Like almost every automaker, Aston Martin is taking electrification seriously. It's working on its first all-electric car, the Rapide E, and CEO Andy Palmer has said every Aston will be a hybrid by some point in the 2020s. Add in two hybrid hypercars plus an upcoming all-EV revival of the Lagonda brand, and it becomes clear that Aston's future is, well, electric. And so is its past, apparently.
Aston Martin announced today a new electric powertrain for its classic cars, which it's calling the Hertiage EV. It consists of an entirely self-contained electric motor unit that uses the original engine and gearbox mounts from the classic Aston being converted to electric power. To show off this powertrain, Aston Martin's classic-car Works division converted the 1970 DB6 Vantage Volante you see here to be fully electric.
Ripping out the 4.2-liter, 325-hp straight-six from an original DB6 Vantage would ordinarily be a shame, but Aston's been clever here. By using the original engine and transmission mounts, the Heritage EV powertrain is totally removable. If you want to swap back the original engine and five-speed manual, you can without too much trouble. The only other piece of hardware added with this conversion is a small screen to control the electric motor, which is hidden in the interior.
Aston's whole idea behind this is to give its vintage cars a second lease on life in places where local governments clamp down on the use of internal-combustion cars. Paris, for example, is seeking to ban all gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2030. That would mean Parisians who own classic cars wouldn't be able to use them within their own city's borders. Installing an electric powertrain in a classic Aston means the car could be used freely.
Aston Martin is not the first automaker to show off a classic car converted to electric power. Last year, Jaguar debuted an electric powertrain that's exactly the same size as the famous XK straight-six that powered so many of its cars from the 1950s to the 1990s. This motor was first shown off in an early E-Type roadster and Jaguar announced a few months ago that it'll offer electric conversions for E-Types via its Classic division.
Pricing for Aston's Heritage EV drivetrain hasn't been announced yet, but the company said it'll do the conversions at its Works department in Newport Pagnell, Great Britian. Aston also expects customers to order new recreations of classics with this powertrain.
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