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Aston Martin joins electric highway with RapidE

Fully electric concept of Rapide S aimed at Chinese market

Published: October 21, 2015, 7:35 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 1:34 PM

Aston Martin RapidE concept

Aston Martin RapidE concept plaque

Aston Martin may be getting into the electric premium car race, with the unveiling of a fully-electric Rapide S four-door concept.

The unveiling was held at the Williams Advanced Engineering facility in Oxfordshire, England, as part of the British Council’s GREAT Britain campaign that promotes the island as a great place to visit, to study, to invest in, and to do business in. The event was targeted primarily at China, with President of The People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, in attendance.

“Aston Martin is an iconic British brand, and I welcome … British and Chinese businesses working together to develop links and bring benefits to the UK economy,” said Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP. “It also demonstrates how a collaboration between the UK and China can develop the innovative low emission solutions needed to tackle the pressing global issue of air quality.”

During the event, Aston Martin signed an agreement with Chinese investment group ChinaEquity to explore the development of a production version of the RapidE electric car. If successful in ascending to production, the new luxury sports car would be constructed at Aston Martin’s global HQ in Gaydon, Warwickshire, and could be brought to market before the end of the decade.

“The exciting RapidE concept tangibly demonstrates the capability and ambition of Aston Martin towards developing low- and zero-emission sports cars,” said Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer. “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 RapidE underhood

“We are delighted that Aston Martin not only provides a high performance driving experience, but also show’s their social responsibility by showcasing a new generation of electric car,” added Chairman Chaoyong Wang of ChinaEquity. “We are excited to participate in the development of the RapidE and to make a contribution to Sino-British clean energy and green environmental strategy. We feel confident that there are significant opportunities for electric cars in China and the world.”

Not much is known about the concept or a potential production version, other than it is likely built primarily for the Chinese market, now that Tesla seems to be faltering in the North American landscape. Palmer also tweeted at the time of introduction about 550 hp (or even 1100hp), though that is unlikely to happen from a dedicated electric platform.