Aston Martin has revealed an all-electric version of its Rapide S performance saloon, with promise the concept previews a future production model that could produce as much as 1000bhp. The electric Rapide is to be shown today outside Lancaster House in London, where the Chinese President has overseen the signing of an agreement for ChinaEquity to fund the project.
The unveiled car has been developed in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering, and is said to match the performance of the current fastest V12 engined Rapide – suggesting its all-electric drivetrain produces around 550bhp.
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Though this car is to remain a concept, money provided by ChinaEquity will be used to fund an engineering design study for a more potent model, one that could preview a production ready RapideE. It could be built at the marque’s Gaydon headquarters in as little as two years time. While no technical specs have been confirmed, Aston Martin has suggested a total power output of 1000bhp could be possible if each of the RapideE’s wheels are powered by its own electric motor.
This four-motor car would therefore be capable of full torque vectoring, but its performance would remain discreet as the RapideE’s exterior could receive only a few minor detail changes compared with the regular car.
Aston Martin has experimented with future drivetrain technology several times over the past few years – it even completed a full lap of the Nürburgring using a hydrogen powered V8 Vantage race car at the N24 in 2013. But this is the first time it’s confirmed an all-electric production model is in the pipeline.
‘We see luxury electric vehicles as an intrinsic part of our future product portfolio and welcome ChinaEquity into the next phase of study for the project development,’ commented Aston Martin’s CEO Dr Andy Palmer. ‘The exciting RapidE concept tangibly demonstrates the capability and ambition of Aston Martin towards developing low- and zero-emission sports cars.’
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP added: ‘it is a great example of British and Chinese businesses working together to develop links and bring benefits to the UK economy. It also demonstrates how a collaboration between the UK and China can develop the innovative low emission solutions needed to tackle the pressing global issue of air quality.’
The project has the full support of the British Government and its GREAT campaign, which is designed to showcase the UK’s technical and engineering prowess to encourage countries like China to do business here. President Xi Jinping is currently in the UK, and the car industry is just one of several key engineering segments to receive financial input from his country.