(Repost: Architectural Digest)
Aston Martin has been producing luxurious and sporting vehicles in a distinctly British idiom for over 100 years. Today, it unveiled a linchpin in its plans for the future. This is the RapideE, the first drivable concept for its first all-electric vehicle.
If everything goes according to plan, this car will be available in limited numbers starting in 2019. The intent is in part to make Aston Martin the first ultra-luxury automaker to offer a pure battery-powered vehicle, one that will compete at a price point above that at which Tesla currently plays.
The RapideE is a version of the brand’s muscular and curvaceous sedan, the Rapide. But instead of a thirsty and high-output 12-cylinder engine under the hood, it has a large battery pack connected to electric motors at the rear wheels. Though this is only a preproduction prototype, and thus not hosting full production specifications, the car that will eventually go on sale is intended to offer performance statistics that are competitive with those of the gasoline-powered Rapide, meaning a sprint to 60 mph should take just over four seconds.
This concept was built with assistance from the battery power experts at Williams Advanced Engineering, a British company that has extensive experience creating the gasoline/battery hybrid powertrain for the current Formula One racing series, as well as the battery-only powertrain for the new Formula E racing series. Williams will continue to help Aston Martin develop battery electric technology, but Aston will eventually own its own proprietary system, which it will produce in house.