The Rapide E is the first all‑electric Aston Martin
Aston Martin’s first electric car is ready to hit the streets in what Aston boss Andy Palmer calls a “truly historic step” for the British luxury brand.
The Aston Martin Rapide E is an all-battery powered and updated version of the four-door Rapide, which normally has a V12 under its bonnet. Just 155 are being made available, all assembled as the first cars to hail from Aston’s new “home of electrification” at St Athan in South Wales where electric Lagondas will soon be taking shape.
No price is yet quoted for the Rapide E but other figures are: 0-62mph in under 4.0 seconds, 50-70mph in 1.5 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, all thanks to twin electric motors at the rear generating 610PS (602bhp) and 950Nm (700lb ft). The emphasis, says the company, has been to make the performance consistent and repeatable whatever the battery charge or weather conditions, something proven says the firm by fast laps of the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Aston says its first electric car handles just like the V12 Rapide. There are three drive modes – GT, Sport and Sport + – with drive to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential. Its sporting credentials plus a four-seat body with a lift-up tailgate make it Aston’s answer to the impending Porsche Taycan.
Like Lotus, with its electric hypercar also unveiled this week at the Shanghai Auto Show, Aston Martin went to the go-to electric supercar specialists Williams Advanced Engineering for help developing the Rapide E. The car uses 800-volt electric architecture with a 65kWh battery, encased in carbon-fibre and Kevlar, filling the space under the bonnet where the petrol motor would normally sit. Helping keep the 5,600 lithium-ion cells cool is that gaping new honeycomb front end, the biggest outward design change over the Rapide.
Aston says the high voltage system enables more efficient recharging. Range (under the WLTP protocol) is 200 miles and Aston says using a typical 50kW charger 185 miles of that range can be added in one hour. The car comes with an on-board AC charger capable of fully recharging the battery in three hours.
The four-door Rapide, which was launched in 2010, might look broadly familiar but a lot of work had to go on under the skin to give it its zero-tailpipe emissions status. Work was also done to improve aerodynamics. The new front end, a redesigned underfloor, minus the exhaust system of course, and larger new rear diffuser are said to improve the Rapide’s aero by 8 per cent.
A makeover inside includes a 10-inch digital display in place of analogue instruments and plenty of carbon-fibre trim to help keep weight in check. No weight figure is quoted. Information on battery state, recharging and route planning can all be monitored by a smartphone app.
The Rapide E has been a while arriving, Aston first showing a concept, then called RapidE, in London in 2015.
Speaking ahead of the Rapide E’s Shanghai debut, Aston chief Andy Palmer said that by embracing EV technology the qualities of an Aston Martin could be preserved: “As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. Only by chasing an environmentally responsible and sustainable future can we preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts.”