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Fully electric Aston Martin Rapide E debuts in Shanghai

Aston Martin's first electric car will also be a very exclusive one, limited to just 155 examples.

Aston Martin

After giving us a tease last year, Aston Martin's first electric car is finally ready for prime time. Meet the production-ready Aston Martin Rapide E which debuts this week at the 2019 Shanghai Motor Show.

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The Rapide E's design looks ready to roll out of Aston's new UK production facility in St. Athan, building on the design of the combustion-powered Rapide with unique details that indicate its electrified nature. Up front, rather than the traditional horizontal slats, the Rapide E's grille is a dark honeycomb. Aston's classic wing-shaped intake silhouette and fascia design have also been reshaped around the unique cooling and aerodynamic needs of an electric car.


Other changes include adjustments to the suspension's springs and dampers to compensate for the Rapide E's increased weight.

Aston Martin

Speaking of aerodynamics, without the need to accommodate exhaust piping, the Rapide E's entire undertray has been optimized to reduce drag. The lack of exhaust tips also makes room for a larger rear diffuser that is "now wholly dedicated to aero efficiency."  Meanwhile, the forged aluminum wheels have been redesigned for reduced turbulence and even the bespoke Pirelli P-Zero tires reduce rolling resistance. All in, the electric Rapide E cuts through the air with 8-percent less drag than the gasoline model.

The fully electric Rapide E is motivated by twin electric motors. However, rather than driving the rear wheels independently, the motors send their combined 601 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed transmission and a mechanical limited-slip differential at the rear axle. My guess is that configuration has a lot to do with the Rapide's platform not being originally designed for an electric powertrain and there just not being room on the rear axle for two e-motors. 

Whatever the case, that's an impressive 235 more pound-feet of torque than the V12-powered Rapide S and 50 more ponies. Even with the increased weight of its batteries, the EV is able to launch from stopped-to-sixty in under 4 seconds and onward to a max speed of 155 mph.

The 800-volt lithium-ion battery system encased in a carbon fiber and kevlar shell to keep weight down, strength up and because, well, what else would you expect from Aston? With a 65 kWh capacity, the Rapide E should boast a range of "over 200 miles" under the WLTP standard according to Aston Martin itself, though more concrete mileage estimates have yet to be specified.

The battery pack is split between the front and rear ends of the vehicle -- taking up residence where the combustion engine, transmission and gas tank used to live -- and is quite fast in its own way. The high-voltage cells can accept charge at a rate of 185 miles of range per hour when connected to a 400-volt, 50 kW charger or rapide-ly (heh) charged at a rate of 310 miles of range per hour at an 800-volt, 100 kW charging station. With only about 200 miles of expected capacity, I reckon that means an hour or a 30-minute charge time, respectively.


The Rapide E's cabin is highlighted by a digital instrument cluster… and carbon fiber. Lots of carbon fiber.

Aston Martin

Cabin tech upgrades include a 10-inch digital instrument cluster to compliment the 8-inch infotainment system from the standard Rapide. From these dashboard displays, the driver can monitor the battery's state of charge, performance data, braking regeneration info and real-time energy consumption. The Rapide E will also integrate with a remote monitoring app for checking the battery's level and scheduling recharging when the owner is away from the vehicle.

Aston Martin's first electric car will also be fairly exclusive. The production Rapide E will be a special edition limited to just 155 examples, which lines up nicely with that 155 mph top speed. Aimed at well-heeled EV enthusiasts who can apply today for the right to order at a yet undisclosed price, the Aston Martin Rapide E will compete with Porsche's Taycan, the upcoming Audi E-Tron GT and other high-performance electric grand tourers when it arrives later this year.