Electric Aston Martin RapidE delayed until 2019 after LeEco exit

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Aston Martin on Monday gave an update on the progress of its first electric car, the RapidE.

Previewed in concept form in 2015 and originally slated for launch in 2018, the high-performance electric luxury sedan will now arrive in 2019.

The change in plans is due to a key partner, Chinese tech giant LeEco, pulling out of the project. Aston Martin and LeEco joined forces on electric car technology in February 2016, with the two firms signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

Aston Martin was to use the technology for the RapidE and future electric cars like the DBX SUV, while LeEco was to use it for its electric car startup Faraday Future and another brand aimed at the Chinese market.

Aston Martin RapidE concept

Aston Martin RapidE concept

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Instead, Williams Advanced Engineering will now serve as lead partner for the RapidE project. Williams Advanced Engineering is the technology offshoot of the Williams Formula One team and has extensive battery and electric powertrain experience, primarily from the world of motorsport.

The RapidE will be based on Aston Martin’s Rapide AMR model shown in March at the 2017 Geneva auto show. CEO Andy Palmer has previously hinted at an 800-horsepower output and 200-mile range.

Aston Martin will limit production to just 155 units. The order books open next month and the starting price is expected to come in at about $250,000. Aston Martin is yet to confirm if any of the cars will end up in the United States.

The news that LeEco has pulled out of the project is another indication of the financial woes plaguing the tech firm. In November 2016, CEO and founder Jia Yueting announced that LeEco was experiencing a cash crunch. And just last month it was reported that LeEco had slashed funding for Faraday Future which forced the startup to fire hundreds of staff and look to raise $1 billion.

 
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