Aston Martin’s “Back to the Future” EV Plan
- Classic Astons fitted with EV powertrains
- Powertrain swap reversible
- New EV “cassette” developed by Aston Martin Works
- Classic 1970 DB6 MkII is the first recipient
- Set to begin in 2019
In September of this year, Aston Martin announced that it will begin developing its first electric-powered production car, the Rapide E. This sporty Aston sedan will feature a pair of electric motors in back, along with a lithium-ion battery pack mounted right where the original V12 internal combustion engine used to reside.
Now, Aston Martin has more EV news: To help ensure that classic Aston Martins will remain drivable in a green future laced with possible restrictions on driving cars with internal combustion engines, the company has announced a radical plan to retrofit classic Aston Martins with zero-emissions EV powertrains. Importantly, Aston says these swaps to an EV powertrain, which are sympathetic to the original car, are totally reversible.
Cassette-style EV powertrains
The plan involves a “cassette”-style powertrain cartridge developed by Aston Martin Works, which gained EV knowledge while developing the Rapide E and an all-new range of future Lagondas. Aston says the EV powertrain cassette includes key components that come straight from the Rapide E program.
The first classic Aston to receive the radical new EV powertrain is an original 1970 DB6 MkII Volante originally built at Newport Pagnell. Its EV powertrain cassette, contained in a cell, rides directly on the original engine and gearbox mounts, and wiring coming from the front-mounted power unit feeds the car’s electrical systems. A discreet interior screen helps the driver to monitor and manage the EV system.
Aston says the newly developed EV cassette system, besides being sympathetic to the original integrity of the car, will offer owners the reassurance of knowing that their classic Aston is future-proofed and socially responsible. At the same time, their car remains a classic Aston that can have its original powertrain reinstalled.
Part of Aston’s Second Century Plan
“We are very aware of the environmental and social pressures that threaten to restrict the use of classic cars in the years to come,” explained Aston CEO Andy Palmer. “Our Second Century Plan not only encompasses our new and future models, but also protects our treasured heritage. I believe this not only makes Aston Martin unique, but a truly forward-thinking leader in this field.”
Paul Spires, the boss at Aston Martin Works added: “We have been looking for some time to find a way of protecting our customers’ long-term enjoyment of their cars. Driving a classic Aston Martin on pure EV power is a unique experience and one that will no doubt be extremely attractive to many owners, especially those who live in city centers. We also foresee collectors adding another dimension to their collection by commissioning EV-converted heritage cars.”
Although there are many powertrain (and other) details to learn, Aston Martin Works, which handled the initial concept evaluation and build of the proof-of-concept DB6 Volante, will be responsible for completing the customer Heritage EV conversions. Expect them to begin sometime in 2019.