The new Aston Martin RapidE will be limited to just 155 units, however the British automaker had originally intended to build more than 450 examples of the all-electric four-door.
Aston Martin joined forces with Chinese technology company LeEco as an investment partner for the RapidE project. The cash-strapped company then backed out of the endeavor, leaving Aston as the sole investor. Rather than abandon its plans to bring a Rapide EV to market, the automaker elected to power forward and instead build a car that was more exclusive and thus more expensive.
Aston wasn’t left entirely on its own with the RapidE project. It got the Williams Formula 1 team involved in the vehicle’s development early on and it remains an engineering partner for the car. The team’s Williams Advanced Engineering tech division helped develop the original RapidE concept and it will build the production car’s battery pack at a new “high performance, low volume, flexible battery manufacturing facility,” in the UK.
The RapidE concept, unveiled in 2015, produced 800-1,000 horsepower from its four electric motors and was all-wheel drive. The automaker claimed a driving range of over 200 miles and said the production car should cost around $250,000. Aston will begin taking orders next month, with deliveries commencing sometime in 2018.
It’s easy to see why Aston was keen to carry on with the RapidE’s development following LeEco’s departure. The vehicle will essentially serve as a test bed for the electric powertrain to be found in the EV version of Aston Martin’s upcoming DBX crossover. Unlike the RapidE, that model will be mass produced and should prove to be a strong moneymaker for the British manufacturer.
“The RapidE project was always about learning in readiness for the DBX derivative,” Aston Martin CEO Palmer said. “We can do that through a limited series.”