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Aston confirms 610hp Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.

Aston confirms 610hp Rapide E
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What's all this about?

This is the Aston Martin Rapide E, revealed at the Auto Shanghai show in China. The first-ever electric car from the company, the Rapide E will be built at the new St Athan factory in Wales and will be limited to 155 units worldwide. It's available to order now, with 'price on application'. Which means 'expensive'.

How much power, performance and range does it have?

The Rapide E uses an 800-volt electrical system, with the carbon-and-Kevlar-encased battery pack sitting where the Rapide's 6.0-litre V12, gearbox and fuel tank all used to reside. This battery sends its power to a pair of rear-mounted electric motors, which - between them - churn out targeted figures of around 610hp and 950Nm. That means the Rapide E should be capable of a sub-four-second 0-62mph sprint and 50-70mph in just 1.5 seconds, with top speed limited to 155mph. But it will also go more than 200 miles on a single charge, WLTP ratified, and can be charged in quick time on a 100kW super-fast connection. Aston also says its 800V system means the Rapide E will always deliver its maximum power and performance, no matter the weather conditions outside the car nor how low the battery's charge is, while - with a limited-slip differential and revised springs/dampers - it should also drive like a true Aston.

Has the Rapide E changed much visually?

Not a huge amount, as it's clearly a Rapide, but Aston's engineers and designers worked hard to 'extract optimal aerodynamic performance' from the four-door's elegant shape. So the brand's traditional metal-vaned grille is replaced by a honeycomb item for the Rapide E, while its frontal area has been revised; it doesn't need to channel as much cooling air into its drivetrain, y'see, so the engineers could play around with that feature as a result. Ditto the rear diffuser, which is larger than on the old combustion-engined Rapides as it doesn't have to accommodate exhaust pipes on an electric car. Said diffuser is the culmination of a revised underfloor that sees air flowed more neatly from the Rapide E's chin splitter to the back of the car. Forged aluminium aerodynamic wheels are shod with low rolling-resistance Pirelli P Zero tyres and so the E is said to be eight per cent more aerodynamically efficient than a V12 Rapide. Inside, a ten-inch digital display is the main change, which shows information such as the battery's state of charge, the current motor power levels, the regenerative performance and a real-time energy consumption meter. There's a lot of carbon fibre in the cabin, too, which is there more for its weight-saving purposes than it is for its visual eye-candy appeal.

Any words from Aston on the Rapide E?

Dr Andy Palmer, president and CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda, said of the Rapide E at the Shanghai show: "Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin. As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. One that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future. As a car company, we cannot afford to passively allow that future to come to us; we have to actively chase it. Only by doing this can we learn and prepare, but also preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts. That's why it was so important to me that in embracing EV technology, we should not let go of those unique qualities that define an Aston Martin. I believe Rapide E embodies that desire and paves the way for a hugely exciting future."

Matt Robinson - 16 Apr 2019

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.2020 Aston Martin Rapide E. Image by Aston Martin.    - Aston Martin road tests
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