Aston Martin is developing an electric version of the controversial Cygnet city car – which is expected to make a splash as the first Aston Martin EV in history.
Why is Aston launching an electric Cygnet?
The e-Cygnet will glide silently on the coat tails of a proposed electric Toyota iQ, the Japanese city car that provides the foundation for Aston’s city car. Toyota is preparing its baby EV for launch in 2012, and the Aston version is expected from 2013.
Aston suits reckon an electric Cygnet is a no-brainer, since this is a commuter car which may require a ZEV rating to meet the increasingly stringent urban emission laws in many key markets.
So will we see plenty of Aston Martin EVs in future?
Not in a rush. Aston Martin chief exec Ulrich Bez reckons an electric Cygnet is a shoe-in, but is more sceptical over bigger cars using complex hybrids and energy recovery systems.
An engineer by trade, Bez is known to be highly critical of hybrids and of KERS. According to the AML supremo, hybrids do more damage than good to the environment. He dislikes KERS for adding weight and complexity - and for that untimely power boost which he deems counter-productive in a 400bhp-plus sports car.
CAR Magazine interviews Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez
Read the full interview with Dr Bez in the new June 2011 issue of CAR Magazine out this week. In it, he reveals plans for future Aston Martins, talks about future engine strategy and explains why the Cygnet is great for business.
If early incoming orders are anything to go by, the Cygnet should find at least 1500 takers per year. Does an Aston Martin with a 98bhp engine really make sense?
‘We believe there is a market for an urban runabout which is easy to park and very economical yet almost as well appointed as a Vantage,’ Dr Bez tells CAR.
Why Aston’s Cygnet is more profitable than some V8s
Financially, the Cygnet is bound to fly. Bought wholesale at under £10k but sold for £31k+, this bird yields a fatter margin than some of the Aston Martin coupes and roadsters boasting two or three times as many cylinders.
Which puts a whole different spin on why Aston is launching the Cygnet.