Aston Martin has reveyaled new details surrounding its first electric car.
Production of the electric Aston Martin Rapide E is set to begin next year at a purpose-built facility in Wales.
Strictly limited to 155 units, the British brand’s first BEV, or battery electric vehicle, is powered by twin motors producing 448kW of power and 950Nm of torque.
Based on the V12-powered Rapide sedan, the brand promises “pure handling characteristics” of the original have been retained, with revised spring and damper rates. Like previous Rapide models, the E will be rear-wheel drive with a limited-slip differential.
Aston Martin says it partnered with Williams Advanced Engineering during development to “overcome the technical challenges associated with packaging the battery system and motors within the space available”.
A range of lightweight alloys and carbon composite materials have gone into the Rapide E to ensure strict weight targets are met.
Designed with high-performance objectives, the Rapide E will have an estimated top speed of 249km/h, and will reach 100km/h in less than four seconds.
Unlike Tesla models which require a full battery charge to deliver peak performance, Aston Martin says its machine will serve up maximum acceleration regardless of the battery's state of charge - just like a conventional performance car.
Aston Martin says customers should expect to “drive a full lap of the Nurburgring with absolutely no de-rating of the battery and the ability to cope with the daily demands of repeated hard acceleration and braking”.
The Rapide E will also get newly-designed aerodynamic wheels, as well as changes to the car’s exterior and underbody, to increase aerodynamic efficiency.
Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer says its first fully-electric production model will fast-track its knowledge of the technology and help ensure the high-performance capabilities of future EV models.
“Environmental responsibility and sustainability is a global challenge faced by us all," he says.
“As a career automotive engineer, I’m proud that the car industry is leading the way in finding long-term solutions and reducing harmful emissions."
Aston Martin’s “Home of Electrification” in Wales will be its second major UK manufacturing facility, the centre for electrification and the production home of the Lagonda brand - the world’s first zero-emission luxury marque.
International trade secretary Dr Liam Fox says the new facility will create hundreds of high-skilled jobs in the coming years.
“The UK has world-leading expertise in manufacturing and developing low carbon vehicles and this investment is yet another vote of confidence in our highly competitive automotive industry,” says Fox.
The Rapide E will reach our shores towards the end of 2019.