The company’s first production EV; limited to only 155 units

The Aston Martin Rapide E is an all-electric version of the British company’s four-door sedan. Previewed by a concept called the Rapide E in 2016, the production model made its debut three years later at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. The Rapide E ditches the familiar 6.0-liter V-12 engine in favor of a battery pack and a pair of electric motors, but it generates notably more power than its gasoline sibling. The Rapide E is also the company’s first electric vehicle.

Finally ready for production after several years of development, the Rapide E brings together the craftsmanship and exclusivity of the Rapide nameplate with zero-emission performance thanks to Aston Martin’s collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering. The latter provides battery systems for Formula E cars, so it has extensive know-how of high-performance electric drivetrains. Although production of the Rapide E is limited to less than 200 vehicles, it introduces the brand to the all-electric market before Lagonda will take over as a zero-emission luxury brand.

Exterior

  • Similar to the gasoline model
  • Blue graphics
  • "E" badging
  • Unique, aerodynamic wheels
  • AMR features
  • Carbon-fiber elements
  • Bigger diffuser
  • Better aerodynamics
  • Sportier than standard model
2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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The Rapide's dull-looking lower bumper was replaced by a big splitter made from carbon-fiber

Just like the concept car that Aston Martin unveiled in 2016, the Rapide E is almost identical to the gasoline Rapide design-wise. But thanks to a few changes made to the aerodynamics, the Rapide E looks almost as aggressive as the Rapide AMR. You see, because EVs have lower cooling requirements for the drivetrain, Aston Martin engineers were able to revise the front and rear fascias to minimize airflow through the body and improve efficiency. This is a crucial step when designing EVs, as proper aerodynamics help increase range.

Two new features catch the eye in the front. First, Aston Martin ditched the horizontal slat grille for a honeycomb mesh. This isn’t necessarily related to aerodynamics, but it gives the Rapide E a sporty look. The grille seems to be identical to the one on the Rapide AMR. Second, the Rapide’s dull-looking lower bumper was replaced by a big splitter made from carbon-fiber, flanked by big vents onto the sides.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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The lack of exhaust pipes also enabled Aston Martin engineers to further improve the Rapide's aerodynamics

The Rapide E’s profile doesn’t stand out as much, but it boats a few unique features, like carbon-fiber inserts in the side sills and "E" badges on the front fenders. The wheels are also unique, sporting a more closed-off design that improves aerodynamics. The blue-tinted carbon-fiber mirror caps round off the Rapide E’s side view.

The rear fascia is again based on that of the Rapide AMR, so the electric sedan looks more aggressive than the standard model. The spoiler integrated into a trunk lid is a bit larger, as is the carbon-fiber, blue-tinted diffuser. Granted, the Rapide E misses the big exhaust pipes of the AMR model, but it has the big fins and the sporty design. The lack of exhaust pipes also enabled Aston Martin engineers to further improve the Rapide’s aerodynamics.

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These AMR-sourced upgrades significantly improve the Rapide's nine-year-old design

Changes continue under the car, where a revised underfloor sends airflow from the front splitter directly to the larger rear diffuser. Coupled with the new grille, the side skirts, and the revised wheels, the Rapide E is eight percent more aerodynamic than its gasoline-powered sibling.

Overall, the Rapide E is a much cooler design than the standard Rapide, and it’s also a sportier proposition to the already iconic and popular Tesla Model S. Is it unique? By no means, but these AMR-sourced upgrades greatly improve the Rapide’s nine-year-old design.

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Interior

  • Based on regular Rapide
  • Leather upholstery
  • Contrast stitching
  • Sporty seats
  • Carbon-fiber trim
  • A bit dated tech-wise
  • New EV-specific features
  • New digital instrument cluster
  • Small trunk
2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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Replacing the Rapide's standard analog cluster, the 10-inch digital display gives the Rapide E a more modern vibe

The Rapide E’s interior is obviously identical to the regular sedan save for a few unique features. And this is a big issue since the Rapide is nine years old as of 2019 and feels dated compared to its rivals. The same goes when compared with Aston Martin’s newer sports cars and grand tourers, like the DB11, Vantage, and DBS Superleggera.

But there’s some good news in the Rapide E, starting with the 10-inch digital instrument cluster. Replacing the Rapide’s standard analog cluster, not only does it give the Rapide E a more modern vibe, but it also displays vital information related to the car’s electric drivetrain. It provides info on battery charge status, motor power levels, regenerative performance, and it also includes a real-time energy consumption meter.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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The Rapide E features a full-carbon fiber center stack and center console, just like the AMR model

Just like the regular Rapide, the Rapide E comes with luxurious upholstery consisting of fine leather and contrast stitching. The hide covers the dashboard, the door panels, steering wheel, part of the center console, and the seats. It has a diamond-quilted pattern on the seats and center armrest and blue stripes and piping on the seating surfaces. Of course, you can pick between a variety of colors, most likely from the same palette as the standard Rapide.

But unlike the latter, the Rapide E features a full-carbon fiber center stack and center console. The lightweight material is also visible on the door panels. A quick comparison to the Rapide AMR reveals that the Rapide E has just as much carbon-fiber, which is rather cool. The steering wheel also stands out through its flat grip areas. The seats are also sportier than usual to provide the necessary lateral support when charging the powerful electric motors.

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Tech-wise, the Rapide E comes with a dedicated app that allows key information to be monitored remotely. Using your smartphone, you can check the remaining range, battery status, and time to charge without getting in the car. This app also enables you to send destinations to the navigation system, find your parked Rapide E, or get notifications when you need to take the car for regular check-ups.

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S Interior AutoShow
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The Rapide E will carry 11.2 cubic feet of luggage, but it falls behind the competition

Because the batteries and electric motors are placed where the 6.0-liter V-12 and fuel tank were located, the Rapide E benefits from the same luggage room as the regular sedan. This means the Rapide E will carry 11.2 cubic feet of luggage, which is enough for a few suitcases and bags. However, the Rapide falls behind the competition, mostly because its trunk is relatively shallow and the space sits on two stages when the rear seats are in place. Fortunately, these fold completely to boost capacity to 31.2 liters.

But this isn’t much to work with considering what other sedans offer. The Tesla Model S, for instance, swallows up to 26.3 cubic feet of luggage in the rear trunk, a whopping 15.1 more than the Rapide E. Fold the seats and total capacity increases to 58.1 cubic feet, almost 27 cubic feet more than the Aston Martin. The Model S also has a small, 5.3-cubic-foot storage space under the front hood, so it can carry in excess of 60 cubic feet of luggage. The Rapide E also falls behind the Porsche Panamera, which offers 17.6 and 47.3 cubic feet, respectively.

Drivetrain & Performance

  • 800-volt battery
  • Two electric motors
  • 602 horsepower
  • 701 pound-feet of torque
  • Sports car-like performance
  • More than 200 miles of range
  • 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds
  • Slower than the competition
  • Top speed at 155 mph
  • Tesla offers better range
2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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Aston Martin replaced the naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V-12 with a pair of electric motors and a battery

This is where the Rapide E is notably different than the regular Rapide, as Aston Martin replaced the naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V-12 with a pair of electric motors and a battery. By far the most interesting thing here is that the motors and the battery are placed in the engine bay and where the Rapide’s original transmission was. Specifically, the motors are mounted in the rear, while the battery pack is in the engine compartment. This is a notable departure from other EVs on the market that have the batteries placed in the floor, but it’s mostly because this electric car is based on an existing gasoline model that wasn’t designed to become an EV. Aston Martin and Williams had to work with what they had.

The main advantage of this layout is that it cuts down on design and engineering costs, but it comes at a cost, as it limits the number of battery cells (and capacity) to the space available under the front hood.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E - drivetrain specifications
Engine electric motors
Battery 800V battery system
Horsepower 602 HP
Torque 701 LB-FT
Range 200 miles (WLTP tested)
0 to 60 mph sub-4.0 second
Top Speed 155 mph

The 65-kWh battery is encased in a carbon-fiber and Kevlar shell to keep weight down and includes 5,600 lithium-ion cylindrical cells. Aston Martin says that the 800-volt is an innovative industry-first feature, but specific details as to what makes it special are still under wraps.

The rear-mounted electric motors crank out an amazing 602 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque

So how powerful is the Rapide E? The rear-mounted electric motors crank out an amazing 602 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque. That’s a solid 50 horsepower and 236 pound-feet more than the gasoline-powered Rapide S.

The Rapide E also packs more punch than the base Standard Range version of the Model S, which comes with a little more than 500 horsepower on tap. On the other hand, it falls behind the Long Range model and the Performance version, the latter rated at a whopping 762 horsepower and 687 pound-feet. It’s interesting to note though that the Rapide has a bit more torque than the range-topping Model S. Granted, 14 pound-feet won’t make much of a difference, but it’s an important feat given the extensive experience Tesla has in this field compared to Aston Martin and Williams.

The sedan needs less than four seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start

The Rapide E is quick too. Thanks to the extra oomph and the instantly available torque from the electric motor, the sedan needs less than four seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. Aston Martin has yet to release a final figure, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t take less than 3.8 or 3.9 seconds. Either way, it’s quicker than the Rapide S, which hits 60 mph in 4.2 clicks.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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While a sub-four-second sprint to 60 is impressive on its own, the Rapide E is slower than the competition. It will beat the entry-level Model S, which needs four seconds flat, but it’s at least a tenth-second slower than the Long Range model, rated at 3.7 clicks. It’s obviously no match for the range-topping Performance model, that’s almost a full second quicker at three seconds flat. When fitted with the Ludicrous package, the Model S disappears into the distance with a 2.4-second benchmark.

When it comes to top speed, the Rapide E is actually faster than most EVs on the market. The sedan will top out at 155 mph, on par with the Standard Range and Long Range versions of the Model S. The Performance variant is eight mph faster with the limit set to 163 mph.

Another feature that sets the Rapide E apart from the Model S is its rear-wheel-drive layout. While all Model S versions now have AWD systems, the Rapide E’s motors spin the rear axle only. The sedan also features a limited-slip differential, which according to Aston Martin helps the Rapide E retain the pure handling characteristics for gas-powered Rapide AMR. The EV also has revised spring and damper rates to handle the extra power and the extra weight. Speaking of that, the electric drivetrain adds 400 pounds to the Rapide S’ curb weight, so the Rapide E tips the scales at 4,717 pounds. Although it’s notably heavier than other sedans, it’s actually around 200 pounds lighter than the range-topping Tesla Model S.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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The sedan returns more than 200 miles per charge under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure

But what about range? Is the Rapide E a competitive EV? Aston Martin says that the sedan returns more than 200 miles per charge under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). With no EPA estimates for the Rapide E and no WLTP ratings for the Model S to run by, it’s difficult to compare them, but it’s safe to assume that the British sedan will fall behind Tesla’s 285-mile minimum in the U.S. Based on the gaps between WLTP estimates and official EPA ratings from other EVs, the Rapide E’s U.S. range will probably fall below the 200-mile mark. Depending on specs, the Model S returns between 285 and 370 miles per charge.

As far as charging goes, Aston Martin says that a typical 400-volt, 50-kW charger will refill the battery at a rate of 185 miles per hour. Using a charger rated at 800 volts and 100 kW, this figure will increase to 310 miles of range per hour, which sounds rather fast. The Rapide E also comes with a high-power AC onboard charger that will recharge a depleted battery in only three hours.

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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Pricing

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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Pricing information is available only upon placing orders, but it’s safe to assume that the Rapide E costs notably more than the Rapide S. The fact that the EV is limited to only 155 units makes things that much more complicated pricing-wise. With the Rapide S priced at more than $210,000, each Rapide E likely costs at least $300,000 before options. This sticker makes the Rapide E the most expensive production electric vehicle on the market right now.

Competition

Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S Exterior
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The Rapide E’s main advantage on the current EV market is that it offers sports car-like performance. But there’s bad news for Aston Martin: not only the Model S comes with superior power and speed in range-topping trim, it’s also a crowd favorite in many market. It might not look as aggressive and it might not have as much carbon-fiber, but the Model S benefits from extensive updates and it has superior technology, including a better infotainment system and semi-autonomous capability. The U.S.-made sedan generates up to 762 horsepower and 687 pound-feet of torque in top trim and runs for at least 285 miles per charge. The Long Range model boasts the best range on the market at 370 miles and the Rapide E won’t be able to match any of those figures. Pricing is also on Tesla’s side. The base model retails from $68,750, while the range-topping versions comes in at $89,750. Both stickers include potential incentives and gas savings, but the Model S is notably more affordable even if we exclude these advantages. What’s more, the Model S is made in far greater numbers and it’s available globally.

Read our full review of the 2018 Tesla Model S.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Unveiled High Resolution Exterior
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Sure, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid isn’t fully electric, but the performance EV market is very small right now. And until Porsche unveils its electric super sedan, this hybrid is among the very few electrified performance sedans you can buy. Just like the Rapide E, the hybrid is heavily based on its gas-only sibling and looks identical save for a few minor details. But the Panamera benefits from a more modern interior, better tech, and loads of luxury items when ordered with all the expensive options. Under the shell, this hybrid is a monster. Powered by a 4.0-liter V-8 gas engine paired to an electric motor, this German sedan cranks out 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque. Not only quicker to 60 mph at 3.2 seconds, but it also hits a superior top speed at 192 mph. The main downside is that it doesn’t have an EV’s range, with its small motor capable of returning only 31 miles before the V-8 engine kicks in. The Turbo S E-Hybrid retails from $186,200. That’s far more expensive than a Model S, but significantly more affordable than the Aston Martin Rapide E.

Read our full story on the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

Final Thoughts

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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Although the Rapide E is based on a somewhat dated design, it’s a big step forward for Aston Martin, which finally entered the small but growing electric car market. Given the competition, and especially the Tesla Model S, it’s pretty obvious that Aston Martin needs a better car, but I think the British firm has a solid strategy behind the Rapide E. This sedan, limited to only 155 units, was designed as an introductory car for Aston Martin to the EV market, with a much more advanced vehicle to follow. The Brits probably want customers to see that Aston Martin is capable of making a reliable, efficient electric car before a more complex, stand-alone model is brought on the market. This will happen when the Lagonda brand launches its first SUV and becomes the world’s first luxury EV maker. The Rapide E will probably remain a collector’s car, much like the ill-fated Cygnet city car based on the Toyota iQ.

  • Leave it
    • Limited production run
    • Very expensive
    • Looks too much like the regular Rapide

Further reading

2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
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Read our full review on the 2016 Aston Martin RapidE.

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2017 Aston Martin Rapide.

2019 Aston Martin Rapide AMR Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin Rapide AMR.

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