based Vazirani Automotive recently took the wraps off the Ekonk, a track-only electric hypercar, that will serve as a testbed for the Vazirani Shul that was revealed at Goodwood. There were a lot of questions to be answered and so we had a conversation with Chunky Vazirani, Founder and CEO, Vazirani Automotive.
The startup had been two years into its operations when the Shul was first revealed in 2018, post which Chunky tells us that it received great interest from prospective customers. Work on the technology development was then started with a focus on making EVs efficient and lightweight, especially since the Shul is meant to be a sports car.
“We thought of a unique way to build our battery packs. The Ekonk uses DiCo tech for which Vazirani has multiple patents. It cools the battery using air.” While the likes of Tesla and Porsche use liquid-cooling for their EVs, Chunky states that air-cooling tech ensures a lightweight construction. In fact, the Ekonk is the lightest EV ever made in the world. The car weighs in at 738 kg and produces 722 hp which takes it rather close to a 1:1 power to weight ratio.
The team has been experimenting with torque vectoring and vehicle dynamics, and eventually, learnings from the Ekonk will be used in the Shul. However, the Ekonk will also be put into a limited-run production after the Shul. It currently uses an 18 kWh battery that offers a 160-185 km range and can be charged to 80 percent in 17.5-18 minutes. The concept is to take a few laps and put it to fast-charge at the track.
Vazirani marked its five years with a test run of the Ekonk recently on NATRAX track at Mahindra’s test facility.
Considering that the culture for electric hypercar hasn’t caught on in India yet, even more so for track-only cars which the Ekonk is, Vazirani will primarily target markets like the US, the UK and Europe where track-only car culture is big.
Chunky opines that work in the field of autonomous cars is going strong and when driverless cars do take over, recreational driving on the track will gain more traction.
However, he continues: “Shul is our first priority and we expect to begin production in 2023 with a limited batch of under 500 cars. We’re still in the process of making decisions in terms of the specifications that will be used ultimately and the price would depend on that. The next six months will define where the manufacturing will take place.”
Vazirani is working with several partners in Europe with Michelin being its tyre partner. Eventually, after the launch, Chunky also aims to get the Shul featured on the Gran Turismo gaming simulator.
“We want not just the people who’d buy the Shul to experience it but even others through the means of a gaming simulator.”
Answering a question about how the Ekonk would compete against its petrol competitors, Chunky says that the “Ekonk offers great performance on the track with absolutely no lag. We realise that a customer willing to buy a track-only car would perhaps not be aiming to save the planet and rather just looking to have a time of their life. The Ekonk delivers on that effortlessly whilst saving the polar bear.”
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