Shanghai debut for first Aston Martin electric car

Rapide E will be built in Wales and limited to only 155 examples.

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The Aston Martin Rapide E has been unveiled at the Shanghai motor show – the first all-electric vehicle from the brand.

Just 155 examples of the Rapide E will be produced, and they will be the first cars to be built at Aston Martin’s brand-new production facility at St Athan in south Wales.

While primarily created to build Aston Martin’s forthcoming DBX SUV, St Athan is also being described as the brand’s ‘home of electrification.’

The Rapide E has been developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering – a development sister company to the Williams Grand Prix Engineering Formula One team.

Williams has been key to the creation of the Rapide E’s powertrain – based around an 800-volt battery encased in a carbon fibre and kevlar casing and mounted where the 6.0-litre V12 engine, transmission and fuel tank would sit in a traditional Aston Martin.

Aston Martin Rapide E The Car Expert

The system has a 65kWh installed capacity from more than 5600 lithium-ion cells, and powers two rear-mounted electric motors producing a combined target output of just over 610hp and 950Nm of torque.

The Rapide E’s top speed is quoted at an electronically limited 155mph, with a sub-4.0 second 0-60mph time and a 50-70mph time of 1.5 seconds. 

Aston Martin claims a range of over 200 miles between charges for the car, measured using the new ‘real world’ Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) protocol.

Using a typical 400-volt 50kW charger the recharging rate is approximately 185 miles per hour, but faster charging of 310 miles per hour is also possible using an 800-volt 100kW charger.

The car is also fitted with a high-power AC on-board charger capable of recharging the battery in three hours.

The electric Rapide has also undergone a number of modifications to smooth out the airflow and aerodynamic performance and increase the range. Measures such as a larger rear diffuser, benefiting from no longer having to accommodate the exhaust system, increase the car’s aerodynamic efficiency by eight per cent over the previous combustion-engined Rapide.

Aston Martin Rapide E The Car Expert

Inside the car’s EV status is reflected by the replacement of analogue dials with a 10-inch digital display. Information offered now includes the battery’s state of charge, current motor power levels, regenerative performance and a real-time energy consumption meter.

Aston Martin is also launching a dedicated phone app for the car, which provides remote information such as remaining range, battery status, and time to charge, as well as allowing navigation destinations to be sent from the app to the car for easy route planning.

Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin president and CEO describes the unveiling of the Rapide E as a huge moment for the brand. “As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step – one that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future,” he says.

“As a car company we cannot afford to passively allow that future to come to us; we have to actively chase it. Only by doing this can we learn and prepare, but also preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts.”

Aston Martin is now taking orders for the Rapide E, though the price is yet to be made public.

Aston Martin Rapide E The Car Expert
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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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