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David Beckham-backed EV firm Lunaz puts commercial arm into administration

Keir Starmer gives a speech at the Lunaz Silverstone facility (Lunaz)
Keir Starmer gives a speech at the Lunaz Silverstone facility (Lunaz)

An electric vehicle business backed by David Beckham and championed by Sir Keir Starmer has put its commercial arm into administration after production setbacks, the Standard can reveal.

Silverstone-based Lunaz, which installs electric engines into commercial vehicles such as lorries as well as into classic cars like Aston Martin and Rolls Royce models, today said it had ceased operations of its commercial unit ahead of a restructure, blaming the government’s extension to the deadline to transition to zero-emissions vehicles for a dearth in demand.

The firm had been valued at as much as $200 million in a 2022 funding round.

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In a statement the company told the Standard: “The Lunaz Group is currently restructuring its business to re-scope timelines for the start of production for commercial vehicle products. This means, the business entity ‘Lunaz Applied Technologies’ has stopped operations.

“The commercial vehicles business ceased trading and entered administration in line with UK company law. This decision re-balances business focus to passenger cars, which remain in production with order books open for its five engineered EV platforms.

“It is intended that engineered commercial vehicle platforms will commence production at a later date in response to confirmed and anticipated delays on the legislative requirement for fleets to transition to zero-emissions vehicles.

“This restructure will ensure demand for passenger vehicles can be met while ensuring commercial vehicles can be produced once market conditions drive demand.”

Lunaz rose to prominence in 2021 after unveiling an investment by David Beckham, who took out a 10% stake in the business. The football star has helped promote the EV firm’s brand, gifting his son Brooklyn a Jaguar XK140 that had been restored by the company as a wedding present.

The firm also counted high profile investors including the Barclay and Reuben families, and hired comedian Jack Whitehall to produce promotional videos.

The company’s large 100,000-sq ft Silverstone premises were visited by Labour leader Keir Starmer as recently as December, at which he gave a speech highlighting the importance of clean technology companies. Starmer described Lunaz as a “world leader in upcycling vehicles for the clean energy transition.”

At the time, the EV firm touted its growth ambitions, vowing to double the number of jobs at the facility from 175 to 350 by the middle of 2025.

The decision to pause operations is the latest sign of struggles facing the UK’s electric vehicle industry, following the collapse of EV maker Arrival in February and electric truck maker Volta in October last year.

The Lunaz Applied Technologies business “upcycled” commercial vehicles by taking out their diesel engines and putting in an electric one instead, which it said was allowed for a greater reduction in emissions than buying a new electric vehicle.

The business had a deal with waste management giant Biffa to electrify its fleet. It said the Biffa partnership would create 300 jobs, as well as saving 21 tonnes of carbon per vehicle.

Anthony Holley, Biffa’s Fleet and Facilities Director, said: “We remain committed to growing our net zero fleet as part of wider plans to decarbonise our operations.

“A range of alternative fuels will help us achieve this, including electric, hydrogenated vegetable oil, biomethane and hydrogen, and we look forward to continuing our work with the Lunaz Group when operations for its commercial vehicle products recommence.”

Lunaz’ website says the firm expected to see a rise in business “to meet surging demand for electrified vehicles in the run-up to the 2030 ban on the sale of fossil fuel vehicles”. It was not updated when Rishi Sunak pushed back the deadline to 2035.