An all-electric Aston Martin model is a significant step closer to reality after the Gaydon-based British firm has joined forces with Chinese electronics group LeEco. The move paves the way for the RapidE concept to go into full production in the near future.
Interestingly, LeEco – formerly LeTV – is the firm backing US electric vehicle (EV) start-up Faraday Future, with the Aston Martin set to collaborate with the two companies to work on the next-generation of connected EVs.
The RapidE is set to go to market in 2018 and, although no formal details have been revealed, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has previously said that any Aston Martin EV would feature around 800hp, four-wheel drive and have a range to challenge the likes of Tesla and forthcoming models from Audi and Porsche.
The concept RapidE was developed in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering – the company behind the Williams F1 Team. It is not clear whether this previous work will be discarded or whether the production model will be built on or incorporate elements of the concept’s powertrain.
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) marks a significant step forward for both companies. Aston Martin will benefit from the electronics expertise and huge presence in China of LeEco, while the Chinese firm will expand its automotive experience with a world famous name. The RapidE is expected to only be the start of the working arrangement, with future models set to be developed.
Dr Andy Palmer, said: “Aston Martin are dedicated to developing a range of cars with low emission technologies. We have been encouraged by the project speed and technical depth shown by Letv in the development of the RapidE concept towards full production. Bringing the RapidE to market by 2018 is an important milestone for both companies.”