If you think of Indian automotive design as a whole, you will have names of very few designers. One of them is Dilip Chabbaria and the other is Chetan Shedjale of Harley-Davidson fame. There is also Pratap Bose of Tata Motors who is credited with the new age delectable Tata designs. Heard of Chunky Vazirani? Chances are you might not have. A few months ago, a press release announced that India is now ready with its first hyper car and an electric one at that. It was the brain child of ex-Yamaha, Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo and Rolls Royce. Phew! That’s a very impressive resume. Chunky has now partnered with Kazunori Yamauchi and his team at Gran Turismo for the Vazirani Shul hyper car. The Vazirani Shul also has backing from the Sahara Force India Formula One. Both will work closely for the development of the car.
Propulsion for the Vazirani Shul
Chunky says that he has teams in the UK, Japan, California, Italy and the US working on the car. The vehicle will be propelled by a jet turbine electric powertrain. The turbine acts as an onboard generator, charging the batteries on the go. This allows Vazirani Automotive to use a lightweight battery pack. This reduces the weight, adds a sound element and enhances the range. A conventional petrol hybrid will also be introduced at a later stage, says the Art Center College of Design in California graduate. As of now, the power output has been rated at more than 1,000PS.
Given below are the set of questions that we asked Chunky and his response to them.
1) Why the sudden if beautiful desire to create a hyper car?
Supercars have always fascinated me since I was a child. Born and raised in Mumbai, it was a rare opportunity to see any supercar on the road. I had to settle by glancing through magazines and posters. At the back of my mind I always wondered why these cars never stemmed from India. After graduating and gaining experience from around the world, the question ‘why not from India?’ consumed me and that’s when I decided to move back with a mission of giving India its first hypercar.
2) Is the vehicle being designed in-house? Are there any inspirations for the design?
Yes, the vehicle is designed in-house. I drew upon my Indian heritage and beliefs to bring to life a new possibility for a modern supercar. I wanted to portray a different side of India that is lesser known, the side that focuses on getting closer to your soul. We set out to create an alternate supercar against the traditional aggression and attention focused supercars of the world. A car that would create a sublime observation of true, controlled, quiet power to reconnect one with the self in an immersive driving experience.
The proportions are a reflection of the technology package underneath. The advent of the new electric technology gave us the opportunity to rethink the architecture. Due to the components being smaller, we utilised all the extra volume to aerodynamics. We had opportunities to creatively channel the air through and around the car to reduce drag and improve down-force. Our double diffuser is one of the biggest in the industry with the creative packaging of the components around it.
In terms of the aesthetics, there are certain elements around the car that have a connection to lord Shiva. The Trishul-‘weapon from heaven’ on the body side of the car and the Tripundra DRLs in the headlights, these elements add a subtle Indian touch to the functional design.
3) What’s the future plan for the Shul?
The production and launch detail is the next phase that involves making the functioning prototype which we have already started working on. We expect to start testing this during the third quarter of next year and we will keep fine tuning the car until its ready for production which will commence during early 2021.
4) Expected price when it comes to India
We will announce this in due course
5) How will the service aspect be handled?
We will announce this in due course
6) Any innovative marketing campaigns being planned for the marketing?
We believe that a great product will sell itself and hence all our focus is on the product development.
7) From where is Vazirani Automotive getting the requisite funding?
We have investors who have put in the seed funding. We aim to raise funding in the near future to take us to production.
8) What is the commercial feasibility of the product?
We are not just a hypercar company, but a design and technology company as well. We want to work with other OEMs to assist them in designing and developing their future products.
9) DC Designs already made India’s first sportscar. However, it hasn’t been a commercial success. Does it act as a deterrent to your plans?
No, this product is not just for the local market. It is designed keeping the international market in mind.
10) Which OEMs are involved in the development of the Shul?
We have worked with multiple companies around the world. Some that we can talk about and some that we cannot. To mention a few, we worked with Brembo for the brakes and Michelin for the tyres. The tyres on our car were a bespoke set specially made for the Shul by Michelin.
11) Does the Vazirani Shul have any level of autonomy associated with the drivetrain?
No, it’s a driver’s car.
12) If the Vazirani Shul will be launched in India, have the road conditions being factored in? Given the dearth of a decent patch where one can even drive an SUV, it will be a tad hard selling a hypercar?
Passion supersedes practicality in this segment. The Indian market has seen a rapid rise in the supercar segment in the last few years and its only going to grow. Let’s hope, the roads get fixed by the time the Shul is ready.