Iconic brand to lease limited-production fully electric cars in 2019

The nascent global effort to sweep gas- and diesel-fueled vehicles into obsolescence is showing signs of revving up.

France, India, Norway and Great Britain are leaders among more than a dozen nations now setting target dates to ban the sale of vehicles that burn fossil fuels. Those dates typically range from 2025 to 2040, but luxury vehicle enthusiasts will not have to wait decades to spend their money in support of ecological-friendly initiatives.

Cadillac, Infinity and Lexus all offer popular hybrid electric models, but the Tesla Model S stands as the lone truly luxury vehicle now on the market that is fully electric. That will change in 2019, when British automaker Aston Martin launches its first entirely electric model, the RapidE. The company is expected to produce only 155 vehicles, which are expected to have a £200,000 price tag in Britain ($261,000 U.S.). The company also is developing the DBX Crossover, a four-door hybrid.

The RapidE is a major component of the company’s Second Century Plan, an outline to launch seven models in as many years, according to Dr. Andy Palmer, president and chief executive officer of Aston Martin. The cars will be produced near company headquarters in Gaydon, England, and Williams Advanced Engineering, based in the nearby town of Grove, will collaborate on the production.

The four-door RapidE will feature a fully electric powertrain capable of 800 horsepower, which replaces a 6-liter V12 engine.
“Having unveiled the RapidE Concept back in October 2015, we reach another milestone with the confirmation that we are now putting the first all-electric Aston Martin into production,” said Palmer via press release.

“RapidE represents a sustainable future in which Aston Martin’s values of seductive style and supreme performance don’t merely coexist alongside a new zero-emission powertrain, but are enhanced by it.”

“For today’s car manufacturer, (meeting sustainability challenges) are particularly important as legislation demands more energy-efficient vehicles,” said Paul McNamara, technical director for WAE, which also created the RapidE Concept vehicle.

Aston Martin formed a partnership on the project in February 2016 with Chinese company LeEco, but is now self-funding the endeavor. LeEco, founded by controversial billionaire CEO Jia Yueting, is developing its own electric car, LeSEE, and Yueting has provided financing to electric vehicle startups Faraday Future and Lucid Motors.

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