Aston Martin reiterated its plans to produce an electric car this week, publishing sketches of the upcoming RapidE four-door sedan set to arrive in 2019. The British marque first previewed the RapidE back in 2015, aiming for a 2018 commercial launch, but the ambitious project has been pushed back a year. The sports-car maker plans to produce just 155 cars, giving the sedan a very limited run even by Aston Martin standards.
Back when the 2015 concept was unveiled, Aston Martin mentioned an output of over 800 hp for the all-wheel-drive EV, along with 200 miles of range. The range figure could seem a little dated even just two years later, but 800 hp is still on the table. Aston Martin originally aimed for a retail price of $200,000 to $250,000 back in 2015, numbers that have not been contradicted by this week’s statements from the company.
The RapidE concept is due in 2019, by which time it may need a longer range to tempt luxury electric car buyers.
“Having unveiled the RapidE Concept back in October 2015, we reach another milestone with the confirmation that we are now putting the first all-electric Aston Martin into production,” Aston Martin president and CEO Andy Palmer said this week. “RapidE represents a sustainable future in which Aston Martin’s values of seductive style and supreme performance don’t merely coexist alongside a new zero-emission powertrain, but are enhanced by it.”
The electric sedan project has come to be seen as a battle of priorities for the marque: The V12 gas-engined Rapide was a sales disappointment for the company, while market tastes have pressed Aston Martin to devote its energies to the DBX crossover. At the same time, Aston Martin has had to face the reality of ever-increasing electric car ranges, and the amount that consumers are willing to pay for them given the chance that their battery ranges become obsolete before the car even reaches production. The planned 155-car run could well reflect the fact that any luxury electric car can have a very short shelf life, no matter how luxurious the interior, and that a few years down the road, such a car may be seen as an evolutionary step aimed at wealthy early adopters.
Aston Martin will collaborate with Williams Advanced Engineering on the battery and powertrain.
Speaking of batteries, Aston Martin won’t be developing the battery and powertrain in-house, given the modest production run of the upcoming RapidE; initially, the automaker planned to have LG or Samsung produce the batteries, but those plans appear to have been shelved. Instead, Aston Martin will rely on the battery and electric powertrain expertise of Williams Advanced Engineering, which is the technology arm of the Williams Formula One team.
“This project with Aston Martin will draw on the extensive battery and EV experience we have accumulated,” said Paul McNamara, technical director at Williams Advanced Engineering. “We are extremely pleased to be supporting this prestigious British company with their future electrification strategy.”
Fuente: Auto Week