Lebanese manufacturer Electra EV (not to be confused with U.S.-based Electra Meccanica) has announced an electric sports car that anyone who's ever truly loved a knock-off might find hard to hate. The QUDS Rise isn't going to challenge a Model 3 any time soon and it definitely isn't knocking on Rimac's door but that's kind of not what it's here for, which is extremely exclusively a good time.
The Lebanese auto industry isn't very well known. It's an import market with no homegrown manufacturer and after the explosion at Beirut's port last year, struggling even with that. Which is kinda sad, given Lebanese people are as into their cars as anywhere else in the Middle East; public transport is relatively minimal in most of the country, where infrastructure remains a challenge and although the story a decade ago was all about "if you don't have a store-bought Mercedes Benz, home made is fine," supercars are now selling at the same rate they are anywhere, despite financial crises.
With that in mind: here's the Rise. It's built start-to-finish in Lebanon and it's a real car that's apparently really happening, with 300 or so engineers currently working on it. Electra is the child of Lebanese businessman Jihad Mohammad, who's funded the venture as grounds to create a genuinely Lebanese manufacturer.
If you thought BMW couldn't resist an extremely extra grille then hold your Bavarian lager well away from this. The Rise's distinctive front view features a grille designed in the shape of Qubbat al-Sakhra, the Dome of the Rock, one of Islam's most important holy sites. Early images of the Rise had the grille actually done out in gold to match the dome but it looks like that's at least optional on the announced model.
Overall, the car definitely looks unique. And mean. And kind of weird. And it's got an unapologetic distinctiveness to it that's a little bit irresistible. Even staid Mercedes can't resist putting rose-gold rims on the EQA and there's a lot to be said for deciding your direction and just going in it.
What it lacks in aesthetic refinement, the Rise doesn't particularly make up for technologically. It's looking at and quotes a 3.6-second zero to 37 miles per hour, by sneakily writing the figure down as zero to 60 kilometers per hour. At the minute, range is widely estimated from 250 to 400 kilometers (155-248 miles) which definitely isn't Tesla-killer figures. It's not even Leaf-killer, really, although with a similarly-sized battery to the Nissan runaround (45 kilowatt hours) that's more the space the Rise is shooting for.
But, ah. It's cheap (for an EV that's sporty-looking) at $30,000 and there's something brash about it that makes you wanna do donuts in a car park. The Rise isn't designed to be an engineering marvel; being the first of your kind sometimes means picking exactly which elements you're gonna do that with and if it's "kickstart an EV industry in a country with no prior automotive manufacturing history" then you have to rein in your ambitions on what else you can do.
And it comes in eye-blisteringly obnoxious lime green. Don't tell me you don't, even a little bit, wanna hoon it.
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