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Callum Designs surprises us all with new multi-terrain vehicle

WORDS: DAVID LILLYWHITE | PHOTOGRAPHY: CALLUM DESIGNS

We knew that there was a new car coming from UK design house Callum, fronted by former Aston Martin and Jaguar designer Ian Callum. But this isn’t what we expected… a high-performance multi-terrain electric vehicle, aimed at “discerning owners seeking extraordinary on- and off-road adventures” and named the Callum Skye.

The Skye is the company’s first own-brand vehicle, fully conceived, designed and engineered in-house, although Callum has been involved behind the scenes with several high-profile cars including Prodrive’s BRX Hunter. The Skye is all-electric and all-wheel-drive, with a 42kWh lithium-ion battery that endows it with an anticipated range of 170 miles. Customers will be able to specify an advanced, ultra-fast charging battery capable of an empty-to-full charge in under ten minutes.

It’s designed to be extremely capable off-road but, unlike its counterparts in the compact multi-terrain vehicle segment, the Skye’s occupants are fully enclosed in a comfortable, refined cabin environment with a two-plus-two layout. Measuring 4047mm in length and 1900mm in width, the car uses a spaceframe chassis with trail-capable suspension that’s said to deliver appropriate ground clearance as well as comfort and compliance across diverse terrains. With a target dry weight of 1150kg, and 50/50 weight distribution, the Skye is expected to accelerate from 0-60mph in under four seconds.

“At four metres long, the Callum Skye is dramatically proportioned with a concise exterior aesthetic driven by its capabilities. It has been designed to exceed expectations: minimal mass, maximum capability – exceptionally usable and an absolute joy to drive,” explains Ian Callum, head of design at Callum.

“The exterior features a striking accent loop, intersected by a strong horizontal structure, flanked by organic forms front and rear. It is pared down to a level of necessity and understatement. At the heart of its story is its performance, style and capability, and a design integral to the engineering elements. For example, the lower section of the doors have beautifully integrated glass, offering outstanding visibility in all conditions. I believe the Skye is truly authentic – unique in concept and presence in the market.”

Adam Donfrancesco, head of engineering at Callum, adds: “We set an uncompromisingly high bar with our functional targets for the Callum Skye, creating a compelling, unique, versatile and durable vehicle. Throughout the development journey, we have held steadfast to the principals of simplicity and integrity, ensuring the Callum Skye conquers the rigorous demands of a variety of off-road terrains, while still delivering the ride comfort and handling that transform winding country roads into captivating experiences for both the driver and passengers.”

It’s an interesting proposition, which is perfectly suited to an EV platform: not only do such underpinnings lend themselves to unusual and low-volume designs, but having an EV off-roader will allow less intrusive use of a vehicle in the quiet countryside. It also shows the Callum company’s huge ambitions; it has already been involved in an updating of Ian Callum’s classic Aston Martin Vanquish design, an Eames-inspired luxury chair, a Martini mixer for British Airways, the Nyobolt EV electric sports car and the Barq Rena Max electric scooter, in addition to major projects within the automotive industry.

The Skye is now undergoing engineering refinement and testing in the UK and Europe, ahead of the company releasing definitive specifications and curated variants, each tailored for focused on- or off-road use, in spring 2024.

David Fairbairn, managing director at Callum, sums up: “The Callum Skye addresses a void in the market, endowing discerning owners with a bold, beautifully engineered off-road vehicle that beckons to be enjoyed, giving a sense of fun, freedom and escapism. It’s an exceptionally capable vehicle with the refinement of boutique craftsmanship. And with its battery options, our ambition is for the Callum Skye to make a big impression on the industry, while ensuring it doesn’t have a negative environmental impact.”

You can register your interest in the Callum Skye here.