Durban man unveils EV hypercar

The Ararkis Sandstorm is an ultra-rare edition electric hypercar designed by South African technopreneur Priven Reddy and his company Ararkis Automobili. | Supplied

The Ararkis Sandstorm is an ultra-rare edition electric hypercar designed by South African technopreneur Priven Reddy and his company Ararkis Automobili. | Supplied

Published Feb 18, 2024


Durban — A South African businessman has designed the world’s fastest electric (EV) hypercar which comes with a price tag of $2 million (about R38m) and is available to purchase by invitation only.

Priven Reddy, a big player in the global tech space and the owner of Ararkis Automobili, this week announced the release of the Ararkis Sandstorm just six months before its release. A limited number of Ararkis Sandstorms will be manufactured but in total the company has six hypercar models in the pipeline, all limited editions which have already propelled the vehicles to status symbols.

It is so exclusive that not even Reddy will own or drive one of these vehicles. “You know, it’s like cooking a really nice meal, a nice biryani on a cold day, and you can just look at it and you can salivate over it. It’s like, ‘oh, I hope you guys enjoy this’.”

He told the Independent on Saturday that over the past six years they had been operating in “stealth mode” and even many of their internal teams did not know about the project.

Reddy said usually Tesla or Lamborghini would make an announcement about a car and it would only be on the market about three to five years later. However, he felt it was safer to wait until they were ready to release the vehicle and then tell the world.

“So, our vehicle is going to be released in just about six or seven months from now. We purposefully did it that way because of how copycat Chinese manufacturers are evolving and innovating right now. If we had to do the announcement and wait two years, most likely they’d have created a copy of the car because there are so many copies of Porsches and Range Rovers, etc, right now.”

Originally from Chatsworth and now based between London and Dubai, Reddy said that over the years he had owned many supercars. They were not known for their comfort and even his mom refused to get into his Lamborghini because she said it was uncomfortable.

What sets the Ararkis Sandstorms apart is that they are all unique, all different colours and comfortable.

He said they would only make 20 of each model to make them hyper-exclusive.

“We don’t want you to be owner number one of 900 vehicles. It’s not really exclusive then. If you’re at a certain level of your life, it’s like collecting art. You don’t want to have something that everyone has. You want to have a Picasso or a Rembrandt, as an example, if you’re a collector,” he said.

Priven Reddy went from selling cardboard to developing the world’s fastest electric hypercar. They will make only 20 of each model to keep them hyper-exclusive.

While the car’s actual speed will be put to the test later this year, Ararkis claims it can go from 0-100 km/h in 1.5 seconds. Currently the EV hypercar record is held by the Rimac Nevera, a Croatian vehicle which clocks in at 1.85 seconds.

The status symbol car will not be available to just anyone, no matter how much money they are willing to spend.

“We have a lot of people who have applied to purchase the vehicle, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to sell it to everybody. What we’re trying to do with the brand is to create a network or club, you can say, of really influential, high-net-worth people that are going to live through the other products we’re about to release later on.”

Reddy said there was a clause in the contract that prevented the owner from selling the car within a specified period. One of the reasons was to prevent someone from flipping the vehicle and then making money from it.

“So, this is why we are very careful about who we’re selling the vehicle to,” he said.

Reddy said designing an electric hypercar was something he had always dreamed of. It was a way of satisfying his love of gas-guzzling supercars balanced with his quest for a greener and more sustainable world.

To make it more sustainable, the Ararkis Sandstorm is made from materials like carbon fibre. It has superfast charging lithium batteries, and recyclable material is used in the car’s interior.

“We’ve always managed to innovate years ahead of other people because we looked at what will be relevant in three years to five years from now and you’re going to get people that are petrol heads who will say, like myself back in the day, you know that EVs will have no place in the market, but it’s inevitable.

“Petrol engines are a dying breed, and more and more companies are moving towards hybrid. More people are going to move towards EV hypercars and supercars in the future. Already, Lamborghini is doing it, Bugatti is doing it, they’re starting innovation now. It’s just that we got ahead of them in terms of doing it so that we can get to market quicker.”

Reddy said initially they set out to develop a supercar but realised that the difference between building a supercar and a hypercar wasn’t too complex.

This was also a sector of the market that wasn’t really commercialised because only a few companies specialised in making high-end hypercars.

While Ararkis is busy with its hypercars, there are many other projects in the pipeline. For instance, they are prototyping electric delivery vehicles because they want to supply global companies like Amazon.

“So we developed a new generation of delivery vehicles, much longer range, and they have some really cool functionality, from a software and technology point of view in terms of route planning, traffic mapping, as well as the logistics sector. Delivery vehicles are used globally and don’t have the technology inside them,” said Reddy.

For anyone who thinks it’s been a matter of instant success for him, Reddy said he started selling cardboard boxes in Clairwood at the age of five. Later he went from tuck shop to tuck shop in Chatsworth selling bread, and from door to door in Lamontville and Umlazi selling books.

“People only see the success. They don’t know how many times you have failed to get to where you are.”

South African businessman Priven Reddy, a global player in the tech space, has designed an electric (EV) hypercar that could challenge the market dominance of Tesla and Lamborghini. | Supplied

Independent on Saturday