You have likely noticed by now that most major vehicle manufacturers are racing to get as many EVs out as quickly as possible. Everyone wants to make sure they have something to offer their loyal drivers who wish to switch to EVs. As global warming realities set in, it is also becoming the environmentally responsible thing for manufacturers to do. Now, it is not just the brands we associate with utility and functionality––like Toyota or Honda––that are going electric. Ultra-luxury brands are doing it too, and Aston Martin is falling right in line.
If you think about it, Aston Martin creating electric vehicles makes perfect sense. The British car maker is nothing if not synonymous with innovation and futuristic technology. Aston Martin vehicles have appeared in several James Bond movies, which are always filled with imaginative technology that is ahead of its time. The very vehicle that our favorite crime-fighting charmer drives should naturally be modern and tech-forward, and that would have to be an EV. We aren’t saying we’ve heard whispers of an Aston Martin EV in an upcoming James Bond film. However, there is a lot of buzz around what Aston Martin has planned for its EVs, especially following a recent announcement about its partnership with the American EV maker Lucid Motors. For those who are just now tuning in, here’s where Aston Martin has been––and is going––with EV technology.
The EV That Never Was
Before we get to where Aston Martin is going with EVs, let’s take a quick look back at where it has been. Back in 2015, Aston Martin announced big plans to produce an EV called the Rapide E. It was based on the gas-powered Rapide, a sedan that was, in turn, based on the DB9 coupe. The electrified version would carry a 65 kWh battery and have two rear-mounted electric motors producing 602 hp and 701 lb-ft of torque. Sources say it had a range of 200 miles on the European WLTP cycle and 800V quick-charging. While those specs were certainly impressive in 2015, many luxury EVs now offer twice that range and significantly more power.
In 2020, after much hype around the Rapide E and select interested parties in line to snag one of the limited 155 units Aston Martin was set to produce, the British company canceled the project and turned it into a research program. There are rumors it did so due to budget concerns, but it’s also possible that the brand realized the specs of the Rapide E were increasingly uncompetitive. Others say the company simply needed to refocus on the DBX SUV that was coming out. Either way, the Rapide E became a ghost. But the luxury vehicle maker didn’t force drivers to wait too long for a new wave of EV buzz…
Exciting International Partnerships That Continue to Expand
Aston Martin received an influx of press recently because of its announcement of a partnership with American EV maker Lucid Motors, the manufacturer of the Air luxury sedan. Lucid will take a small stake in the company, and in exchange, it will give Aston Martin access to its advanced electric motor and battery technology. The motors from Lucid were developed using experience from Formula E and are extremely compact in order to boost efficiency.
This new partnership has many wondering if Aston Martin has had a falling out with Mercedes-Benz. Why? Previously, it was Mercedes that was providing EV technology for the brand. However, that partnership is not over. Put simply, Aston Martin will continue to work with Mercedes, so no sour grapes there. However, reports state that Mercedes will not be taking on as large of a stake in Aston Martin as planned. Basically, Aston Martin is diversifying a bit, with now a German and an American partner in the EV space.
A partnership not quite as talked about is that between Aston Martin and Brembo. Brembo is an Italian brake system manufacturer, and it will be developing new brake-by-wire technology for Aston Martin that is designed to increase EV range. Brake-by-wire offers finer control than traditional hydraulic brakes, allowing for novel energy-saving strategies. Braking is an integral part of how EVs recapture energy and send it to the battery, so having this part of the vehicle fine-tuned is an important part of improving range.
Aston Martin needs these partnerships because, put simply, EV technology is very expensive, and it can’t quite afford to go it alone for now. Despite its legendary name, Aston Martin is a relatively small brand that lacks the deep pockets of major industry players. Working with these international partners gives the brand the funding it needs and access to EV technology without dipping into its own reserves (at least not too much) for now.
Easing Into Electrification With a Plug-in Hybrid
The first electrified vehicle that Aston Martin will release will be called the Valhalla. It will be a plug-in hybrid supercar derived from the track-oriented Valkyrie that Aston Martin developed in partnership with Red Bull Racing. The Valhalla will have a twin-turbo V8 engine paired with two electric motors for nearly 1,000 hp, and it will get its combustion engine from Mercedes, so the collaboration is still alive and well.
The Valhalla is set to be out in 2024, so drivers who want to leave 100 percent combustion engine vehicles in the past while still enjoying one of the top luxury brands in the world won’t need to wait long. However, Aston Martin has already teased that an unspecified fully electric vehicle will be launched in 2025, though whether this will be a sports car, sedan, or SUV is yet to be seen.
If there is a specific Aston Martin you have your eye on now but wish you could get in EV form, you likely can soon enough. Aston Martin has plans to offer an EV version of every vehicle it makes by 2026. Even more ambitiously, the manufacturer plans to have a fully electric lineup by 2030. In fact, those who love combustion engine Aston Martins might want to get theirs before the gasoline powered models go extinct.
Prepare for a New Era of Luxury and Innovation
Aston Martin is joining the other dozens of vehicle manufacturers who are moving towards a fully EV lineup. By 2025, if all goes as planned, drivers can enjoy the exhilarating performance and stunning design of an Aston Martin with a fully electrified powertrain. Some might be excited about the experience of driving one of these beautiful luxury cars without the smell of combustion engine fumes floating in the atmosphere. Others might miss the classic roar of a gas engine that almost pairs perfectly with the iconic and intimidating look of an Aston Martin.
No matter what drivers feel on the matter, Aston Martin is headed into the EV sphere, so don’t be surprised if the next James Bond movie features a scene where our favorite suave spy stops to plug in his sports car. If you’re on the cusp of splurging on an Aston Martin, ask yourself if you want to get one now or wait until the Valhalla or even fully electric options come out.