The Spanish startup Lupa has announced plans to bring its first electric model onto the road by 2023. The Barcelona-based company is planning a range of pretty low-cost models with the battery sold separately, eventually.
The first model, the E26 with a range of up to 400 kilometres, will be offered from 2023 onwards at prices starting at 17,000 euros with the battery that is worth 9,400 euros (prices excluding tax and state subsidies). As the company envisions a future in which batteries can be sold separately as well, we reached out to see how this would work at the beginning.
Lupa founder Carlos Álvarez had the following reply: “The first model, if you buy it new, will have to be with battery, unless you buy it second-hand from another client. What we want is that the client can change cars every two, three years without having to invest in paying for the battery. Also, in this way and with the PowerHome we manage to extend the life of the battery and be more ecological.”
We will get to these second-lives in a bit but first to the actual electric vehicle itself: The Lupa E26 will utilise a skateboard-like platform to house a compact drive train (electric motor, transmission and power electronics are combined in one unit) and the battery. Lupa’s founder told us, they had yet to decide but would “surely buy it” rather than developing the architecture in-house.
The E26 is a 4.07-metre long small car comparable to a Peugeot e-208 or Renault Zoe with its technical specifications. In sport mode, the power output is said to be 87 kW, in normal mode 66 kW, in city mode it is still 48 kW. Depending on the driving mode, the range should be between 320 and 400 kilometres, according to WLTP.
Optionally, Lupa will offer an 11 kW onboard charger to charge the battery in 5:15 hours. With the standard single-phase charger, The company specifies eight hours for a full charge. The DC charger, which is also optional, should enable a charge to 80 per cent in 30 minutes.
The E26 and the announced following models would be sold exclusively online. Lupa says it will cooperate with many workshops for deliveries and maintenance work. The company around founder and CEO Alvarez also claims that the team is made up of engineers from Ferrari, Land Rover, McLaren and Nissan.
And, the Spanish EV startup is not limiting itself to the personal mobility sector. In 2023, Lupa is thinking to launch an electric delivery van optimised for last-mile deliveries. The following year, they will refocus on personal transport with plans for two SUV models, called SUV64 and SUV42 in 2024. The SUV with the battery likely increased to 64 kWh, will cost 23,000 euros net. The SUV42 is priced at 19,100 euros before tax, without battery, the model is supposed to cost 11,500 euros.
But now to the remarkable feature of Lupa’s technical and business strategy, the replaceable battery, expected to cost 8,700 euros. The company claims that every model will fit the same battery and that any cooperating workshop may fix it. Based on this separate battery ownership, Lupa envisions future business models. For example, if the car is resold as a used car without a battery, the new owner can buy their own battery from Lupa and thus obtain a cheaper vehicle with a new battery than when buying a new car. This also means that the used car seller can install the battery from an E26 in their new SUV42 which also saves money in comparison to buying a new car with battery. The battery should have a life of 8-10 years. Of course, this only makes sense once there is a market for used Lupa electric cars.
The same holds for the planned PowerHome setup that again involves batteries sold separately. Lupa claims batteries can thus have a longer use-life of up to 20 years.
CEO Álvarez hopes that the battery concept will not only lead to a more sustainable use of the battery in second-life applications but also increased customer loyalty.
Manufacturing will take place in Barcelona, but the company has not given further details about production, or key components suppliers and details of their financing.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.
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