Aston Martin unveiled its first-ever all-electric car at Auto Shanghai, the Rapid E. Based on the Rapid four-door that started production in 2010, the Rapid E swaps out V-12 power for twin rear-mounted motors producing a total of 602 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque.
Co-developed with Williams Advanced Engineering (an offshoot of the William F1 team), the Rapide E uses a carbon fiber and Kevlar-cased 800-volt battery system made from more than 5600 lithium-ion cells placed where you’d normally find an Aston Martin’s engine, transmission, and fuel tank. Based on the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, range is over 200 miles, and the 800-volt battery pack will allow quick charging, with 185 miles of range available in one hour using a 400-volt, 50kW charger. An 800-volt charging supply providing at least 100kW will recharge at a rate of 310 miles of range per hour. When away from a dedicated high-voltage charging outlet, an onboard AC charger can totally fill the batteries in as little as three.
Aston Martin promises that this battery technology will allow performance over a wide range of operating conditions. “Thanks to the cutting-edge 800V architecture, the Rapide E will deliver its performance in a consistent and repeatable way as would be expected from a traditional Aston Martin product. This includes the ability to drive a full lap of the Nürburgring with no performance derating of the battery or the motors.”
Because the electric powertrain doesn’t produce the same amount of waste heat as a comparable gasoline engine, designers were able to limit the amount of air that flows through the honeycomb front grille and maximize aerodynamic efficiency to extend the range. With no exhaust system to work around, air travels smoothly under the car to a massive rear diffuser that’s focused on aerodynamic efficiency. Those updates, plus new forged aluminum wheels, improved aerodynamics 8 percent compared to a similar internal combustion car.
Aston Martin says the Rapide E builds on the character and power delivery of the V-12-powered Rapide AMR, as the electric motors provide 602 hp through a limited-slip differential and a suspension that’s been specifically tuned for this application. That power propels the Rapide E to a 155-mph top speed and 0–60 sprints in under four seconds. Three driving modes (GT, Sport, and Sport+) further tailor the powertrain and suspension to suit the driver’s needs.
Rapide E will be the first Aston Martin to be built at its St. Athan production facility and will be limited to just 155 units. It’s available to order now, with “prices available on application.” Which is a nice way of saying if you’re serious about buying one, you probably don’t care about the price.