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  Life   More Features  17 Oct 2018  The need for speed

The need for speed

THE ASIAN AGE. | NIRTIKA PANDITA
Published : Oct 17, 2018, 12:10 am IST
Updated : Oct 17, 2018, 12:10 am IST

A Mumbai-based firm has designed India's first all-electric hypercar.

Chunky Vazirani
 Chunky Vazirani

Had his dream job materialised four years ago, Mumbai-based Chunky Vazirani would have never stayed back in the country to develop Shul, India’s first electric hypercar. A graduate from Art Center College in California, Chunky has worked for Yamaha, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo Cars before pursuing the dream of designing this car.  “In 2014, I waited for about five months for Pagani to fix my visa but it didn’t happen. At that moment, I realised it is time to work on my own dream. I had already thought about a few things and it seemed like the best time to start working on it,” recalls Chunky. A year later, he established his company Vazirani Automotive.

The name for the car has been derived from the word Shulin, meaning the one who has a trident. The symbol has also been etched as a logo on one side. The main thought, the car enthusiast says, germinated from the idea that it should be something elegant, beautiful but at the same time aggressive on the tracks. Vazirani’s plan for the Shul’s powertrain is to combine a micro-turbine range extender capable of running on regular petrol  and charging the individual motors linked to each of the four wheels – a technology very few road cars have implemented so far. The micro-turbine will also add an acoustic element and fire up the overall driving experience.

 

Weighing around 1,600 kg, the car will be capable of putting out the equivalent of 1,000hp. Shul is intended to benefit from the instant torque, which that will enhance the acceleration. There are sets of aerodynamic features at the back of it that can be modified for different set-ups, coupled with a large diffuser increasing the overall downforce of the car. Designing a hypercar was always his dream and the dearth of such vehicles increased the thirst to create them. From the idea to initial sketches, Chunky had everything planned and left no stone unturned by involving his professors to ex-bosses.  “As I am still trying to find my feet in the field, I needed a lot of guidance. I made sure to consult with the best to understand if I am going in the right direction,” he says. Along with his core team of 11 people, Chunky also brought on board consultants from California, UK, and Japan as well.

 

There’s also the logo of video game Gran Turismo as the car was also designed under the guidance of Kazunori Yamauchi, the man behind the video game. “The logo is a subtle take on the Trishul. When we work on a design, we tend to take it too literally, but it is about taking the essence of it to as opposed to taking it literally. The Gran Turismo logo is actually homage to the creator of the game who is a good friend and mentor. He helped me through the journey,” smiles Chunky.

Yet to run on roads, Shul was first acquainted with the international audience at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed in the UK in July, and to the domestic audience in Mumbai recently. “It was important for us to get the reaction of the international audience and to place it against the best among the best. It was much appreciated there which gave us the right kind of confidence booster needed to push us forward,” he says.

 

Since its launch, the maker has been flooded with queries about the cost of the car but he is yet to put a number on it. “We are not ready to sell it yet. Our next step is to figure out the technology and put the right engineering in place, finish the design and interiors. We want to refine the product as much as we can,” says Chunky who is looking at producing only 25 units a year. Shul will go in its testing phase by mid-next year and is expected to go on the road by late 2021.

Tags: chunky vazirani, electric hypercar