Aston Martin to launch EV conversion program in 2019

Aston Martin, James Bond style

In news that is both inspiring and poignant, iconic British carmaker Aston Martin announced that it will convert one of its classic models into an electric-powered vehicle in 2019.

The conversion program, called Heritage EV, allows owners of the 1970 DB6 Mark II Volantes to have an all-electric powertrain installed in their vehicles. The process involves switching out the traditional internal combustion engine and gearbox with a self-contained electric powertrain called a cassette.

Because of the EV powertrain’s discrete nature, owners will have the option of reversing the conversion if they wish. However, as the Volante’s cassette will feature components developed for Aston Martin’s forthcoming inaugural EV, the Rapid E, they probably won’t want to switch back.

The Rapid E will boast 600 horsepower, 700 pounds per foot of torque and an estimated 4 second, 0 to 60 mph acceleration time.

But more importantly, Daniel Craig will look absolutely awesome driving one in Bond 25 while saving the environment.

Pricing for the conversion program is yet to be revealed.

The Global Movement to Ban Fossil Fuel-Powered Vehicles

Aston Martin’s decision to offer EV conversion is likely a reaction to the movement by many governments to ban fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

In September, the EU’s Court of Auditors released a report naming air pollution as the biggest environmental threat to public health in Europe. Studies have found that air toxicity causes 400,000 premature European deaths annually. Moreover, the EPA has reported that transportation accounts for 28 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

To combat the threat of air pollution and climate change, leaders in Paris, Madrid, and Athens announced plans to ban diesel-powered cars and vans within their cities by 2025. Madrid’s gradual rollout of the ban has already resulted in a 32 percent decrease in traffic in some parts of the city.

To date, China, France, India, Israel, the United Kingdom, and several other countries have all committed to banning the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles within the next 20 years.

The Auto Industry’s Response to the Fuel Ban Movement

Thus far, Seattle and Los Angeles are the only U.S. cities to announce plans to ban the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2030. Nevertheless, the leaders of the American auto industry have taken notice of the global shift away from internal combustion engine vehicles.

The fact that Tesla recently outsold Mercedes-Benz in the United States surely plays a factor, as well.

Ford has announced plans to spend $11 billion on EV development, and General Motors and Honda recently entered into a partnership to develop compact, rapidly charging and high energy density batteries.

The Conversion Innovators and the E-Bike Trend

Also, in a move similar to Aston Martin’s Heritage EV program, Jaguar announced plans to release a limited edition of electric E-Type roadster.

Moreover, a new company called ZElectric Motors has been making waves by selling electric rebuilds of the classic model Volkswagen Bug and Bus. And in response to the success of electronic bicycle and scooter services like Bird and Lime, Ford and GM have committed millions to get a foothold in the e-bike market.

Because of both consumer interest and governmental compliance, it’s clear that in the near future…transportation energy will soon be out of gas.