Aston Martin plots an Electric future
Aston Martin, the company that makes some of the most beautiful cars in the world is planning an all-electric version of its popular Rapide S.
Since its spin-off from Ford in 2007, Aston has struggled to stay relevant, mainly because the cost of creating new cars is so high. At a luncheon ahead of the New York Auto show, CEO Andy Palmer said, “Aston Martin can’t continue to live in this feast or famine state.
We have to find a way to stay in the market that goes beyond launching a new sports car every twelve years. “To that end, we think that creating an electric version of the Rapide S makes the most sense.” “People in Silicon Valley are buying the $120,000 Tesla P85D — but where do they go from there?” said Palmer “There is no luxury car for them to step up into and I think that that’s a prime market for a new all-electric Aston Martin.”
The project has a two- to three-year timeline, so details are still sketchy. According to executives at the event, Aston has supplied a number of unnamed engineering companies in Silicon Valley and around the world, with CAD designs of the Rapide S (one got an actual car to tear apart and test), along with powertrain and horsepower requirements; 1,000 hp was mentioned more than once, though no one would say for certain if the new electric Aston Martin will pack that kind of punch.
The car will likely have a 49/51 front-rear weight distribution (similar to the Rapide S), and either be rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
There will be an extremely limited number of electric cars produced—possibly only 100, much like the Vantage GT12 (formerly the GT3 before Porsche went after them for the name) that was announced in February.
Each of the start-ups that Aston is looking to partner with is working on the motor and battery design while Aston Martin tries to measure interest — among customers and potential investors. That doesn’t mean that Aston is going to bet the farm on a bunch of start-ups, however.
“We are looking at technology in Formula E and F1, and the batteries we will likely use will come from a major manufacturer,” Palmer said. While Tesla would appear to be the logical collaborator for Aston Martin, Simon Sproule, Aston Martin’s director of marketing and communications says that Tesla isn’t a likely partner.
“They’ve filed their patents and we can take a look at them and see if there’s anything there that we might want. Right now, however, we want to give start-ups around the world the chance to put their technology into an Aston Martin,” he said.
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