The Low Down on the Aston Martin Rapide E

rapide-e-aston-martinAston Martin have just released secrets about their first all-electric production car – the Rapide E, and as massive Aston fans at Signature Car Hire we’d like to share their news on our blog.

Working closely with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) as its development partner to produce the strictly limited 155-unit special edition, Aston Martin has made use of the hugely successful leader in Electric Vehicle (EV) technology to start this new era for Aston Martin’s powertrain technology and overcome the technical challenges that come with packaging the battery system and motors within the space they have available in their iconic British sports cars.

As development progresses the engineering team have remained focused on accomplishing effective cooling of the batteries and motor to make sure they achieving performance that is consistent, while exacting weight objectives have been rigorously adhered to using lightweight alloys and carbon composite materials.

The Aston Martin Rapide E will be powered by an 800V battery electrical architecture with 65kWh installed capacity which is estimated to use over 5600 lithium ion 18650 format cylindrical cells. These are housed in a bespoke battery pack where the original 6.0-litre V12 engine, its gearbox and fuel tank were located. This battery system powers two rear mounted electric motors which will produce a combined target output of just over 610PS and a massive 950Nm of torque.

The Rapide E’s target range is over 200 miles under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), while the car is qualified to charge at a rate of 1851,2 miles of range per hour using a typical 400V 50kW charger. However, the car’s 800V high-voltage battery system allows a faster charging speed of 3101,2 miles of range per hour, using an 800V outlet delivering 100kW or higher.

As you would expect from an Aston Martin, the Rapide E is being produced with a high-performance vision. The Rapide E has an expected top speed of 155mph, with a sub-4.0sec 0-60mph time and an impressive 50-70mph time of just 1.5sec. What’s most impressive is that these figures don’t just apply when fully charged. Maximum performance is promised throughout most of the battery charge, as would be expected from any conventional engined car.

1rapide-e-aston-martinFocus has not solely rested on the engine with the car’s exterior and underbody also benefitting from advances. The body has been aerodynamically improved and accompanied with newly-designed aerodynamic wheels. Shod with Pirelli P Zero™, Rapide E’s bespoke tyres expect to produce a lower rolling-resistance and lowered cavity noise, while still delivering superior dynamic capability. The Aston Martin Rapide E expects to deliver higher levels of aerodynamic, frictional loss and cooling performance over the standard Rapide S.

Aston Martin has also strived to keep and improve the atmosphere, aspect and performance of the V12-engined Rapide S. To achieve this, careful consideration will be paid to the development and tuning of both the electric powertrain and the chassis, with distinct focus added to software integration. The rear-wheel drive Rapide E’s twin electric motors will drive through a Limited-Slip Differential, which united with revised spring and damper rates will make sure the pure handling components for which the petrol-powered Rapide S is already renowned.

Although the Rapide E will be produced in limited numbers, it is being subjected to Aston Martin’s exacting and extensive testing protocols, with the dedicated WAE team working closely with Aston Martin staff to make sure every aspect of the prototype test programme follows the marque’s established procedures.

In addition to WAE, the Rapide E programme appreciates the back up of other technical partners including Hyperbat Limited as the battery manufacturer, Integral Powertrain for the electric motors, Xtrac for the transmission and the H1PERBAT project consortium with grant funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre.  

Speaking of the Rapide E programme, Andy Palmer, CEO Aston Martin, commented: “Environmental responsibility and sustainability is a global challenge faced by us all. As a career automotive engineer, I’m proud that the car industry is leading the way in finding long-term solutions and reducing harmful emissions. As Aston Martin’s CEO, I take particular satisfaction working with Williams Advanced Engineering and our other associated technology partners to bring Rapide E to reality. As our first all-electric production model, Rapide E will fast-track our knowledge and help us ensure the character and high-performance capabilities of our future EV models and enhance the unique qualities found in all Aston Martins as we know them today. Rapide E will also serve as a critical step on our path to re-launching Lagonda as the world’s first zero-emission luxury marque”.

The Aston Martin Rapide E will be manufactured at the new St. Athan production facility, proclaimed as the future ‘Home of Electrification’ for both the Aston Martin and Lagonda brands.