Well that was fast.
It’s only been a few months since news first broke of a planned electric version of Aston Martin’s Rapide S four-door luxury sports car, and now the UK automaker is ready to show the world what it’s got.
Though performance and efficiency specs have yet to be revealed, Aston Martin has revealed a concept version of what it’s calling the RapidE in London. The company specifically chose its debut venue because Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will meet the President of China, Xi Jinping in the same spot. Why is this of significance? Aston Martin claims the RapidE is a study to gauge how the British automaker and Chinese investors can collaborate to make the model real. Should all go as planned, the production version will go on sale in about two years.
“We see luxury electric vehicles as an intrinsic part of our future product portfolio and welcome ChinaEquity into the next phase of study for the project development,” Aston Martin CEO, Andy Palmer, said. “The exciting RapidE concept tangibly demonstrates the capability and ambition of Aston Martin towards developing low- and zero-emission sports cars.”
Though we don’t have official specs, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has previously stated that he estimates the production RapidE to boast between 800 and 1,000 horsepower, which would trounce just about every electric vehicle on the market.
Palmer also mentioned that two versions are planned: a rear-wheel drive model with about 550 hp and a 200-mile range, and an all-wheel drive version with an unspecified but greater output and longer range.
With the explosion of interest for luxury models in China, Aston Martin’s partnership is key to future success. “We are aiming to sell around 100 RapidEs a year in China and are pretty sure there will be a demand for cars in those numbers,” Palmer said.
The RapidE’s estimated price of £200,000 or US$402,000 will move it beyond competition with Tesla’s Model S, Porsche’s upcoming Mission E, BMW’s planned i5, and other luxury electric vehicles, but it’s only a matter of time before other high-end players like Bentley and Maserati enter their own battery-powered sedans.