Aston's first battery electric is to be known as the Rapide E, and is being developed in close partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering. The team have focused on achieving constant cooling of the batteries and motor to allow for consistent performance, meaning the Rapide E has the ability to lap the full Nürburgring Nordschleife without battery - and performance - depleting. Efficiency of 3.08 miles per kWh is unexceptional among high-end EVs, but automakers whose electric motors lack efficiency (Audi and Jaguar) tend to compensate with larger batteries or high-output charging system infrastructures.
The Rapide E four-door, which will be produced in a limited run of 155 units, will be good for 155 miles per hour. Unlike the Taycan, which uses a skateboard-style battery layout, the Rapid E instead removes the Rapide's usual 6.0-litre V12, gearbox and fuel tank - and replaces it with 5600 lithium-ion cylindrical cells and two rear-mounted electric motors. A Ludicrous Plus equipped P100d develops 610hp and 713lb ft for a 0-60mph time of 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. Aston Martin also wants the auto to be capable of repeated hard acceleration and braking. Instead the target is for maximum performance on-demand throughout majority of the battery state of charge window, as would be expected from a conventional internal combustion-engined auto.
In terms of the design, the Rapide E has some extra aerodynamic tricks, previewed by its specially designed wheels. Aston says that it will be using lightweight alloys and carbon composites to stay within strict weight targets and is also tweaking and tuning the powertrain, chassis and software to retain the feel of the original V12-powered Rapide, combining a Limited-Slip Differential with revised spring and damper rates to match the handling characteristics of the Rapide S. As a career automotive engineer, I'm proud that the auto industry is leading the way in finding long-term solutions and reducing harmful emissions.
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Essentially, the side mirrors are cameras, and the live feed is displayed on left and right screens inside the cabin. The views on the five-inch monitors located at the base of the A pillars can be manually enhanced by the driver.
Speaking of the Rapide E programme, Andy Palmer, CEO Aston Martin, commented: "Environmental responsibility and sustainability is a global challenge faced by us all. Rapide E will also serve as a critical step on our path to re-launching Lagonda as the world's first zero-emission luxury marque".
Just 155 examples of the eco-friendly four-door will be built at the company's new St Athan plant in southern Wales, with the first of those vehicles arriving with customers in the final quarter of next year.
Pricing for the model will be available on application, says the company, and deliveries are expected to begin in late 2019.