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Aston Martin to build EV

Charging ahead: Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer and LeEco's See Plan co-founder and vice chairman Ding Lei seal a deal that will produce the British car-maker's first electric vehicle.

LeEco, Faraday Future partnership to spawn production Aston Martin RapidE by 2018

18 Feb 2016

ASTON MARTIN has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with its Chinese financial backer, LeEco, to develop a range of electric vehicles, starting with a Tesla Model S and Porsche Mission E-bating RapidE.

The all-electric super sedan RapidE concept was revealed late last year using the production petrol-powered Rapide as its basis, but the company has now confirmed that a production electric model will be offered for sale by 2018.

The Chinese investor has also nurtured close ties with Californian electric car start-up Faraday Future – a collaboration likely to be heavily relied upon for the development of the British company's first zero-emissions car.

With four-doors and Aston Martin performance, the production RapidE will have Tesla's Model S firmly in its sights, as well as Porsche's Mission E-based production car that has been promised “at the end of the decade”.

In a release, the British sportscar-maker said the RapidE would be the start of “a range of new electric vehicles during the second half of the decade”, lead by the initial sports sedan, which leaves the door open for an even sharper two-seater car, for which Aston is more closely associated with.

The Chinese entertainment and technology giant formerly named Letv has been working with Faraday Future on vehicle development as well as the British brand, and the agreement will strengthen the bond between all three companies.

The first completed project from the partnership was revealed at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas last year in the form of a Rapide S which pioneered advances in entertainment and connectivity systems.

No details of the production model EV have been predicted at this stage but if the company's first model shares any of the prototype's features it could have about 745kW of power and a 322km range that was reported when the RapidE rolled out in the United Kingdom.

At the signing of the deal, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer confirmed the timeline for a production model.

“Aston Martin are dedicated to developing a range of cars with low emission technologies,” he said.

“We have been encouraged by the project speed and technical depth shown by Letv in the development of the RapidE concept towards full production. Bringing the RapidE to market by 2018 is an important milestone for both companies.”

The availability of a zero-emissions vehicle in the Aston ranks will critically reduce the company's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rating, which has previously driven Aston Martin to explore unorthodox vehicles such as the controversial Toyota iQ-based Cygnet town-car.

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