Aston Martin has launched a heritage electrification programme to future-proof its classic models.
The radical idea involves the use of a ‘cassette’-style powertrain, which is fully reversible – preserving the cars’ heritage and allowing them to be returned to their original engine configuration if the owner wishes.
The powertrain uses elements from the forthcoming Aston Martin RapidE electric saloon, as well as components likely to be featured on the new generation of Lagonda luxury cars. It will, the firm says, “mitigate any future legislation to restrict the use of classic cars”.
The first car to feature the powertrain is a 1970 DB6 Volante – originally handbuilt in Aston Martin’s Newport Pagnell factory, where the conversions are also taking place. Alterations are purposefully kept as minimal as possible to preserve the car’s authenticity – the new powertrain is a self-contained unit that sits on top of the original engine and gearbox mountings, and additional instrumentation is provided via a single discreet screen in the cabin.
No details of range, power output or battery capacity have been released, but the firm expects to deliver the first customer EV conversions as soon as 2019.
Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer said: “We are very aware of the environmental and social pressures that threaten to restrict the use of classic cars in the years to come. Our plan not only encompasses our new and future models, but also protects our treasured heritage.”
Customer deliveries of Aston Martin’s first series production electric vehicle, the RapidE, will also start in 2019.