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Bolwell sees electric future for Nagari supercar

Supercar: Bolwell took 150 expressions of interest following the Nagari's appearance at this year's Melbourne show.

Aussie supercar marque looks to an electric future as Nagari coupe enters production

Bolwell logo9 Sep 2008

MELBOURNE-BASED Bolwell Car Co has announced a new management team, which under the leadership of general manager Brian Wilson and founder Campbell Bolwell’s two sons Owen and Vaughan will bring the ultra-lightweight, $200,000-plus Nagari supercar into production in the coming months and create new models such as an electric-powered sportscar.

Details are still thin on the ground for the Nagari EV, which would see Bolwell replace the mid-mounted Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre V6 used in the Nagari coupe with a high-performance electric powertrain to become Australia’s answer to the American Tesla Roadster and Fisker Karma.

While the EV is still a long distance from production, marketing manager Owen Bolwell told GoAuto this week that it was an area that could become a lucrative niche for the marque.

“They (Tesla and Fisker) are amazing benchmarks,” he said. “The whole electric Nagari idea is still in a foetus stage at the moment, but it’s something we’ve been throwing around for a while. We’d really like to see the Bolwell Car Company move into those sort of technologies.

“It’s very difficult for an independent Australian automotive manufacturer at the best of times, and I think (in this area) we can give ourselves some edge.”

134 center imageMr Bolwell, who together with chief designer Vaughan was last week named as a director of parent Bolwell Corporation (a supplier of composite products for the automotive and other industries), said the company was currently holding discussions with a number of potential electric powertrain suppliers in the United States.

Other Nagari variants, including a roadster, are under consideration, although the new management team’s main focus is bringing the coupe to market and securing sales in Australia and overseas markets such as the UK, Middle East and China.

A long-time Bolwell associate who built the marque’s first car in 1963 and went on to work with Repco for almost two decades (in R&D and production management, and later as chief of the Repco-Brabham operations), Mr Wilson told GoAuto the Nagari had attracted 150 expressions of interest after its first public outing at the Melbourne International Motor Show in March.

He said production of the first three hand-built Nagaris had commenced, with one customer order confirmed and due for completion in December.

“We’re looking at a second level of compliance at the moment, and we could possibly sell certainly between 25 and 100 in Australia,” Mr Wilson said. “But overseas (potential) is unlimited.” Considerable re-engineering work has been undertaken on the Nagari between the prototype’s outing at the Melbourne show and the version now in production. Kerb weight has come in at around 900kg as expected, although the ‘Aurion’ engine is not supercharged as shown in the prototype.

“For the sake of compliance and also durability, I’m just going to stay with the standard Toyota engine and management system,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’ll be changing the exhaust a little bit – we think there’s probably a little bit (more output) – it’s the same engine that Lotus is using and they’re quoting that it’s doing 220kW.” Expected 0-100km/h acceleration is about four seconds, with top speed reaching around 300km/h.

The prototype Nagari will be on show at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney during October, as part of the “Supercar Central” stand.

Read more:

Melbourne show: Bolwell rides again


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