Car Industry

Aston Martin needs a Chinese battery partner for its RapidE, and fast

We can just see the personal ad now: "SBAM seeks CBM 4 EV partnership, LTR starting with RapidE."

Aston Martin

Let's get real right now, China is the world's largest car market, and that market is only getting bigger. This, coupled with the fact that China is finally getting serious about improving its notoriously terrible air quality, means that manufacturers are going to great lengths to please Chinese buyers, even storied luxury marques like Aston Martin, which is now looking for a Chinese partner to help build the RapidE there.

Aston Martin, long known as one of the world's preeminent purveyors of hot, nasty, badass speed, made waves last year when it announced an electric version of its four-door Rapide which it rather uncreatively dubbed RapidE. The RapidE is important because Aston Martin is serious about making money (finally) and projects that electric vehicles will account for 25 percent of its business by 2030 and the Chinese market will likely account for a hefty chunk of that 25 percent seeing as it is the also the world's largest market for EVs.

The RapidE marks the beginning of Aston Martin's plans to electrify or hybridize its entire lineup.

Aston Martin

Even though Aston only plans on building 155 RapidEs, building a relationship with a Chinese battery supplier will be critical going forward as Chinese business regulations give preferential treatment to domestic battery suppliers, practically requiring foreign companies to partner up. Aston Martin has been speaking with Contemporary Amperex Technology, among others to help get the RapidE to market by 2019.

Chinese adoption of alternative fuel vehicles has been much more rapid and widespread than in other areas of the world. While exact figures are still being tallied, estimates put the sales of non-gas or diesel vehicles at around 700,000 for 2017 and could exceed 1,000,000 in 2018, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. At this rate, we'll have to curtail all our Blade Runner jokes about Chinese air quality.

We've reached out to Aston Martin for comment and will update this story if we hear back.