As a sign of the times, the 6.0-litre V12 engine usually found in an Aston Martin Rapide will be ditched in favour of, well, some electricity. Aston Martin have announced their plans to develop a pure EV version of their Rapide four-door and have it on the market within two years.
The project will be developed with assistance from Williams Advanced Grove with funding from ChinaEquity. Strange how Aston didn’t go to Daimler for help wit this project. Williams are well known for their development of batteries in Formula E racers. Aston Martin plans to produce around 400 units of the RapidE, with the first going to China. Prices are expected to be about 33% more than the current petrol-powered Rapide S.
Aston plans to produce two versions. A “base” rear-wheel drive version with similar power output as the Rapide S (around 550bhp) with a range of around 320km. A “high performance” version with up to 1000bhp could also be a possibility. This version will be four-wheel driving having an electric motor powering each wheel.
The high performance version will come after the base RapidE. The batteries will be mounted along the “spine” of the car to keep the centre of gravity and weight distribution as favourable as possible. There’ll also be torque-vectoring and regenerative braking as well as the obligatory Nurburgring claims.
Apart from some blue badging and distinctive stickers, the RapidE looks identical to its V12-powered counterpart. That’s no bad thing as the Rapide S is by far one of the prettiest four-doors on sale at the moment. It makes the Model S look unimaginative and dull by comparison.
With the RapidE still two years away, who knows where Tesla will take the Model S and what other top-end manufacturers will hop on the EV bandwagon. But with the Aston aiming at the higher end of the market than Tesla, it does seem like high performance electric cars are still a world away for the everyday consumer.
So, you can have the choice of either having a beautiful Aston Martin with a V12 that kills polar bears but produces noises to put orchestras to shame, or a beautiful Aston Martin with a bonkers 1000bhp and makes no noise at all. I know which one I’d have, and I’d be singing all the way to the petrol station.