Better for the planet. Better for the taxpayer: Lunaz unveils first upcycled industrial electric vehicle (UEV) following completion of funding round

“We are proud to stand amongst some of the fastest growing companies in the UK. By upcycling and electrifying industrial vehicles at scale, millions of tonnes of embedded carbon is saved by dramatically extending the usable life of thousands of vehicles that would otherwise be scrapped. By applying this approach to public sector vehicles like refuse trucks we deliver a result that is better for the taxpayer and better for the planet.” 
David Lorenz, Founder, Lunaz 

Lunaz is delighted to announce the closing of an investment round that values the business established in 2018 at $200 million (USD). This confirms the company’s status as one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies.

This growth capital is funding the establishment of the UK’s largest remanufacturing and electrification facility adjacent to the company’s current HQ in Silverstone, UK. This takes Lunaz’ total manufacturing footprint to 210,000 sq/ft making it the largest company within the globally renowned Silverstone Technology Cluster by space and employees.

The new HQ for Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT) will be a state-of-the-art engineering, design and production hub for the manufacture of upcycled electric vehicles (UEVs) for industrial applications. This starts with the introduction of electrified and re-engineered refuse trucks. This is the first of many upcycled Lunaz product that will be built on the Mercedes-Benz Econic platform, one of the world’s most popular vehicles for specialist industrial uses including for airport services vehicles, construction site logistics, waste management and fire and rescue. Vehicles in this class (5,6,7 and 8) represent a total addressable market, primed for upcycling and electrification, of 80 million existing units in the UK, EU and US alone. The company has already signed fleet electrification agreements with major councils and private entities in the UK and US and will be moving ahead to full market entry in 2023.

This expansion confirms Lunaz as a leader in the rapidly expanding clean-tech sector. The new upcycling and electrification industry responds to the pressing need to find more ecologically viable and cost-effective solutions to transition the more than 2 billion vehicles that currently exist to clean-air powertrains. This is in the wake of aggressive legislation to ban the sale of new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles globally within the next decade.

The company’s growth has been built on the foundations of a highly strategic investor base. Together they have competencies and interests across the globe across relevant sectors including engineering, logistics, media, technology and investment banking. This includes Frederic Wakeman, the former Managing Partner of Advent International, one of the largest and most experienced global private equity firms. He adds to a group that also includes the Reuben, Barclay and Dallal families, David Beckham and US-based Brendan Iribe, co-founder and former CEO of Oculus VR which was acquired by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, in 2014.

“In backing Lunaz I have invested in the proven potential of upcycling and electrification as an effective solution to the pressing question of how the world transitions sustainably to clean-air powertrains. Governments and companies need to urgently find ways to decarbonise their fleets. This approach dramatically saves money for the tax-payer and preserves millions of tonnes of embedded carbon for the planet. Lunaz has the technology, team and momentum to execute an ambitious global plan. I am proud to be part of one of the fastest growing companies in the UK.” 
Frederic Wakeman, Investor and Board Member, Lunaz

Their experience and influence will underpin Lunaz’ ambitious global expansion plans, including the establishment of production facilities in close proximity to the markets in which it operates globally. This strategic approach to selecting investors from diverse global backgrounds reflects the company’s global ambitions. This includes maximising cost and carbon savings in the logistics chain beyond those found within the upcycling and electrification process Lunaz is pioneering by strategically placing factories in close proximity to the global markets it operates in. The United States and key sites across Europe and Asia are already being assessed.

Lunaz is delighted to unveil its first Upcycled Industrial Electric Vehicle (UEV), creating a new classification of electric vehicles (EVs).

A UEV by Lunaz represents a dramatic carbon and cost saving versus replacing current vehicles with new electric equivalents. Upcycling, remanufacturing and electrification will play a vital role in plotting a more economically and ecologically viable course to global fleet decarbonisation. This also addresses significant capacity deficits versus demand for the production of new EV industrial vehicles.

This approach breaks the catastrophic cycle of replace-with-new that defines current dynamics in the global automotive industry. Many industries around the world including aerospace, rail and even fashion are embracing the enormous potential of upcycling to save millions of tonnes of embedded carbon that would otherwise be scrapped. Lunaz is taking an approach proven in the remanufacturing and electrification of pinnacle passenger vehicles through its Lunaz Design classic cars business. It applies this methodology to an industry with a global requirement to transition sustainably to clean-air powertrains at pace and at enormous scale.

An environmental audit commissioned by Lunaz and performed by leading scientists and engineers confirmed that more than 80% of embedded carbon over total lifetime is saved when upcycling rather than replacing an existing refuse truck with a new EV equivalent. Lunaz will deliver a fully upcycled, re-engineered refuse truck built to a near zero-mile standard to Councils and Waste Management companies for broadly the same price as a new diesel equivalent and considerably less expensively than a new electric-powered refuse truck.

Before the diesel engine is removed and replaced with the Lunaz modular electric powertrain, every industrial vehicle that undergoes Luanz’ remanufacturing and electrification approach is fully upcycled. This includes a full bare-metal restoration. This means fleet operators are presented with a vehicle in factory new condition.

Lunaz develops all its software in-house. This ensures end-users are presented with a vehicle equipped with the latest safety and control equipment. This includes the replacement of wing-mirrors with camera equipment and latest blindspot protection through side-facing RADAR and 360 birds-eye view cameras to increase awareness of surroundings and safety of workers when manoeuvring.

Lunaz’ senior engineering team have personally participated in refuse collection rounds to understand the requirements of Waste Collection operators. This has built a fundamental understanding of the very specific features and design elements they require. For example, they received almost universal feedback that passenger seats within existing OEM refuse trucks were very uncomfortable.

Lunaz’ in-house design team will respond with a new seat design to address this issue utilising the same craft-skills that has seen Lunaz Design lead the market for the electrification of pinnacle classic cars. This extends to a full refurbishment and re-design of interior spaces to ensure the vehicle is presented in a factory-new standard and is furnished with the latest technology.

This approach extends to the technology and even to the lay-out of switch-gear within the cabin. This follows detailed consultation with Waste Collectors and the Workshop Managers that work with refuse trucks on a daily basis. This feedback is shaping every design and functional decision meaning Councils will be provided with vehicles entirely tailored to their requirements, rather than the one-size-fits-all approach new product development cycles dictate.

Lunaz’ technology marries seamlessly to the vehicle’s existing systems and following up-cycling, the useful life of these vehicles is dramatically extended. This saves significant capital expenditure for public and private sector entities. This extends to the specification of battery pack sizes which can be tailored to specific routes within a Council’s requirements. For example, a refuse truck that focuses on shorter urban rounds will be specified with a smaller battery pack than its equivalent that drives on longer rural routes. This dramatically saves cost and weight versus the one-size-fits-all approach offered with new electric refuse trucks.

Lunaz UEV refuse trucks will also be specified with the latest telematics technology, meaning fleet operators can dynamically track and manage their fleets. This technology also provides significant service and maintenance benefits through an approach pioneered in the airline business. Central operators at Lunaz will be able to diagnose issues and alert council workshops to repair requirements. This will reduce fleet downtime and cost burden in servicing.

Lunaz Applied Technologies, the company’s R&D, engineering and development arm has been readying the company’s first industrial vehicle offering from its foundation in 2018. This will be remanufactured, re-engineered and electrified Mercedes-Benz Econic platform vehicles for uses including as refuse trucks, commercial hauliers and for specialist applications in off-highway settings including airports.

This approach exposes the company to a potential market of 80 million existing ICE-powered vehicles in this class alone that will require either conversion, replacement or scrapping in the face of increasingly aggressive global legislation that either punitively taxes or will serve outright bans on the use of these vehicles over the next decade.

Lunaz has chosen to reaffirm its commitment to the production of UEVs in Silverstone due to the region’s proximity to a highly-skilled workforce, diverse supply chain and culture of innovation, in particular surrounding the development of new clean-air powertrains like the modular EV solution developed by Lunaz Applied Technologies.

In total more than 1,100 UEV industrial vehicles will roll-out of the Silverstone facility every year. In embedded carbon terms this will represent an equivalent saving of the entire weight of the Eiffel Tower.

“I am proud to further the technology I developed taking hybrid and electric powertrain systems from Formula 1 into mainstream automotive and industrial vehicle uses. At Lunaz we have gathered an extraordinary technical team to create a robust and modular electric powertrain solution that can be applied to multiple industrial vehicle applications. I am delighted that we can create true global impact in reducing cost and carbon burden for governments and companies as we collectively transition to clean-air powertrains.” 
Jon Hilton, Managing Director and Technical Lead, Lunaz

Lunaz was founded in 2018 by David Lorenz and Jon Hilton. Hilton’s background as double F1 World Championship winning Technical Director with Renault F1 inspired the second half of his career which has been spent furthering the cause of EV and hybrid powertrains in a number of settings. The successful development and stewardship of his company Flybrid which took hybrid and electric technology from F1 for road-car and industrial vehicle use perfectly prepared him for his role technically leading the development and rapid growth of the Lunaz Group.

Under Hilton’s technical leadership, the company has cultivated an engineering team drawn from the leading names in traditional car manufacturing and EV mobility technology. This includes senior engineers from Aston Martin, Bentley, DAF, Dennis, Ferrari, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Volvo.

As a group, they have developed a proprietary and modular electric powertrain that can be applied across multiple vehicle classes and uses. This ranges from the pinnacle electric classic cars offered by the Lunaz Group to the first of many product introductions on the industrial vehicles side with the announcement of the Mercedes Econic Platform.

The company will make the first industrial vehicle deliveries in Q4 2023 and has already signed major fleet electrification agreements with councils for the conversion of refuse truck fleets to clean-air powertrains.

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