Former football player David Beckham has bought a 10% stake in Lunaz, a company that electrifies classic cars including Jaguar and Bentley and which now wants to expand its technology to bin trucks.
The move comes as the UK looks to encourage the takeup of electric vehicles to help it reach its net zero goals.
Lunaz said it was a “proud day” for the company as it announced Beckham, along with the Barclay and Reuben families, and property developer Alexander Della, all participated in its latest investment round.
It said that in the past, through his investment arm Beckham has “successfully identified and backed” fast-growth start-ups in sectors as diverse as esports and athletic recovery products
“Lunaz represents the very best of British ingenuity in both technology and design,” said Beckham.
“I was drawn to the company through their work restoring some of the most beautiful classic cars through upcycling and electrification.”
With the new funds, Lunaz has moved into a new 44,000 square-feet headquarters in Silverstone, UK, which it said represents a four-fold increase in production space.
It now plans to apply its “proprietary modular electric powertrain” (the mechanism that transmits the drive from the engine of a vehicle to its axle) to “much wider applications” including heavy good vehicles, trucks and refuse trucks, of which it said 80 million currently exist in the UK, EU and US.
Watch: Greek island receives electric cars from Volkswagen
Its remanufacturing and electrification process can extend the life of up to 70% of the existing weight and embedded carbon within a vehicle, it said, and save fleet operators significant costs.
“The upcycling of existing passenger, industrial and commercial vehicles presents a sustainable alternative to replacing with new,” said David Lorenz, founder and CEO.
“Our approach will save fleet operators capital while dramatically reducing waste in the global drive towards de-carbonisation.”
The company believes it will create 500 highly skilled jobs in the UK by 2024, up from the 100 it anticipates at the end of 2021.
The news comes amid the UK government’s lofty ambitions to reduce the country’s emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to the 1990 level, and bring the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050.
Last month, UK energy market regulator Ofgem announced plans to invest £300m ($435.1m) in more than 200 low-carbon projects to aid the nation's push towards net-zero emissions.
The new infrastructure investments will include 1,800 new ultra-rapid charging points at motorway service areas, which would triple the current network. Another 1,750 charge points will be built in towns and cities.
The UK also wants to cut the sale of new cars and vans run on traditional fuels by 2030.
"By 2030 when internal combustion engine bans in major markets come into effect, more than 2 billion conventionally powered vehicles will exist on the planet," said Lunez.
"Remanufacturing, upcycling and electrification can prevent a large proportion of these vehicles from being scrapped. This approach is in line with the principles of the rapidly emerging circular economy."
Watch: Should I pay off debt or save money during the coronavirus pandemic?