Aston Martin to build 2 electric car models at UK plants
Aston Martin will manufacture all-electric models at its UK plants from 2025. The British brand plans to manufacture an electric SUV in St. Athan in Wales and a purely electric sports car at the Aston plant in Gaydon, England.
Lawrence Stroll, who led a bailout for the company in early 2020, told the Financial Times as much. Before 2025, Aston Martin is relying only on hybrid powertrains for electrification. A hybrid version of the DBX should come at the end of this year and other hybrid models from 2023. This confirms earlier plans for electrification albeit these prove a back and forth for the sports carmaker. The St. Athan’s plant, however, had always been down to become their “home of electrification” as previous reports suggested in 2019.
Only the intensity of electrification keeps changing at Aston. When announcing Stroll’s entry, Aston Martin had also confirmed that they would not launch the completed Rapide-E and also postponed the Lagonda electric car brand announced in 2018 from 2022 to 2025 at the earliest. In the recent FT article, Stroll makes no mention of Lagonda so that it may be that future electric cars will all bear the Aston logo.
The timing confirms Aston Martin’s earlier announcements that they would rely on hybrid drives for electrification until 2025. The company had already confirmed in March 2020 that the new mid-engine platform with a V6 gasoline engine is basically designed for hybrid drives, primarily mid-engine sports cars. As Stroll now indicated in the FT, the DBX SUV built in St. Athans could come as a hybrid before the year’s end. Details on technology are scarce but may rely on a partnership with Mercedes-Benz.
At the end of October 2020, Mercedes-Benz had announced to increase its stake in Aston Martin significantly and to supply the British with hybrid and electric drives. The German carmaker has since accelerated its own path to electrification. The company is looking to phase-out all ICEs by 2039 at the latest.
However, with Aston’s new production plans, manufacturing would move away from its partner, which owns 20 per cent of the company. Still, Stroll in the interview praised the cooperation: “We are way ahead of our rivals, and all because of our partnership with Mercedes,” he said. Mercedes supplies some of Aston’s engines and technology and may soon provide batteries. “We’re looking at all options,” the manager said. Daimler currently only assembles battery cells but just increased its investment in Untertürkheim. The plant is to develop Li-ion battery cells in the coming years.
The UK is planning to phase out the sale of non-hybrid petrol and diesel cars by 2030, but Stroll told the FT that Aston would carry on making traditional engines well into the next decade.
Why he still considers Aston to be ahead of the game is down to the competition in the sports car segment. Ferrari won’t go battery-electric car before the next decade but unveiled the PHEV Stradale. The picture at McLaren is the same. The company hasn’t hatched any EV but recently showed the Artura, also a PHEV sports car for production. Lamborghini, belonging to the VW Group, does not yet have any concrete timetables either. Only Bentley, also a VW brand in the luxury segment, wants to launch its first electric model around 2025 and sell only BEVs from 2030 as reported.