Aston Martin reveals all-electric RapidE

21 Oct, 2015 2:10pm Steve Fowler

1,000bhp, four-wheel drive and 200-mile range planned for luxury saloon due around 2017

Aston Martin will have an all-electric version of its Rapide luxury saloon on sale in around two to three years.

This week the British marque revealed a battery-powered Rapide S outside Lancaster House in central London. The summit saw members of the royal family meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping who has travelled to the UK to discuss greater trade ties between the two nations.

Auto Express first revealed talks between Aston Martin and a UK engineering specialist in April 2015. Aston has now confirmed the company to be Oxfordshire-based Williams Engineering, and that it's holding talks with Chinese investment group ChinaEquity on putting the RapidE into full production.

However, Aston CEO has previous told Auto Express an all-electric Rapide will arrive around 2017 and will carry its batteries in the engine bay instead of the regular car's 6.0-litre V12.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express at the New York motor show in April, Palmer said: "This project is born out of fun and born out of necessity.

"Electric power gives us the performance we want, although you won't have a V12 noise - you'll have something that works just as well for a luxury vehicle - silence. And you'll have zero emissions."

Palmer revealed to us at the Geneva Motor Show in March that having electric vehicles will help to offset the company's average CO2 output, enabling them to keep their V12s in their sports cars.

And according to Palmer, there won't be a huge difference in weight between a battery-powered Rapide and a V12 model, once the engine and drivetrain has been removed. Batteries will be stored under the bonnet and down the spine of the car, while an inverter would sit in the boot and electric motors would power the front and rear wheels, making this an all-wheel drive Aston.

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Palmer said that four-wheel drive is essential given the power the vehicle will provide, possibly as much as 1000bhp. And although battery technology is moving on at pace, a range of well over 200 miles could be expected.

A battery-powered Rapide wouldn't be cheap, though - at today's prices it could be in the region of £200,000 although the falling cost of batteries may see that drop slightly.

Aston is also rumoured to be working on a long-wheelbase version of the Rapide aimed specifically at foreign markets. With £6.9million of government funding recently announced for Aston to be used specifically on export models, aiming a long wheelbase model at the still booming Chinese and growing US markets is an obvious choice, especially as the development work for the stretched chassis has already been done as part of the Lagonda Taraf project.

Do you like the idea of an electric Rapide? let us know in the comments section below...