Spark of an idea

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidential - Twit­ter: @PaulWardGover

AN all-elec­tric As­ton Martin with more than 1000Nm and a 0-100km/h sprint time in the three-sec­ond range is the next tar­get for the Bri­tish brand.

As As­ton un­leashed its $2.5 mil­lion Vul­can road racer (pic­tured) at the re­cent Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, com­pany chief Andy Palmer re­vealed that a zero-emis­sion car is vi­tal to the fu­ture.

“You re­ally need a zero. I do be­lieve we’ll be there,” he says.

“I see it as a strong pos­si­bil­ity. It would be mighty fast to 100km/h. If you look at a Telsa it’s a pretty el­e­gant car, but an As­ton Rapide is more el­e­gant.

“It’s more than a pipe dream. (But) do I have a pro­ject that’s fully funded and fully signed­off? No, we’re not there.”

Palmer says the Vul­can, aimed at As­ton driv­ers who want a race-style track car, is more than half­way to selling out its 24-car pro­duc­tion run.

Palmer, hav­ing only re­cently taken over in the hot seat at As­ton Martin, has clear feel­ings on the brand and what it needs for new-model de­vel­op­ment, fol­low­ing a deal that al­lows it to tap into Daim­ler for tech­nol­ogy.

“As long as leg­is­la­tion lets me, and I’m sit­ting in this seat with a beat­ing heart, we’ll have a V12 en­gine. With idle stop and cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion, you can make it work.”

He is also keep­ing a close eye on de­vel­op­ments in au­ton­o­mous driv­ing. “I quite like the idea of a but­ton that says ‘drift’,” he says.

He con­cedes au­ton­o­mous driv­ing could be a bonus to As­ton Martin, as peo­ple split their driv­ing be­tween chores and en­joy­ment.

“An As­ton is a driver’s car and al­ways should be. An As­ton (is hardly ever) the only car in the garage.

“I’m an ad­vo­cate of the tech­nol­ogy. I think As­ton won’t be on the lead­ing edge of that tech­nol­ogy, although we could be be­cause we take the Daim­ler elec­tri­cal ar­chi­tec­ture.

“I think we’ll adopt it at the level of con­ve­nience. I think self-park­ing is ex­traor­di­nar­ily rel­e­vant to the brand. It’s ex­tremely in­ter­est­ing.”

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