Is this India’s first supercar?

Is this India's first supercar?

America made the Ford GT and the Dodge Viper. The McClaren F1 rolled out of a British factory. Germany has the Porsche Carrera GT, while Italy is home to both Ferrari and Lamborghini. India, meanwhile, has never produced a flashy supercar.

Sarthak Paul, a 21-year old entrepreneur, is trying to change that. The recent university graduate has embarked on a starry-eyed quest to produce India’s first supercar, with help from a team of automotive engineers based at India’s Manipal Institute of Technology.

Paul calls his fledgling car company Mean Metal Motors (MMM). The automaker has already produced a couple of planned concepts, and if all goes well, Paul hopes the first physical prototype will be ready for a showcase at the 2016 Paris Auto Show. He’s calling his creation the “M-Zero.”

Paul cannot be accused of lacking ambition. With an estimated price tag of $125,000 to $150,000, M-Zero aims to compete with the world’s fastest and most powerful cars.

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The plans call for a supercar that can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds, and achieve a top speed of 200 miles per hour. The mid-mounted engine will produce more than 500 horsepower, and be partially powered by a hybrid electric power plant.

The M-Zero will also feature a fingerprint system instead of keys, and allow users to create a “profile” that will activate their preferred driver settings. These include their favorite seat position, air conditioning settings and music playlist.

“We want to give them a car that’s exactly the same or can do even more than a Lamborghini,” Paul said.

On the subject of aerodynamics, Paul’s excitement is palpable.

“I was watching a random show in which they discussed how the world’s fastest sea animal [the sailfish] moves through air and water,” he said. “Then we thought, why don’t we just analyze why the fastest sea animal is the fastest?”

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The body of the car will utilize the startup’s newly-developed smart material, called “carbo-flax”, which claims to be both lighter and one-tenth the price of carbon fiber. Paul said he hopes to sell the material to satellite companies in India in order to raise funds for the first prototype.

Fund raising is just one of many potential roadblocks Paul faces. The Mean Metal Motors founder said that Indian venture capitalists “do not identify hardware startups as something they’d invest into.” They prefer the software firms of Bangalore.

Murad Ali Baig, a popular author and automobile analyst with The Economic Times, has doubts about Paul’s “carbo-flax” funding strategy, and sees few other options for the company to raise capital.

Baig also pointed to the complicated engineering required to build a supercar.

“The very advanced engine and hybrid motor technology, and the successful mating to the suspension and body is no simple matter and may need months or even years to debug sufficiently to make them safe on the roads,” he said.

Paul refuses to be discouraged, saying his company has acquired “the best automotive engineering talent in the country.”

“[Our success] would give a boost to people who want to do something in the hardware world,” he said.

Is this India's first supercar?

Source: CNN Money

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Discover the paranoid world of London’s super-rich

Discover the paranoid world of London's super-rich

Heyrick Bond Gunning – yes, that really is his name – visits Mayfair most days, but he does not come to buy. He comes to sell. The imposing 44-year-old, a former Grenadier Guards officer, is one of a new breed of salesmen.

He’s selling building and contents protection, but not the kind you’re used to. As the managing director of security firm Salamanca Risk Management, he sells a guarantee that you and your family will never again be bothered by anyone or anything you don’t want to be bothered by.

Business is booming because billionaires are a paranoid bunch. Take one who recently moved to Mayfair. ‘He wanted everything, from protection from cyber hacking through to physical intrusion and kidnapping,’ says Bond Gunning.

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‘We ended up installing fingerprint-activated locks for family members and programmable keys for staff that limit the time they are allowed into the property and the rooms they are able to enter and exit.

‘Inside and outside we installed 24-hour monitored CCTV cameras that are so hi-tech they can tell the difference between a dog, cat and a person. In the garden there are thermal-imaging cameras that can detect heat sources in the undergrowth. One thing intruders can’t hide is the heat of their bodies.

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‘Should an intruder evade the cameras or ignore the warnings they automatically broadcast, the property itself is protected by bulletproof glass and alarm sensors in all rooms.

‘There is a bullet, gas and bombproof panic or safe room, with its own food and water, medical supplies and communications, and an impregnable supply of fresh air. Just in case the family cannot make it there in time, key rooms are sealed by reinforced shutters.’

The bill for such peace of mind? A cool £1m.

Source: Evening Standard

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