Aston Martin Rapide luxury sedan to go all-electric; cheerio, V-12!

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Many luxury automakers are planning new electric cars, both to meet future emissions standards and as a response to the success of Tesla.

So far, though, no established automaker has discussed directly replacing an internal-combustion model with an all-electric one.

But that may be exactly what Aston Martin is planning to do with its sleek, elegant Rapide sedan.

Since its launch in 2010, the Rapide has been offered only with a V-12 engine, but that incarnation will be axed in 2018, Aston CEO Andy Palmer recently told Australian car website Motoring.

Palmer is a major supporter of electric cars who previously led product development for Nissan.

That included overseeing development of the Nissan Leaf—by far the best-selling all-electric car in history.

In 2018, Aston will discontinue the V-12 Rapide and start selling an all-electric version, Palmer said.

This model was previewed by the RapidE concept that debuted in 2015.

Literally a current-generation Rapide modified with an electric powertrain, it was developed in concert with Williams Advanced Engineering—the engineering arm of the Williams Formula One team.

The concept boasted motor output of 600 kilowatts (800 horsepower) and a claimed range of around 200 miles.

The electric Rapide project is being funded in part by Chinese investment group ChinaEquity, and Chinese tech company LeEco is involved as well.

LeEco and its billionaire founder Jia Yueting are also the main backers of electric-car startup Faraday Future, and are believed to have ties to yet another startup, Lucid Motors.

Despite the effort required to engineer and launch a new all-electric variant, Aston’s decision to ditch the Rapide’s V-12 coincides with a phaseout of the model itself.

Palmer said the four-door market will be “covered in a different way,” specifically by the upcoming DBX SUV, and more sedans from Aston’s Lagonda sub-brand.

The DBX concept that debuted in 2015 had an all-electric powertrain, and it’s possible the Rapide’s powertrain will get a second life in that model once the sedan is discontinued.

While it lasts, though, the electric Rapide will at least stand out as a distinctly British alternative to the numerous German and Chinese luxury electric cars expected to appear over the next few years.

By Courtesy Green Car Reports

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