Aston Martin announced Wednesday that it has constructed a prototype for a reversible electric vehicle conversion, applicable to its historic models to preserve their drivability for future generations.
Said prototype vehicle is a 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mark II Volante, which trades its original 4.0-liter inline-six for a "cassette" style electric powertrain, which occupies the same space and uses the same mounts as the factory engine and transmission.
"We have been looking for some time to find a way of protecting our customers' long-term enjoyment of their cars," said Aston Martin Works president Paul Spires. "Driving a classic Aston Martin on pure EV power is a unique experience and one that will no doubt be extremely attractive to many owners, especially those who live in city centers. We also foresee collectors adding another dimension to their collection by commissioning EV-converted heritage cars."
The EV powertrain tech in this DB6 comes from development of Aston Martin's first EV, the Rapide E, an electric sedan with 602 rear-wheel horsepower and a top speed of 155 miles per hour, with which its 155-unit production run will correspond. Some of the Rapide E's components carry over into this DB6—and presumably future factory EV conversions—though Aston Martin doesn't specify if this means the DB6 shares a 65-kilowatt-hour battery with the Rapide E, or merely a motor or controller.
Aston Martin Works will commence its Heritage EV program in 2019 to capitalize on demand for electro-classics established by firms such as rival premium British automaker Jaguar, which announced its own similar program in August with the electric conversion of an E-Type. Independent shops too are springing up to accept commissioned EV conversions, such as Georgia-based Eddy Motorworks, which was converting a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL to electric power with Tesla parts when spotlighted by The Drive.