An all-electric version of the Aston Martin Rapide saloon has been unveiled – and insiders have hinted that in its most extreme form it could be developed with four-wheel drive and up to 1000bhp.
Called the Aston Martin RapidE, the new model is set to go on sale in around two years' time. Targeted first at China as a way of meeting pressing fleet average CO2 regulations, it has been developed by Williams Advanced Engineering in Grove with assistance from a Shanghai-based investment partner, ChinaEquity. Aston Martin eventually intends to offer the car for sale around the world.
Speaking exclusively to Autocar before the RapidE’s unveiling, staged as part of a UK-China creative summit to coincide with the UK visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping, Aston CEO Andy Palmer revealed that the car would potentially be available in two versions, the first of which will be a rear-wheel-drive model with similar power to the existing 550bhp petrol Rapide. That should have what Palmer describes as a “reasonably driven” range of about 200 miles.
However, the headline-grabber will be a shorter-range, super-performance version of the RapidE with a separate electric motor driving each of its four wheels, and a total of 800 to 1000bhp on tap. “We’re going to need the traction of all four wheels to deal with the torque,” said Palmer, who added that this second project will be developed after the first is launched.
In Track mode, the car will be capable of lapping the Nurburgring very quickly indeed, Palmer said, although he declined to specify a target time and cautioned that, when driven hard, the car's range will obviously be much shorter. The four-motor set-up should allow the RapidE the latest in traction-keeping torque-vectoring and regenerative braking systems, all of which will help its ‘Ring performance.