Aston Martin could take on the Tesla Model S with a lightweight electric sports car that's smaller than the Vantage.
Revealed last year alongside the Tesla Semi, the new next-generation 2019 Roadster has set a new performance benchmark for EVs with Tesla claiming a staggering 0-62 mph sprint time of 1.9 seconds. That would make it the fastest accelerating electric car in the world, practically taunting other automakers to challenge it. There's a good chance that Rimac's upcoming successor to the Concept One will be its closest competitor, and now Aston Martin wants to build a lightweight, all-electric sports car to rival the Tesla Roadster.
While Aston Martin's first all-electric car, the RapidE that's limited to 155 units, will go sale next year as a sleek four-door sedan, CEO Andy Palmer told AutoExpress that the automaker is considering building a pure-electric car that's smaller than a Vantage but faster and more expensive. "It's possible, yes. There are various challenges involved in making an EV, and the one everyone focuses on is the battery – the management system and the chemistry involved," he said. "The interesting thing is that the other three key components of any electric car – weight, aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance – are areas sports car manufacturers, and us in particular, are really good at mastering."
"That puts us at an advantage over other brands who are making some big claims – such as Tesla, with a lightweight roadster. I think we could be in that space relatively easily." If Aston Martin decides to build an all-electric roadster, it would most likely use the same aluminium structure as the DB11 and Vantage. We already know that this structure is being adapted to accommodate electric powertrains, so it would make sense for an electric Aston Martin roadster to share components to cut back development costs. Aston Martin is also planning to offer a hybrid version of every model by 2025. Palmer confirmed that they will use 48V tech and won't be plug-ins.
"We won't offer plug-in hybrids. I don't see the point," he said. "You have the complexity and costs of a regular engine, and the complexity and costs of a plug-in electrified system. I'd rather spend my engineering dollar on going to what, after all, will be the final goal: pure-electric vehicles. So we hope that the hybrid system we develop will have enough 'sailing' pure-electric range to satisfy the requirements of cities." He also acknowledged that using mild-hybrid tech could lead to Aston engines falling below eight cylinders for the first time since the straight-six DB7. "There'd be the V12 and the V8, so there could be a sporty mid-sized engine – for a future, lighter Vantage, for example."
"A hybridised V6 could work with that, but using the system as KERS and for performance, of course," he said. Don't expect to see an Aston Martin with a four-cylinder engine any time soon, though. "I have no objection to the principle of engines that are smaller and in a V configuration, in fact, but in-line four-cylinder or three-cylinder units? No. I don't think we'll see an Aston Martin with a combustion engine that has any fewer than six cylinders."