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Aston Martin Ponders Rapide EV

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/31/2015 Angus MacKenzie

Aston Martin is seriously contemplating building an electric-powered version of its Rapide four door sedan. For the past three months Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer has been in discussions with a number of electric vehicle technology companies with a view to rapidly engineering, developing, and building the Rapide EV. Palmer would like to have the car on sale in two to three years.

Palmer says a Rapide EV would help Aston Martin keep its V-12-powered cars in production while meeting stricter proposed corporate fuel efficiency standards. But he also sees the project as an opportunity for Aston Martin to form partnerships with leading-edge EV technology companies. Several companies have been given complete CAD data for the Rapide to help develop powertrain and battery location concepts; one company has even already dismantled an actual car as part of the project.

Aston Martin Ponders Rapide EV

Aston Martin isn’t talking specifications yet, other than hinting at a minimum range of about 200 miles, and that the car might have as much as 1000 hp and all-wheel drive, depending on whether it is possible to build a twin-engine version along the lines of Tesla’s 691-hp Model S P85D. The P85D is one of the quickest four-door sedans in the world, having delivered a 0-60-mph time of 3.1 seconds and covered the standing quarter mile in 11.6 seconds at 115.2 mph in our exclusive first test. By way of contrast, the last Rapide we tested, a 2014 S, was 1.5 seconds slower to 60 mph, and took 1.3 seconds longer to cover the quarter mile.

The Rapide EV would be regarded as additive to the Aston Martin lineup, with buyers being a mix of existing Aston Martin customers, and people entirely new to the brand. The success of the Tesla Model S, particularly in Southern California, suggests there’s a small, but potentially lucrative niche market for a Rapide EV, says Aston Martin marketing and communications chief Simon Sproule, who worked for Tesla before joining Aston Martin. “There are a lot of very wealthy guys in Silicon Valley driving Teslas,” he notes.

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