Production-ready Aston Martin Rapide E unveiled

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Aston Martin Lagonda has revealed the final production-ready iteration of its first all-electric production car, the Rapide E. The vehicle made its world debut at China’s Auto Shanghai motor show.

The first car to be built at Aston Martin’s St Athan production facility, the electric model will have a limited production run of 155 units and has been developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE).

Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams have worked in partnership to optimize the aerodynamic performance of the Rapide E. Traditional metal vanes have been replaced with a honeycomb front grille, and thanks to the lower cooling requirements demanded of the EV powertrain, Aston Martin’s aerodynamic engineers have optimized the aperture of the frontal area, minimizing airflow through the car’s body to improve aerodynamic efficiency and increase range.

A redesigned underfloor streamlines airflow from the front splitter through to Rapide E’s new larger rear diffuser – a feature that is now wholly dedicated to aero efficiency due to the removal of the exhaust system. The model’s forged aluminum aerodynamic wheels – fitted with bespoke low rolling-resistance Pirelli P-Zero tires – have been redesigned to give greater efficiency without compromising brake cooling capability. These changes give Rapide E’s aerodynamic package an 8% improvement over the previous ICE model.

Throughout the development process, the combined Aston Martin Lagonda/WAE engineering team first focused their efforts on finding packaging solutions for the battery system and motors within the Rapide’s architecture before working to achieve effective cooling of the batteries and motors.

Rapide E is powered by an 800V electrical architecture battery – encased in carbon fiber and Kevlar – with a 65kWh installed capacity using over 5,600 lithium-ion 18650 format cylindrical cells. This bespoke battery pack lies where the original 6.0-liter V12, gearbox and fuel tank were located, with the 800V system enabling more efficient charging and improved thermal characteristics over existing electrical architectures. This battery system powers two rear-mounted electric motors producing a combined target output of just over 610ps and 950Nm of torque.

Rapide E’s range is over 200 miles (320km) under WLTP, while the model is capable of charging at a rate of 185 miles (300km) of range per hour using a typical 400V 50kW charger. However, the car’s 800V high-voltage battery system enables faster charging of 310 miles (500km) of range per hour using an 800V outlet delivering 100kW or higher. For destination charging, the car also features a high-power AC on-board charger capable of recharging the battery in as little as three hours.

Top speed for Rapide E is 155mph (250km/h), with a sub-4.0 second 0-60mph (0-97km/h) time and a 50-70mph (80-112km/h) time of just 1.5 seconds. These figures are not restricted to a narrow window of battery charge or climatic conditions – thanks to the 800V architecture, the Rapide E will deliver its performance in a consistent and repeatable way.

The electric powertrain and the chassis have been tuned to deliver three driving modes – GT, Sport and Sport +. The rear-wheel drive Rapide E’s twin electric motors drive through a limited-slip differential, which combined with a revised spring and damper rates ensures that the handling characteristics of the gasoline-powered Rapide AMR are retained.

Speaking ahead of Rapide E’s Shanghai debut, Andy Palmer, president and Group CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda, commented, “Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin. 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. 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. That’s why it was so important to me that in embracing EV technology we should not let go of those unique qualities that define an Aston Martin. I believe Rapide E embodies that desire and paves the way for a hugely exciting future.”

About Author

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Matt joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he began editing Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International in 2016, and took over as editor of Tire Technology International in 2018.

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