Aston Martin's first production-bound electric car won't be based on the Rapide after all, according to a recent report. The British firm allegedly canceled the RapidE project after several costly delays.
British magazine Autocar learned from a source close to Aston Martin that it has consigned the sedan to the automotive attic to focus on ramping up production of the DBX, its first SUV. It's a hugely important model that will make or break the company's 2020 balance sheet. Other seemingly random projects like the ACH130 helicopter co-developed with Airbus are much less distracting because there's little substance to them; it's essentially just a nice interior and an eye-catching paint job. The RapidE, however, was a new car under a familiar body.
Presented as "a truly historic step" that would pelt Aston into the world of electrification, it snubbed the Rapide's 6.0-liter V12 and instead offered drivers an electric powertrain with 610 horsepower and a 65-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The firm quoted a 200-mile driving range, which is on par with the Porsche Taycan's EPA rating, and a 4-second sprint to 60 mph, which is about as quick as a gasoline-burning Rapide.
Development work began in 2015 with the help of LeEco, a Chinese tech giant-turned-electric car manufacturer founded by Jia Yueting, the man behind Faraday Future. Aston Martin chose to finish funding the project on its own after money trouble forced LeEco out. Williams Advanced Engineering provided its expertise, but Aston Martin had to foot the bill on its own, so the RapidE went from a low-volume model to a limited-edition sedan.
Aston Martin planned to make 155 examples of the RapidE in a new facility located in St. Athan, Wales. Each one carried a price tag reading "on application," which is automaker-speak for "really expensive," and one was spoken for by James Bond. We've reached out to the company to verify Autocar's report, and we'll update this story if we learn more. There's no word yet on what it means for the other electric cars Aston has in the pipeline, including two luxury sedans previewed by concepts and intended to revive the dormant Lagonda name in the early 2020s.
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