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Aston Martin won’t say whether its electric car is dead or alive

Aston Martin won’t say whether its electric car is dead or alive


Another twist in the tale of the troubled EV

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Image: Aston Martin

Aston Martin might have killed the Rapide E, its first electric car, before it ever shipped according to an Autocar report from late last week. But Aston Martin won’t say if this is true or not, as a spokesperson tells The Verge that the company “can’t comment on product speculation.”

“Everybody is asking...” the spokesperson said in a text message, before repeating the line about speculation. “Can’t say any more than that I’m afraid.”

The automaker did not mention anything about the Rapide E on a call with financial analysts last week. Autocar also reported, according a single source close to the British automaker, Aston Martin is instead planning to use the Rapide E as a research project for future electric vehicles — likely under its resurrected Lagonda brand.

The Rapide E has had a rocky five-year history

The Rapide E made its official debut in April 2019 at the Auto Shanghai motor show after a tortuous four years of development. Announced in 2015, Aston Martin had once planned to build the car as part of a joint venture with Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco. But when LeEco went under in 2017, Aston Martin was forced to scale back its ambitions for the Rapide E. The British automaker announced that year that it would only make 155 of the electric sports sedan, and wound up once again partnering with Williams Advanced Engineering (the technical arm of the Williams F1 team), which had built the original Rapide E prototype.

Production troubles aside, Aston Martin would be asking a lot of those 155 customers if it ever brought the Rapide E to market. The specs never quite lined up with the price tag, which at one point was $255,000. Aston Martin was only promising around 200 miles of range at best, and that’s before any official estimates from the European Union or the Environmental Protection Agency in the US. That could be partially thanks to the weight; at 4,717 pounds, the Rapide E was about 400 pounds heavier than the internal combustion Rapide S. But it’s also because, in the simplest terms, Aston Martin was stuffing electric tech into the body of the internal combustion engine Rapide.

Yes, the Rapide E was supposed to have twin motors that put out over 600 horsepower, with a top speed of 155 miles per hour and a 0 to 60 mph time of under four seconds. But anyone pushing the car to that level of performance would also undoubtedly crush the battery’s already limited range.

Aston Martin has struggled mightily over the last few years (and has gone bankrupt seven times in its 100-plus-year history), and even ended production of the standard Rapide in 2019. The automaker has pinned much of its hopes on the DBX, its first SUV, but that vehicle isn’t due until later this year. In the meantime, Aston Martin is reportedly soliciting bids from outside investors, as it has $1 billion in debt and finished 2019 with just $139 million in cash.