Aston Martin Rapide E debuts as brand's first production EV

feedback@motor1.com (Christopher Smith)
Aston Martin Rapide E

It has 601 bhp and a 200-mile range, but only 155 examples are slated for production.

Our attention is admittedly focused on the 2019 New York Auto Show, but Auto Shanghai is also shaking the automotive pillars this week and Aston Martin is doing some shaking of its own. The automaker is ready to step into the electric world with the Rapide E – the first fully electric production car from the posh British manufacturer.

Revisit the Rapide E development:

Yes, the shape is familiar to Aston fans. The four-door Rapide is faithfully recreated here, but gone is the aurally delightful 6.0-litre V12. Instead, the Rapide E turns just the back wheels with a pair of rear-mounted electric motors. In the place normally occupied by the V12, you’ll find a bespoke 800V battery pack wrapped in Kevlar and carbon fibre, consisting of more than 5,600 lithium-ion cells. It’s enough to produce a combined 601 bhp and 701 pound-feet of torque – numbers which eclipse all iterations of the V12-powered Rapide by a fair margin.

Pin your foot to the floor of a fully charged Rapide E, and Aston Martin says you’ll hit 60 mph in less than four seconds. For the record, that’s nearly a full second quicker than the Rapide S, and even eclipses the crazy AMR edition. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, so as far as acceleration performance goes, Aston’s first electric production vehicle doesn’t disappoint.

As for range, that varies on how often you exercise that substantial forward thrust but Aston Martin estimates a range of over 200 miles under WLTP standards. It’s capable of fast charging using a 400V 50kW charger, or the car’s high-voltage battery system allows for even faster 800V 100kW charging, which can add 310 miles of range in just an hour. A more modest on-board AC charger can completely refill the battery pack in three hours.

Aston's electric ambition:

There’s far more to the Rapide E than just an electric powertrain, however. Inside, the traditional gauge cluster behind the wheel is replaced with a 10-inch digital display. Outside, the underbody is completely redesigned to provide smoother airflow front-to-back, including a new rear diffuser that focuses on aero efficiency. It rides on new aluminium wheels designed to increase efficiency as well as brake cooling. Speaking of cooling, since there’s no longer a beefy V12 up front that requires airflow, engineers have streamlined the Rapide E’s nose to help the four-door better slip through the air.

Yes, the Rapide E is Aston Martin’s first step into the electric realm, but admittedly it’s not a big one. Only 155 models are slated for production, but it’s seen as a pivotal step towards the automaker’s new Lagonda brand, which will be a full-on zero-emission operation. As it stands now, the Rapide E is available for order, but the company restricts pricing information to those who apply for an opportunity to own one.