In answer to tightening air quality and fuel efficiency regulations in many countries, British heritage sports carmaker Aston Martin has taken the step of ensuring its iconic motor vehicles can stay relevant as the transition to electric mobility gains speed.
Drawing on technology the automaker has refined throughout the development of its all-electric Rapide E sportscar, Aston Martin’s have created a zero emission “cassette” EV powertrain that it says it will be able to use to convert its stable of classic cars.
The specially designed “Heritage EV” powertrain has been built with a view to “retain the authenticity” of the Aston Martin – perhaps to put the minds of diehard classic car owners at rest, as it can also be reversed if need be, by removing it to reinstate the original ICE powertrain.
“We are very aware of the environmental and social pressures that threaten to restrict the use of classic cars in the years to come,” said Aston Martin Lagonda president and group CEO Andy Palmer in a statement.
“Our Second Century Plan not only encompasses our new and future models, but also protects our treasured heritage. I believe this not only makes Aston Martin unique, but a truly forward-thinking leader in this field.”
One model has already undertaken the conversion: an original 1970 DB6 MkII Volante, which has traded its 4 litre, six cylinder engine for the electric powertrain that now sits atop the factory engine mounts and transmission.
While the inspiration – and technology – for the conversion has the electric Aston Martin Rapide E to thanks, it’s not entirely clear if the Heritage EV powertrain shares the 65kWh and dual motor system that will grace the 155 Rapide Es the iconic carmaker is planning to build.
The carmaker though has put some considered thought into integrating a power management system into the classic vehicle, with a discreetly placed dedicated screen mounted in the interior.
“We have been looking for some time to find a way of protecting our customers’ long-term enjoyment of their cars,” said Paul Spires, president of Aston Martin Works, in a statement.
“Driving a classic Aston Martin on pure EV power is a unique experience and one that will no doubt be extremely attractive to many owners, especially those who live in city centres. We also foresee collectors adding another dimension to their collection by commissioning EV-converted heritage cars.”
With the proof-of-concept conversion with the DB6 Volante a success, Aston Martin Works now plans to convert its classic customers to lovers of electric Aston Martins starting next year.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.