Aston Martin is going all in on electric cars and its target will be Tesla’s Model S.
The British automaker, known for exquisitely designed luxury coupes made for James Bond and the world’s well heeled, will debut a pair of all-electric models in the near future.
CEO Andy Palmer told David Undercoffler of Automotive News that the company plans to launch an electric version of the Rapide sedan in two years.
In addition, Palmer also confirmed that Aston is looking to introduce an electric crossover coupe based on the DBX concept car that debuted earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show.
According to Undercoffler, Aston Martin decided to go electric for two reasons:
1) The company needs electric vehicles to help it meet future government fuel economy standards. Aston’s current lineup is comprised exclusively of thirsty V8 and V12-engined cars.
2) Aston believes there’s room in the market for an ultra-luxury electric vehicle that operates in a segment above the top-of-the-line Tesla Model S.
The electric Rapide is expected to pack 800 horsepower with all-wheel-drive, and a range of 200 miles on a single charge. With 800hp on tap, the electric Aston could put up performance numbers on par with Tesla’s 762 horsepower P90D.
Still, the Aston has some drawbacks compared with Tesla’s Model S. Its expected 200 mile range lags behind the 300 miles Tesla is able to achieve, and the electric Rapide sedan is expected to set buyers back between $US200,000 and $US250,000. The priciest Model S version, the P90D, will set you back around $US140,000 before incentives.
What one shouldn’t expect to find in the electric Rapide is Aston’s version of Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode. Tesla recently introduced Ludicrous Mode — which allows the Model S P90D to hit 60 mph in a hypercar-shaming 2.8 seconds — to great fanfare. However, Palmer is not impressed.
The Aston Martin boss told Undercoffler that his company won’t “do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid.” Instead of pure straight-line speed, Palmer claims the electric Astons will aim deliver a complete driving experience with track capable speed and handling.
Aston Martin has not released any specific technical details regarding the Rapide’s electric drivetrain. Although, Palmer did confirm to the Automotive News that the company will not use batteries from Panasonic and the car will not contain any parts from Aston shareholder Mercedes-Benz.
Up to this point, Tesla has pretty much had the luxury — or semi-luxury, depending on your opinion of carmaker’s relatively modest interiors — electric sedan market to itself.
Tesla challengers have come along. Fisker is perhaps the best-known, although the company fell into bankruptcy a few years ago, ending any real competition between the company’s hybrid-electric car and Tesla’s Model S.
The Aston Martin Rapide made its world debut in 2010 and received a slight facelift in 2013. The non-electric Rapide S is powered by a 550-horsepower, 6.0-litre V12 engine that can achieve 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. But it doesn’t go easy on the gas, getting only 13 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.
Several automakers have launched high-performance luxury electric cars since Tesla burst onto the scene (none have achieved the success of the Model S). Audi introduced an all-electric version of its R8 supercar, called the R8 e-tron, in Geneva this year. And a couple of years ago, Mercedes-Benz rolled out a pure electric variant of the SLS. Although both are ultra low volume special edition models.
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