Automobiles

The RapidE is an all-electric Aston Martin concept that could go on sale in two years

Aston Martin and Williams Advanced Engineering team up to create an all-electric version of the automaker's four-door supercar, and it could become a production model in a very tight time frame.

The fancy blue vinyl lets you know it's electric. Aston Martin

What's the difference between an Aston Martin Rapide and an Aston Martin RapidE? The seemingly out-of-place capitalization is explained by the fact that the RapidE is an all-electric concept version of the stately Rapide sedan, and it was shown off for the first time today, October 21, at the same location as a meeting between British and Chinese heads of state.

The RapidE is just a concept for now, but Aston Martin and a Chinese investment group are looking at the logistics of a production version. If it's deemed a good business move, Aston Martin claims the RapidE could make the shift from concept to reality in approximately two years.

Aston Martin has been mum on any specific details of this concept like range, power or potential cost. The concept was built in Oxfordshire, England, in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering, the engineering arm of the greater Williams empire. Not only does this team help develop technology for Williams' Formula 1 team, but it has experience in the aerospace, defense and renewable energy fields as well. In short, this isn't the group's first rodeo.

Wait a second...that's not a V-12! Aston Martin

The location of the RapidE's unveiling coincides with the meeting of Prince William, Duchess Catherine and China's President Xi Jinping. The summit was put together as part of the British government's GREAT campaign, which highlights all the, er, great things that Britain has to offer. It's meant to increase tourism and strengthen business relations with foreign companies. That's a fitting backdrop for the release of a British-built-and-developed electric supercar using Chinese investments.

Aston Martin has been selling the Rapide since 2010. The car was built in Austria for the first two years, before returning to Aston Martin's Gaydon factory in England. For three years, a 470-horsepower, 12-cylinder engine powered the Rapide. Since 2013, a refreshed version of the Rapide -- the Rapide S -- boosted power output to 550 horsepower and replaced the old six-speed automatic transmission with an eight-speed unit. The car's retail price is $203,295 (£150,299, AU$378,500).