- The Rapide E is Aston Martin's first electric car and is based on the standard Rapide sedan.
- It has a 65.0-kWh battery pack and two rear-mounted electric motors than make 602 horsepower and 701 lb-ft of torque.
- The Rapide E was co-developed with the Williams engineering firm, and just 155 will be produced.
Aston Martin's first electric car has been a long time coming. We initially learned about the Rapide E-then called the RapidE-in 2015 with the reveal of a concept co-developed with Williams. The announcement of a production run came in 2017, when we also got to drive it, and more details have been trickling out in the two years since. Now, finally, Aston Martin has revealed the production version of the Rapide E at the Shanghai auto show, and while there isn't much left to be surprised about, it's no less exciting.
Like the initial prototype, the production car has been developed with Williams Advanced Engineering. The Rapide E swaps out the Rapide S's 550-hp V-12 engine and six-speed automatic transmission for two rear-mounted electric motors making 602 horsepower and 701 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is quoted at 155 mph, which is 35 mph slower than the Rapide S's max, but zero to 60 mph is said to take less than four seconds, quicker even than the Rapide AMR. Those numbers are "not restricted" to a certain battery-charge level or set of conditions; Aston says the Rapide E's performance is repeatable and it is able to do a full lap of the Nürburgring with no performance deterioration. Aston also says the Rapide E's powertrain "enhances the feel, character, and delivery" of the V-12–engined Rapides, and three driving modes, a limited-slip differential, and modified suspension components make sure the same handling characteristics as the gasoline-powered Rapide's remain.
Sitting in the place of the engine, transmission, and fuel tank-all of which were located under the Rapide's hood-is the Rapide E's 65.0-kWh battery pack. The packaging of the batteries and motors was the first thing that the engineering teams worked on, with cooling solutions coming second. Aston Martin says the Rapide E has a range of over 200 miles on the European WLTP cycle, which should translate to just around 200 miles in the United States. The Rapide E uses 800-volt fast-charging tech to allow for a full charge in three hours.
Same Exterior Styling, Only Better
At first glance, the Rapide E looks basically the same as the internal-combustion model, but don't be fooled: it has received a fairly comprehensive styling update that gives it an 8 percent improvement in aerodynamics and thus a longer range. It's still got a massive grille (here, with honeycomb mesh instead of chrome slats) despite the lessened cooling requirements for an EV, and the new front bumper has large air intakes; the electric powertrain allowed the designers to have a little more freedom with the car's looks. The car's flat underfloor sends air from the front splitter to the bigger rear diffuser, which no longer has to incorporate a pesky exhaust system. Aston says the fantastic-looking aluminum wheels have an aerodynamic design that improves efficiency without compromising brake cooling, and the wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires.
The interior gets a new 10-inch digital gauge cluster that shows graphics for charge level, energy consumption, and energy regen in addition to such information as speed and power level. Aston has developed a smartphone app that ties to the car for remote monitoring of battery status and charging; it also saves parking spots and provides walking directions. The dashboard is covered in black leather and carbon fiber, and bright blue accents are used throughout that match the same color used on some exterior components.
Production of the Rapide E will be limited, with only 155 set to be built. The car will be produced as Aston Martin's Saint Athan plant, which has been dubbed the brand's Home of Electrification. Aston CEO Andy Palmer said the Rapide E shows that the brand is actively prepared for an electrified future, adding that Aston intends to embrace EV technology while keeping the "unique qualities that define an Aston Martin."
Order books are open now, but no price has been given. We do know about one of the people who will be receiving a Rapide E, though: in his last outing as James Bond, Daniel Craig will reportedly be driving a Rapide E in the 25th Bond film.
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