The Aston Martin Rapide-E: Aston Joins The Electric Revolution
As the automotive world moves towards fully electric vehicles at a rapid rate of knots, the position of companies such as Aston Martin in the future could have looked a little uncertain just a matter of years ago.
However, with advances in battery technology and a lucrative tie-up with Williams Advanced Engineering, the story in the present day paints a much brighter story and evidence of this was plain to see at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed as the illustrious mark showed off its groundbreaking Aston Martin Rapide E.
Based on the highly luxurious and capable grand tourer, the Rapide, the Rapide E takes this competent chassis and adds a dose of the future. Whilst visually it's shape and profile may not much have changed dramatically, look a little deeper however and it’s clear that something more is going on at the heart of this machine.
The blade wheels, the tightly wrapped front and rear aprons and a tighter and sleeker front grille all point to ultimate aerodynamic efficiency and minimal drag. The reason for this is its all-electric power train.
Two electric motors on each axle front and rear provide the potency in this EV recipe. In between is a plethora of high-performance batteries, developed from the learnings that Williams Advanced Engineering have learnt from their involvement in Formula E and their own Formula One team. The aerodynamic tweaks touched upon earlier in the article are essential to all-out electric car performance from both an efficiency speed point of view.
The dual-motor setup is somewhat of a break from what other sports and supercar makers are producing for their all-electric machines. In a seemingly unrelenting race to see how many electric motors a manufacturer can fit on to their car, it’s not become uncommon to find a motor on each axle.
In Aston Martins case, however, less is certainly more and in speaking to visitors at the Festival of Speed Aston Martin engineers explained that the move to rest on two motors was a conscious decision.
Much has been written about whether an all-electric supercar has the driving thrills to match upon its more conventional petrol and hybrid engined counterparts. The two motors setup allows the Rapide E to retain an element of edginess and the ability to get the back end out if you find yourself on something empty and twisty.
You have to hand it to Aston Martin for breaking with the traditional norm here. They could have gone for total all-out efficiency but when the chassis has an Aston badge on the front, wheres the fun in that?
So we’ve talked about the benefits, what about the performance in figures? Under the bonnet is an 800-volt battery with a 65khw capacity. That’s essentially 602bhp in old money. To put some perspective on that, that’s 15bhp more than the recently launched Rapide AMR. Standstill to 62 mph comes in at just below 4 seconds and it’s limited to a top speed of 155mph.
So for an electric car, it’s not afraid to flex its muscles and so perhaps it does make sense for the Rapide E to be announced a James Bonds next machine. With the next Bond title in the franchise now in production, Bond producers were keen to make 007 a little more environmentally aware and were keen to place him in an all-electric machine. With the franchise boasting a long and illustrious history with the famous British brand, the Rapide E looks to be the perfect companion for ticking those boxes.
Only 155 units of the Rapide E will be built. Whilst this production run is fleeting, what it does provide us with however is a glimpse into the future of electric Aston Martins and its a future that looks very bright indeed.