David Beckham Invests in Auto Electrification Startup Lunaz

The former professional footballer says the company’s mission to repurpose older vehicles for a new electric future is something ‘very special.’

David Beckham
Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images.

Lunaz, a niche startup that’s made a name for itself electrifying classic cars, is shifting its expertise to the broader global market and bringing David Beckham along for the ride. The former professional footballer, who recently purchased a 10% stake in the company, was attracted to the firm not just for its innovative upcycling, but also for its ambitious plans for growth over the next decade. 

“They represent the very best of British ingenuity in both technology and design,” Beckham said in a statement. “I was drawn to the company through their work restoring some of the most beautiful classic cars through upcycling and electrification. [Company founder] David Lorenz and his team of world-class engineers are building something very special and I very much look forward to being part of their growth.”

A race to preserve the past for future generations

Unless you frequent classic car discussions, you’ve likely never heard of Lunaz. In addition to being founded only a few years ago, the startup’s conversion products are extremely expensive—with prices for their electrified versions of the original Bentley Continental, the Mk1 Range Rover, and Rolls-Royce Phantom V starting at around $450,000. 

While expensive, Lunaz justifies its costs with an attention to detail and luxury that not only preserves the look, feel, and heritage of these classic cars, but also integrates performance and safety. Nearly everything, including the battery packs and electric drivetrains, are built in-house under the direction of powertrain engineer John Hilton, a former triple Formula 1 world championship winner. The electrification process is so meticulous, that Lunaz presently only produces about 30 vehicles each year. 

"These vehicles should be handed down to my daughter's generation and future generations," Lorenz told Engadget. "If there aren't companies like us doing [conversions] like this, these iconic classics won't be around in 40 years."

Upcycling comes to commercial fleets

With all of the experience and engineering gained from its focus on electrifying classic vehicles, Lunaz is next turning its attention to scaling its technology for the commercial sector. Thanks to new funds from investors like Beckham, the company is planning to apply its new modular electric powertrain systems to the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sector. Last November, the U.K. announced the cessation of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. Also targeted: the phasing out of all new diesel HGVs “to put the U.K. in the vanguard of zero emission freight.”

Left behind in the world’s conversion to new electric vehicles are an estimated 80 million industrial HGV vehicles that presently exist in the U.K., European Union, and the U.S. alone. While Lunaz says its modular electric powertrain can be applied to every class, size, and classification of vehicle, it will first focus on classes 6, 7, and 8 (school buses, garbage trucks, cement trucks, etc.).

“The upcycling of existing passenger, industrial and commercial vehicles presents a sustainable alternative to replacing with new,” Lorenz said in a release. “Our approach will save fleet operators capital while dramatically reducing waste in the global drive towards de-carbonisation.”

According to Forbes, the Lunaz says these conversions can “extend the life of up to 70% of the existing weight and embedded carbon within a vehicle,” as well as save municipalities “more than 43% in the total cost of ownership of an upcycled and electrified refuse truck” as opposed to buying new. 

In an effort to support its commercial ambitions, the company has moved into a new 44,000 square-foot headquarters in Silverstone, U.K. Manufacturing facilities are also being planned for strategic markets around the globe. More than 500 jobs are expected to be created by 2024.

“An upcycled and electrified vehicle by Lunaz represents an extension of the usable life of diminishing resources and a commercially astute answer to the global rebalancing of fleets to clean-air powertrains,” added Hilton