► 602bhp, sub-4.0sec 0-60mph
► 155 to be made, sales Q4 2019
► Williams Advanced Engineering help
Aston Martin and Williams' Advanced Engineering's new Rapide E all-electric sports saloon is edging closer and closer to proper production reality.
Aston boss Andy Palmer tweeted a video of a red metallic Rapide saying that it was the 'firt validation prototype' of the new full EV model. The video shows the prototype gently hum away.
The Rapide E has been a long time coming, with Aston revealing a concept first in 2015, and then confirming it as a production model in 2017.
We know it’s being made in cooperation with Williams Advanced Engineering, and we know it’s going to be fast too. Expect a sub-4.0sec 0-60mph time and 800-volt fast-charge capability; both stats mean it will laser-target the forthcoming Porsche Taycan.
'As our first all-electric production model, Rapide E will fast-track our knowledge and help us ensure the character and high-performance capabilities of our future EV models and enhance the unique qualities found in all Aston Martins as we know them today,’ said Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer. ‘Rapide E will also serve as a critical step on our path to re-launching Lagonda as the world’s first zero-emission luxury marque.’
Keep reading for everything else you need to know about the Aston Martin Rapide E.
Aston Martin Rapide E: the lowdown
Just 155 examples of the Aston Martin Rapide E will be made, with production starting in 2019 at Aston Martin’s EV-focused St Athan site in Wales – the same place where that’ll manufacture Aston’s all-electric Lagonda models. We’re told deliveries will take place towards the tail end of next year, and there’s no price yet. Estimates are suggesting £250,000, though.
Williams Advanced Engineering – the R&D and consultancy arm of the F1 team – will also be involved in the building and prototype testing process, but Aston Martin says buyers will get their say, too.
According to the company’s statement, ‘customers will be an extended part of the ongoing Rapide E program, with their comments and driving providing an invaluable steam of feedback that will shape and help improve future EVs.’
Okay, what are the EV's tech specs?
The Rapide E will be powered by a 65 kWh battery capable of superfast 800v power transfers. Unlike the Taycan, which uses a skateboard-style battery layout, the Rapid E instead removes the Rapide’s usual 6.0-litre V12, gearbox and fuel tank – and replaces it with 5600 lithium-ion cylindrical cells and two rear-mounted electric motors. Both will drive through a limited-slip diff and the Rapide E will also feature a revised suspension to cope with its new weight distribution.
Still, this isn’t like the purpose-built Taycan; the Rapide E will be more of an ICE-car adaptation than a bespoke, ground-up EV.
Power is rated at 601bhp (up 50bhp on the original V12 you’d usually find in the car) while torque is up to or 700lb ft (more than 240lb ft more than the original car).
The batteries will be supplied by Hyperbat Limited, a new joint venture between WAE and the Unipart Manufacturing group. Aston says the Rapide E’s electric motors will be sourced from Integral Powertrain, while all 600 horses will go through an Xtrac transmission.
But how fast is the Rapide E? What’s the performance?
The Rapide E is targeting an 155mph v-max and sub-4.0 second 0-60mph time, while instant torque means the Rapide E can climb from 50-70mph in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 1.5 seconds. Like Porsche, Aston Martin is also keen to stress that this EV performance will be accessible regardless of battery charge and should be repeatable in a short period of time. That’s in contrast to the new Tesla Roadster, which limits power use over a set period of time.
As you’d expect, Aston Martin has also gone to the Nurburgring, but partly to ensure that the power system won’t unravel under repeated hard use. They insist it won't go into a limited power mode when driven over a fast lap.
Fly like a V12, whisper like a Tesla...
Interestingly, Aston Martin doesn’t want this car to ‘feel’ electric, and has instead tried to offer a V12-style power delivery.
Engineers are already working on software to imitate the response of a 12-cylinder lump, and combined with the aforementioned suspension tweaks, this car should still feel relatively like a traditional Aston. We'll know for sure when we drive it in the coming months.
And the Rapide E's electric range?
The Rapide E is shooting for a 200-mile (WLTP) range, and should charge at 185 miles of range an hour when using a 400v 50kW charger. However, like the Porsche Taycan, Aston says the Rapide E can also charge at 800v, and that high-voltage battery system should up the charging rate to 310 miles or range an hour.
Aston will furnish its new EV with special, low-rolling-resistance Pirelli P Zero tyres, and low-drag wheels for even more efficiency.
We’ll update this article when we know more about the Aston Martin Rapide E