One type of vehicle will never go fully electric.
The rapid shift to electrification has been prompted by legislative changes across the globe, outlawing the sale of new internal combustion vehicles from 2030 in many major markets, with 2035 being the final cut-off. Many have called the legislation a knee-jerk reaction, as politicians haven't given consideration to synthetic fuels, hydrogen combustion, or other alternatives.
Caught in the middle of such legislative changes are niche brands like Aston Martin, but with the first electric Aston due for launch before 2026, the sports car maker's CEO, Tobias Moers, has given us a ray of hope that there will be some Aston Martin products that will not become electric.
At the launch of the Aston Martin DBX707, CarBuzz spoke candidly to Moers about the future of the automotive industry, asking whether Aston had any intentions of pursuing synthetic fuels in the same vein as other brands (Porsche, Bentley, etc). Moers didn't hold back on his thoughts that electrification isn't the be-all and end-all of motoring, and that synthetic fuels are the future of high-end sports cars.
However, he said that "unlike the brand from Zuffenhausen (referencing Porsche), Aston Martin has no reason to develop synthetic fuels in-house." Instead, he says Aston has the advantage through its F1 program.
While the F1 team bearing Aston Martin's name shares next to nothing in terms of development with the road-going division, the technical partnership with Aramco, the Saudi Arabian oil giant, will bear fruit in this regard, as it will develop synthetic fuel tech that Aston can leverage.
Moers was adamant that the development of such fuel is necessary, as, in his eyes, some models simply can't be electric. Specifically referencing "mid-battery EV sports cars" - the route Porsche will be taking with the 718 EV in 2025 to maintain its handling characteristics - Moers said "Mid-engine Aston Martins will not go electric. Front engine sports cars and SUVs, yes, they can be electric, but the mid-engine program will never go electric."
At present, the mid-engine program comprises the Aston Martin Valkyrie, both coupe and roadster, and the forthcoming Valhalla, but there is a future for the configuration thereafter. Moers isn't against electrification but he feels that the character of a mid-engine supercar is built around combustion at its core.
Hybridization will be used, however, as Moers openly talks about his time introducing hybridization at Mercedes-AMG. "At AMG, I was the one who introduced EQ Boost to these models, it was my brainchild. So I think it can work, but not fully electric."
Standing in the way of Moers' ambitions to retain combustion engines, government legislation does not yet allow for synthetic fuels used in combustion engines. Moers says that obviously, they can only follow the legislation, but he believes governments will change when they realize there are alternatives to EVs out there.
Another Aston Martin representative highlighted that the change will come when queues at EV charging stations overwhelm the infrastructure, and governments will soon realize that the resources required to build EVs, like fossil fuels, are not in abundance. Only then will someone stand up and say that other alternatives should be looked at. When the time comes, Aston Martin will be ready. But even if the government doesn't change, Aston Martin believes that track-only combustion cars will be developed, that government legislation will drive gearheads underground in a sort of prohibition where they will indulge their needs for gas-burning thrills by hitting the track more regularly. Whichever way the pendulum swings, the one thing Aston is certain of is that the best is yet to come.