Aston Martin wants in-house electric powertrain production

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Teaser for Aston Martin RapidE debuting in 2019

Teaser for Aston Martin RapidE debuting in 2019

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Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer revealed this week he plans to offer a hybrid option on every model in the line-up by the middle of the next decade.

And some models will offer a pure electric option, too. Palmer reckons a quarter of the range will have an electric option by the end of the next decade. By then, Aston Martin should have—at a minimum—seven distinct model lines.

And instead of outsourcing its electric car powertrains, as it currently does with some of its internal combustion engines, Palmer wants Aston Martin to produce the powertrains, both the motors and batteries, in-house. The actual battery cells will still be outsourced, though.

“You need to keep core technology inside the company,” Palmer told the Financial Times during a recent interview. “We believe that EVs are a core technology, and therefore we want to do them ourselves.”

Aston Martin DBX concept, 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Aston Martin DBX concept, 2015 Geneva Motor Show

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Palmer said V-12 engines were also a core technology. “That’s why we make our own V-12 engine,” he explained. The engine he’s referring to is the 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 found in the DB11. The firm’s soon-to-be-obsolete 5.9-liter mill is sourced from Ford.

Aston Martin’s first electric car will be the limited-edition RapidE due in 2019. Developed with the help of Williams Advanced Engineering, this model will use an outsourced powertrain, which makes sense given its limited production. But as Aston Martin moves to regular production electric cars, the first of which will be a version of the DBX SUV, we should see the firm move into electric powertrain production.

Palmer’s ambitions are impressive given the small size of Aston Martin. The company delivered just 2,439 vehicles in the first half of 2017. However, as Aston Martin will be adding more models in the coming years and increasing sales, it will be forced to meet the same emission standards as the major automakers. Therefore, vehicle electrification is a must if Aston Martin wants to preserve its V-12 engines and performance image.

The good news is that Palmer has plenty of experience when it comes to vehicle electrification, and particularly electric cars. Prior to joining Aston Martin in 2014, he was vice president of Nissan and in charge of the Japanese automaker’s product planning. One of the models he was keen to see produced was an electric sports car based on 2013’s BladeGlider concept.

 
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