Add Aston Martin to the growing list of companies that use nostalgia to sell customers about the idea of an electric vehicle future. The British automaker announced this week that it is launching a "Heritage EV" program that allows owners of the classic Aston Martin to convert their cars to a fully electric powertrain.
Would not that be a sacrilege, could you ask? That's an argument for another day. Aston Martin launches this program for a reason. Cities around the world, but especially in Europe, have begun banning internal combustion engines to improve the air quality for residents. If this pattern continues, the question arises: What good is a vintage car, if you can not go anywhere?
Aston Martin says the technology for these conversions will be based on "key components" that will be used to develop the Rapide E, a fully-featured all-electric sports car scheduled for release by the end of next year. Operating on a 65 kWh 800 volt battery, the Rapide E has a range of over 200 miles and has a time of less than 4 seconds from 0 to 60 mph and a top speed of 155 mph. Only 155 of them are also sold. The best way to get an idea of Aston Martin's electrical future could be one of these EV conversions. (They should also start in late 2019, but not yet a word on pricing.)
The automaker says the first car it will develop a redesign plan for is the 1970s DB6 MkII Volante. Aston Martin will build Rapide E-inspired "cassettes" that can essentially glide at the point where the original engine and transmission were, and they're even attached to the same brackets. Inside the car, a new screen is attached, otherwise, only little is changed. This also means that an owner should change his mind and should also have the money (which, of course, is the case) if he so wishes.
"Given the historical importance of these collectible cars, it is extremely important that EV retrofitting be sympathetic to the integrity of the original car," the company said in a news release this week. "The cassette system provides the perfect solution to give owners peace of mind that their car is future-proof and socially responsible, yet is an authentic Aston Martin capable of restoring the original powertrain on demand."
EV conversions have been around for some time, and both customers and companies seem to focus on classic cars like Porsche, Range Rovers and VW Beetles and buses. Jaguar recently announced plans to sell a fully electric version of the famous 1960s E-Type. As we move forward in this new area of electrified transport, automakers and enthusiasts are finding ways to pull some of their favorite cars out of the past. Aston Martin is just the newest, but it will not be the last.