Lunaz has an Impressive Strategy, But How Does it Compare to Electra Meccanica, Zero Labs and Garage Italia?

Last Updated on June 6, 2021

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Lunaz, which just picked up soccer celebrity David Beckham as an investor, is getting a lot of buzz for its business strategy, which involves the upcycling of classic cars (such as the 1961 Bentley Continental Flying Spur) for a planet-conscious 21st century. The company is giving such classics luxury sustainable materials, a clean battery-electric drive, and digitization.

Lunaz is still quite new, born in 2019 at Silverstone, UK, near the home of the British Grand Prix. It is the creation David Lorentz,  with early seeding from Navid Mirtorabi, and Christopher Jones, and with engineering assistance from Jon Hilton, a three time Formula 1 world championship winner.

Going Electric Since Paris 

Electric cars, are, of course, a huge market, the growth of which has been accelerated by the Paris Accord of December 2015. Just a year after that agreement had been reached, cumulative global sales of plug-in electric passenger cars (including light utility vehicles) hit the 2 million units mark.

In percentage terms, the plug-in share of annual total new car sales rose on the heels of the Paris Accord from 0.62 percent (2015) to 0.86 percent (2016). The percentage has continued its rise: it was 1.8 percent in 2020, and some projections have it reaching 2.8 percent this year. This trend plays a large part in the new Biden administration’s economic plans.

But those are new electric cars. And one of the problems holding back an even faster take-off for them has been aesthetic. The new electric cars has looked, to most tastes, bland.  In the words of automotive journalist Alex Reed, there can be “something very sterile” about their look, as if they are made to be discarded, recycled after they have served for their expected years. A traditional car design, on the other hand, looks as if it is made to be a member of the family. A classic car, on the third hand, looks as if one’s grandfather lovingly polished its hood.

Lunaz and Competition

This disjunction: the sense that electric cars are a great new technology with an overly fungible look, has brought about the market for classic car conversions. Lunaz is not alone in this market. Indeed, even when Reed wrote the story to which we have linked above, (2019) it had several competitors:  Electra Meccanica, Zero Labs, and Garage Italia among them.

Also, some companies with a heritage of classics are producing electrified versions of their own older models, as with Jaguar’s E-Type Zero, an hommage to the Jaguar E-Types of the 1960s and early 1970s, a design once called (by Enzo Ferrari no less), “the most beautiful car in the world.” Now you can have that beauty again, without the emissions. And Jaguar will bring it to you.

Lunaz David Beckham
Electric cars are a huge market, the growth of which has been accelerated by the Paris Accord of December 2015. But will Lunaz be a good investment for David Beckham? Photo credit: Lunaz

Lunaz is Branching Out

The point is that Lunaz is working within a hotly competitive market. It is perhaps unsurprising then that they are hedging their bets and branching out.  It is using its new funds, from Beckham and others, to expand into the industrial HGVs (heavy goods vehicles) such as refuse trucks. A municipality that has to choose between replacing its HGV fleet of diesel-fueled vehicles with new electrical HGVs, or getting its existing vehicles upcycled and electrified, may find (according to Lunaz’ own estimate) that it can save 43 percent by going the latter route.

So is Lunaz a good investment? It may well be. Beckham is not alone in placing this bet. The new investors include the Barclay and Reuben families, as well as Alexander Dellal, the managing director of Allied Commercial Exporters.

While the glamour associated with upcycling classics seems a world away from the glamourless HGVs, there may be important synergies to be gained by putting the two enterprises under one corporate roof. And the political and regulatory imperatives created by climate concerns may be a tide that can raise a number of rival boats, Lunaz emphatically among them.