600hp Aston Martin Rapide E super-limo EV unveiled

This is the new 600hp, battery-powered Aston Martin Rapide E, unveiled at Auto Shanghai, the British marque’s first electric car and a glimpse of what we can expect from the upcoming Lagonda EV brand.

Aston has comprehensively re-engineered the Rapide E to accommodate the electric powertrain. The 800-volt, 65kWh battery pack, designed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering, occupies the space under the bonnet and back seats where there used to be a 6.0-litre V12 engine and a fuel tank.

The batteries send the power to a pair of electric motors – one on each rear wheel. Aston Martin quotes 601hp and and 701lb/ft of torque.

That’s enough for a 0-60mph time of “under” four seconds and, perhaps more relevantly, a 50-70mph time of 1.5 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155mph.

Intriguingly, Aston claims to have got around the traditional high-performance EV problem of performance drop-off at high speeds, or on hot days. Without going into specifics, Aston says that thanks to the Rapide E’s “cutting-edge 800V architecture,” it will “deliver its performance in a consistent and repeatable way as would be expected from a traditional Aston Martin product.” Which apparently includes lapping the Nordschleife with “no performance derating.”

Aston claims the Rapide E will go more than 200 miles on a single charge on the WLTP cycle. Recharging from a 50kW outlet will take just over an hour; use a 100kW charger and the batteries will be full in rather less than an hour.

A limited-slip differential and revised springs and dampers tighten up the handling. Indeed, Aston claims the Rapide E has the same handling characteristics as the petrol-powered Rapide AMR. There’s a choice of GT, Sport and Sport+ driving modes.

The Rapide E’s bodywork has been honed for better aerodynamics, as well. Without the need to feed air to a socking-great radiator, the front of the car has been radically reprofiled, while the absence of an exhaust meant the underside could be redesigned for better airflow and a huge diffuser could be added to the back.

The interior has been lightly refreshed, too, with a 10-inch digital instrument and info display where the regular Rapide has a set of analogue dials.

Aston Martin will build just 155 examples of the Rapide E – the price hasn’t been disclosed. They will be built at Aston’s new “Home of Electrification” in St. Athan, Wales, that will also produce the Lagonda EV range. That is expected to go on sale in the next year or two.

By Graham King

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