Aston Martin learned a lot about electric technology while developing a battery-powered variant of the Rapide sport sedan. It’s now applying some of these lessons to the world of classic cars in order to offer enthusiasts a zero-emissions alternative to carburetors.
The central component of the electric powertrain is what Aston Martin refers to as an EV cassette. It’s a lithium-ion battery pack that’s attached to the body via the original engine and transmission mounts, meaning there’s no need to cut or weld anything under the sheet metal. The battery pack zaps the electric motor via wires, just like it does in a modern-day electric car. Aston also integrates a screen to the interior to let the driver keep an eye on the power management in real time.
To demonstrate what it’s capable of, the firm installed its electric powertrain into a 1970 DB6 MKII Volante (pictured). It looks fully stock — it even keeps its exhaust system even though it no longer needs it. There’s no word on how the electric conversion affects performance and handling, however, and Aston Martin hasn’t provided technical specifications. Digital Trends learned from a spokesperson that the EV cassette will be a weight-neutral replacement for the internal combustion engine. It will deliver a quicker zero-to-60-mph time, and match the original car’s top speed of 120 mph.
“Driving a classic Aston Martin on pure [electric] power is a unique experience and one that will no doubt be extremely attractive to many owners, especially those who live in city centers. We also foresee collectors adding another dimension to their collection by commissioning EV-converted heritage cars,” explained Paul Spires, the president of Aston Martin Works.
Aston Martin noted the conversion is reversible, so owners can return their car to its original configuration at any time. The company claimed it’s the first firm to offer a reversible electric car conversion, but that’s not entirely accurate. The E-Type Zero that Jaguar introduced in 2017 can be converted back to gasoline, too.
Classic car enthusiasts who want to drive electric will be able to commission the conversion starting in 2019. Aston will perform all of the work in-house, so owners will presumably need to ship their car to the company’s headquarters. Pricing information hasn’t been released yet. Aston Martin told Digital Trends the powertrain is modular. It was designed to replace the six-cylinder engine in a variety of models including the DB4, the DB5, the DB6, and the DBS.
Buyers who would rather drive a more modern electric Aston will need to hope they can get their hands on one of the 150 examples of the Rapide E.
Aston Martin combines cameras and mirrors to give drivers maximum visibility
A sleek sports car looks cool, until you have to back it out of a parking space. As a purveyor of stylish sports cars, Aston Martin is acutely aware of this problem. So, the company teamed up with automotive supplier Gentex to develop a camera system that provides a greater field of view than ordinary mirrors. Even James Bond's Aston Martin doesn't have this feature, which will make its debut at CES 2020.
Some automakers are trying to replace exterior mirrors with cameras, but Aston Martin and Gentex went for an all-of-the-above approach. Small cameras are mounted on a car's existing siFollow our live blog for more CES news and announcements.deview mirrors, while a third camera is mounted on the roof. A feed from all three cameras is shown on the rearview mirror, which doubles as an LCD screen. The driver can switch between mirrors, cameras, or a combination of both, according to Aston Martin. The sideview cameras also move automatically when the driver adjusts the mirrors, the automaker said.
More states will levy extra registration fees on electric car owners in 2020
Many states will increase the annual cost of driving a hybrid or an electric vehicle in 2020, and some that previously didn't charge a fee will begin collecting one. These taxes are an increasingly popular way to recover lost revenue from fuel taxes.
Starting on January 1, over half of the states in America will collect an extra fee when motorists register an electric car. Meanwhile, some of the states without an electric car tax are planning to implement one sooner rather than later. The rationale is that each state's Department of Transportation (DOT) partially depends on revenue generated by the taxes levied on gasoline and diesel to improve and expand road infrastructure, so electric car owners are using roads without paying for their maintenance.
Tesla owners will soon be able to watch Disney+ on their car’s touchscreen
Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk announced the company is preparing to add Disney+ compatibility to its infotainment system. The streaming service will soon be available on the Model 3, the Model S, and the Model X.
Posting on his official Twitter account, which is the best place for up-to-the-minute Tesla news, the executive announced Disney+ is "coming soon" to Tesla Theater, the company's growing library of streamable video content. Musk's definition of the word soon has varied greatly in the past, and he didn't provide a more specific timeframe for when Disney's streaming service will arrive, but it's safe to bet Tesla owners will receive the function via an over-the-air software update.