Aston Martin CEO Talks Automaker’s Electric Future, “You’ve got to do something radical”

1 year ago by Jay Cole 17

Aston Martin DBX Reveal In Geneva This Year - Will Arrive In 2019 As A Plug-In Hybrid First, Followed By Both A Petrol And All-Electric Version

The Aston Martin DBX (shown here in concept form) Will Arrive In 2019 – As A Plug-In Hybrid First, Followed By Both A Petrol And An All-Electric Version

We should preface one thing before we discuss Aston Martin, and its plans for the future.  We really like the company’s CEO Andy Palmer – we always have.

Andy's "Farewell To Nissan" Tweet In September of Last Year

Andy’s “Farewell To Nissan” Tweet In September of Last Year

Before he took over the reigns at Aston Martin last year, he was the #2 guy at Nissan serving as the Chief Planning Officer.

And while it is not always easy to spot the execs that don’t fully buy into the EVs they are paid to promote, Mr. Palmer is a true convert when it comes to believing in the future of plug-in technology.

During his time at Nissan he would make statements like “when it comes to zero emissions, we’re absolutely religious”, and “the world of hybridization doesn’t work. It doesn’t solve humanity’s problem because it still has an exhaust pipe. It’s still emitting emissions.” 

Now from a recent speech in London reported by the Bloomberg, the new boss of Aston Martin continues to say all the right things, despite heading up a company that is currently a symbol for all things V-12.

Mr. Palmer re-iterated that Aston Martin will not only offer an all-electric Rapide, but that it will be to the market by the end of 2017; and that the company will put out a plug-in hybrid crossover thereafter.   The DBX EV crossover is scheduled to launch in 2019 as a PHEV first, with both a gas and an all-electric version to follow.

Mr. Palmer About To Reveal The DBX Concept In Geneva Earlier This Year

Mr. Palmer About To Reveal The DBX Concept In Geneva Earlier This Year

Palmer noted from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference that the diving costs of building electric cars, coupled with the ever increasing emission standards for the internal combustion engine, are quickly eroding the advantages of the traditional petrol engine.

The Aston Martin CEO said that the entire industry will move to electricity as it will be the only way to deliver the power drivers expect.

On the 2017 Rapide EV – “We’re talking about an electric Aston Martin with between 800 and 1,000 horsepower — imagine having all that torque on demand.” 

Aston Martin Rapide EV To Become 800 -1,000 HP Electric Supercar In 2017

Aston Martin Rapide EV To Become 800 -1,000 HP Electric Supercar In 2017

Mr. Palmer still acknowledges his company’s combustion engine roots – that is how they make their money.

But he also clearly sees a transition to all-electric and PHEV vehicles in the future for the brand, and is now looking to cement a new legacy for the company, positioned above the likes of Tesla (who he thinks has primary designs on the middle-market).

“We’re a V-12 engine company.  Project that into the future. Do I go the way of the rest of the industry and downsize the engine? Do I see Aston Martin with a three-cylinder engine? God forbid.

You’ve got to do something radical. Electric power gives you that power. It gives you that torque.”

The all-electric Rapide is said to MSRP for around $200,000 to $250,000 (the current gasser retails for ~$210,000 in the US landed).

Another Look At The Upcoming Aston Martin DBX

Another Look At The Upcoming 2019 Aston Martin DBX

Of course no automotive CEO speech these days is complete without a reference to the Volkswagen Group and its diesel scandal.

“It means our customers aren’t going to trust us (automotive companies) for a while. It also means that time is up for the diesel.  In markets where you have a lot of installed capacity, diesel will go through a slow death.”

Mr. Palmer also wades in on one of the main concerns for would-be EV owners – range anxiety, but uses that same worry to turn the tables on fuel cell vehicles.

“We have to overcome the range anxiety.  But that’s much better than the range panic that you’re going to get from having only four hydrogen stations in the U.K. (where) there are plugs everywhere.”

Yupe, we like Andy a lot.

Bloomberg

Tags: , , , , ,

17 responses to "Aston Martin CEO Talks Automaker’s Electric Future, “You’ve got to do something radical”"

  1. Mister G says:

    Talk is cheap…seeing is believing.

    1. Aaron says:

      While I smack-talked Mr. Palmer for bad-mouthing Tesla, I appreciate that he at least is making concessions to EVs. Now we have to get CEOs of companies that build cars that cost less than $200K to build EVs with the same enthusiasm.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Elon Musk has said that Tesla were in negotiations with a non-German European manufacturer to use their Supercharger network.

        Given the pattern of company ownership, and ties to particular standards, a lot of people settled on it being Aston Martin.

        This article would support that idea.

        1. Mister G says:

          If it happens that would be a step towards believing Palmer.

        2. Cavaron says:

          My first thought also!

  2. Rick Danger says:

    So, he doesn’t like hybrids because they still have a tailpipe, but a PHEV with 12 feet of range is ok.

  3. pk says:

    “We’re talking about an electric Aston Martin with between 800 and 1,000 horsepower — imagine having all that torque on demand.”

    So is that 800-1000 HP or motor power?

    Also, Aston Martin’s effect on emissions is irrelevant. They make a few thousand cars per year.

    What we need is a Honda Civic EV or Toyota Corolla EV.

  4. pjwood1 says:

    I like Andy, too. He doesn’t seem so hung up on electric drive having to be an automated endeavor.

  5. I guess we can credit Andy with bringing a new term into the lexicon: Range Panic.

  6. carcus says:

    Aston Martin —- “Solving humanity’s problems …. one $250,000 sport saloon at a time.”

    1. EVCarNut says:

      They will never do it better than Tesla…Maybe More expensive , BUT never better, & Tesla Is Expensive Enough already …Lets see if Tesla keeps their promise & builds THE 3 @ a Reasonable price..Enough Already ! They Need to build ((Mercedes “C” class)) sized cars With long range for the masses…

      1. mr. M says:

        Since when was a Aston for the Masses?

  7. kdawg says:

    I wonder if Aston Martin will be the first company to buy into the Tesla Supercharger network???

  8. Speculawyer says:

    We need to do something RADICAL! So we are going to copy this successful car that has been on the market for 3 years now.

    1. Dragon says:

      It’s interesting how similar the general profile of the Aston Martin Rapide is to the Model S.

  9. EVCarNut says:

    Yea Radical! Build the same Or inferior Car , Put An Iconic Badge on it., Charge @least $125.000 More For it., Now That is RADICAL! ………… Cheers!

  10. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    It’s great to see Mr. Palmer talking the talk! (Contrast how Toyota keeps doubling down on its short-sighted and counter-productive promotion of fool cell cars.)

    But talking the talk is one thing; let’s see if Aston Martin walks the walk. Good luck to Mr. Palmer!