Last October, Aston Martin revealed an all-electric RapidE concept car at a China state visit to the UK. This was followed up at CES in January by showing a Rapide S that incorporated an Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system from Chinese technology company LeTV, (now known as LeEco). Now the two companies have reinforced their partnership by signing a deal that will see an all-electric Rapide on the market by 2018.
Since the development of the RapidE concept proved the feasibility for taking an existing production model and converting it into an all-electric sports sedan, Aston Martin and LeEco have been working together to further examine the possibility of such a vehicle entering production. To this end, they have been examining potential battery system technologies and powertrains.
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The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Aston Martin and LeEco will see the efforts to develop low-emission vehicle technologies step up. In addition to putting the RapidE into production by 2018, the joint venture may result in a range of new electric vehicles during the second half of the decade. This includes potential for teaming up with Faraday Future, a company that is no stranger to all-electric vehicle concepts.
Aston Martin isn't the only traditional British manufacturer to look to the future of electric motoring. Morgan has committed to the electrification of its range by 2019, starting with its oddball three-wheeler, while Porsche has also made the move to electric power with the drop-dead gorgeous Mission E. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche has promised a permanent-magnet synchronous motor-powered four-door that's capable of a 3.5-second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph).
Whether or not Aston Martin can come close to matching those numbers remains to be seen, but it's exciting to see the world's sports car manufacturers following Tesla's lead in using electric power for manic acceleration and stealthy everyday operation.
Source: Aston MartinView gallery - 4 images