Aston Martin is embracing electric technology with a pledge that every car in its range will use hybrid technology within a decade.
The luxury carmaker, as synonymous with the roar of a V12 engine as it is with its fictional customer James Bond, will focus on battery vehicles and mild-hybrid cars that combine an electric battery with a petrol engine in its future vehicles.
“We will be 100 per cent hybrid by the middle of the 2020s,” chief executive Andy Palmer told the Financial Times.
The industry’s move towards electric technology comes as governments look to ban sales of more polluting cars. Britain will ban the sale of non-hybrid cars from 2040, while France will go further and ban outright the sale of any car containing a combustion engine in the same year.
Carmakers are also developing electric cars to meet increasingly stringent air-quality and CO2 emissions rules.
Aston Martin’s pledge bears similarities to that of Volvo, the Swedish carmaker, which recently said every car sold by the company would either be hybrid or fully electric from 2019. The difference is that Aston customers will be offered cars with a hybrid system as an option but non-hybrid vehicles will still be available.
About a quarter of the company’s cars will be fully electric — without a petrol engine — by the end of the next decade, said Mr Palmer.
The company is undergoing a turnround following years of losses, designed to place it on a surer financial footing and to secure its future, potentially as a listed company.
Last week the group increased its profit expectations for the year after reporting a £21.1m pre-tax profit for the first half.
Its turnround involves the group renewing its line-up of sports cars and launching saloon cars, a mid-engined sports car to rival Ferrari and a sport utility vehicle by 2023.
At least some of these will come with the option of hybrid technology, according to Mr Palmer. Aston will produce its first fully electric car, the Rapid-e saloon, in 2019.
Rather than buying in electric systems from technology partner Daimler, which currently supplies its V8 engine and some of the electronics, Aston plans to develop its electric driving systems in-house.
“You need to keep core technology inside the company,” said Mr Palmer. “That’s why we make our own V12 engine. We believe that EVs [electric vehicles] are a core technology, and therefore we want to do them ourselves.”
The company plans to buy in electric cells from overseas, but has ambitions to make the packs and motors itself in the UK.
The mid-engine sports car being developed to take on Ferrari is most likely to contain a V6 engine, which is smaller than the company’s classic V8 and V12 engines, and carries lower financial penalties in markets such as China.
The company’s sport-utility vehicle, known as the DBX and set for production in 2019, may come fitted with a hybrid system in its later iterations, Mr Palmer suggested.
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