Aston Martin, the British manufacturer of luxury sports cars and grand tourers, has signaled to mass market automakers that the shift to electrification is inevitable. The company just showcased its Aston Martin Rapide E electric car at the 2019 Shanghai motor show.
The new electric vehicle (EV), which was unveiled by chief creative officer Marek Reichman, is a limited series car. An estimated 155 are expected to be built at the new St Athan factory in Wales. The Rapide E is projected to be a precursor to the next generation of Aston Martin EVs being developed in Gaydon.
Aston Martin has joined forces with Williams Advanced Engineering to design the Rapide E. The standard V12 has been replaced by two electric motors that drive the rear wheels and a large 65kWh battery pack that has been installed where the petrol engine, transmission and fuel tank would usually be.
The traditional petrol-powered Rapide has undergone significant changes. The vehicle’s aerodynamics feature a seamless undertray, a rear diffuser and customized forged aluminum wheels. According to Aston Martin, the new EV’s aerodynamic design has improved drag by eight percent.
The standard a 6.0-liter V12, transmission and fuel tank has been replaced with EV hardware, including a 65kWh lithium-ion battery housed in a carbon fiber and Kevlar casing with more than 5600 cylindrical cells. The battery powers two rear-mounted electric motors that yield an output of 602bhp and 701lb ft. Aston Martin has projected 155mph v-max, 0-60mph in less than three seconds and a 50-70mph sprint of just 1.5sec.
Other modifications include swapping the analog dials for a 10-inch digital display, which details battery charge, regen braking data and connection with an app that confirms battery status, nearby charging points and parking location. Aston Martin has stated that the EV has a WLTP range of over 200 miles. When charging the Rapide E, the 800-volt system can onboard 185 miles of range per hour if charged on a 50kW fast-charger. With a rapid charger with 100kW, the EV charges at 310 miles of range per hour.
Andy Palmer, president and CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda, says, “Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin. As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. One that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future.
“As a car company we cannot afford to passively allow that future to come to us; we have to actively chase it. Only by doing this can we learn and prepare, but also preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts.
“That’s why it was so important to me that in embracing EV technology we should not let go of those unique qualities that define an Aston Martin. I believe Rapide E embodies that desire and paves the way for a hugely exciting future.”
For pricing, Aston Martin will provide figures upon application. The Rapide E is available for order now.