Aston Martin is no longer just a car company
Zero emissions, vertical take-off and a 200-mile range. If Bond had a licence, this is what he’d fly
So far this year, Aston’s released a new 715bhp V12 car made for going fast on roads, and it’s working away on the Valkyrie to tear holes in spacetime on racetracks. We’ve even seen the company put a toe into the water of the high seas, with the 1,000bhp AM37 speedboat.
Now, Aston is taking to the skies. This is the Volante Vision Concept. To answer your question: no, it doesn’t exist yet. These are renderings of what a ‘luxury personal air mobility’ craft from Aston might look like. But the company says it’s no very late April fool. Aston is serious about exploring small, electrically powered, vertical take off and landing craft as a possible future product.
The Volante Vision Concept [VVC] is an Aston idea that’s been designed by the same man who draws Aston’s beautiful bodywork – Marek Reichman – and had input from RollsRoyce (the aviation engine folks, not the builders of the Phantom), Cranfield University and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions.
Don’t fancy flying your VVC yourself? Aston says that it’ll take over, courtesy of “the latest advances in aerospace, electrification and autonomous technologies, coupled with
Aston Martin’s signature design.”
Many exciting claims, but not much in the way of concrete whens and hows. So, over to Simon Sproule, Aston Martin’s vice president and marketing boss: “When we started this project 18 months ago, it seemed outlandish, but this market has potential. We see lots of brands studying it – Audi, Porsche, Mercedes are all investigating aerial vehicles.”
Sproule added: “Aston Martin is a luxury brand today – known for our cars and we also have our marine product. But we’re interested in next-gen propulsion, and Rolls-Royce and Cranfield are interested in the same [things].”
“With this craft we’re testing reaction, but Rolls-Royce and Cranfield wouldn’t have put their names to it if you could just look at the design and know it wouldn’t fly.”
The design brief as it stands is for the electrically propelled VVC to have a top speed of 322kph and a 322-km range. As Sproule sees it, this would get you from London to Birmingham in half an hour – a lot quicker than the proposed HS2 rail link, should it ever exist.
Or, perhaps you’d fancy dinner in London but dessert in Paris? The VVC is sized to fit on existing helipads, Simon explains, and can deploy its vertical take-off and landing to avoid the need for runways. So, it works with existing helicopter infrastructure, but would be quicker, quieter and cooler than a chopper, with a more eco-friendly image than a private jet. Convinced? OLLIE KEW
Right! Who wants to take the first testflight? Anyone?