The Aston Martin RapidE: Will James Bond soon switch to purely electric cars?

The RapidE is the first sports car from Aston Martin to unite classic design, high performance and an electric drive concept.

It’s hard to imagine James Bond’s future car chases not featuring the classic sound of an engine roaring, but British sports car manufacturer Aston Martin, the traditional supplier of the fictional secret agent’s vehicles, has announced that its first electric car will be released in 2019. Despite its silent engine, the RapidE is by no means tame. According to trade press sources, the RapidE will have a top speed of 250 km/h thanks to two electric motors that together will deliver 1000 hp.

Assisted by all-wheel drive, the RapidE is expected to have a range of 320 kilometers. As the four-door electric sports car will initially be limited to just 155 units, Aston Martin has decided not to design the RapidE from scratch, but instead base it on the Rapide AMR V12 sports sedan concept car. The conventional chassis has been replaced with a lighter aluminum version so that adding the batteries would not necessitate a significant increase in the weight of the car. Aston Martin worked closely with Williams Advanced Engineering when developing the electric drive, as the company has engineered electric car batteries before, most notably for Formula E.

The RapidE: The pioneer of a new generation of Aston Martins

This new development is the British sports car manufacturer’s contribution to the electric luxury car segment, which has already generated an increasing amount of competition. For example, the RapidE is being released onto the market at the same time as the Mission E model, an electric sports sedan by Porsche. Comparisons are also being made with the Model S from Tesla. Whether the RapidE will convince potential Tesla buyers remains to be seen given that it comes with an estimated price tag of around EUR 270,000.

The RapidE combines classic Aston Martin design and electric drive technology.
The RapidE combines classic Aston Martin design and electric drive technology. Image: RapidE — Aston Martin

Aston Martin hopes to develop other electric models in the future in addition to the RapidE. It’s thought that this may be in response to impending sanctions from the EU and US authorities due to the fact that the company does not currently have any low-emission or zero-emission cars on the market. This makes the RapidE the first step on the road to improving the company’s carbon footprint. However, the introduction of electric cars does not mean that classic V8 and V12 combustion engines are going to disappear entirely in the next few years, promises Aston Martin CEO Andrew Palmer. So it’ll be a while yet before James Bond has to give up that powerful engine sound.

Cover photo: RapidE — Aston Martin — (montage)

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