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Aston Martin's first electric car is finally here




The first all-electric Aston Martin has finally been revealed, almost four years after it was originally announced. Based on the existing combustion engine Aston Martin Rapide sedan, "Rapide E" officially debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show on Tuesday. Only 155 will be made, and Aston Martin did not announce a price for the car.

Powered by an 800 volt 65kWh battery, Aston Martin estimates that Rapide E will be able to travel "over 200 miles" on a single charge. Twin motors mounted on the rear axle will generate 450kW (or over 600 horsepower) and can get the car at a top speed of 1[ads1]55 miles per hour. It will happen quite quickly too – Aston Martin says the Rapide E will go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds (which is a bitch faster than standard combustion Rapide S). When connected to a high-speed charger, the car's battery can be charged at 310 miles per hour.

The car will be equipped with a 10-inch digital instrument cluster behind the wheel, and an 8-inch display mounted on the center of the dashboard will handle infotainment duties (with physical buttons below the one on the center console, echo the layout of the latest Rapides). Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported.

On the outside, Rapide E is most similar to the combustion engine it is based on, storing for some electric blue accents in headlights and on brake calipers. Below the hood there are things that are most different. The battery system is designed around the room where the combustion version V12 engine, gearbox and fuel tank normally run. This means that the Rapide E does not have a full floor in batteries such as, for example, a Tesla. Although it reduces design and engineering costs, it ultimately limits the number of battery cells (and ultimate capacity) that a car manufacturer can fit in the car. Finally, Rapide E weighs 4,717 pounds, which is about 400 pounds more than combustion Rapide S.

Rapide E was announced in 2015, just around when Aston Martin went through a huge cost-saving push that resulted in hundreds of layoffs. To get Rapide E (then only called the "RapidE") project from the ground, the UK automaker launched financing from Chinese financiers. Subsequently, Aston Martin announced in 2016 that it would build the car with the Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco company founded by Jia Yueting, who also founded (and now runs) struggling with the EV startup Faraday Future.

Aston Martin's first electric car would turn its way in 2018 and be produced in larger volumes. But LeEco withdrew from the joint venture in 2017 amid its own cash crunch. Aston Martin turned to Formula One engineering house Williams to help the car market and reduce the volume to just 155 cars. (Williams also helped build the batteries of first generation electric races of Formula E.)

Rapide E will be built in the village of St. Athan in South Wales. It is also where Aston Martin is planning to build the all-electric vehicles in Lagonda, recently there were sub-variants dedicated to EV. Aston Martin calls the plant in the St. Athan company's "Home of Electrification."



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