Aston Martin Announces Partnership With Chinese Tech Firm LeEco
Both companies will work on bringing the RapidE electric concept to the marketby Kirby Garlitos, on
Aston Martin has officially jumped headfirst into the electric vehicle market. The British automaker took that big step after announcing its partnership with LeEco, a Chinese tech company known for is affiliation with electric carmaker Faraday Future.
The plan now calls for both sides to continue developing the production version of the RapidE Concept with an eye towards seeing it hit the market by 2018. It’s a job that’s far easier said than done, but the two are banking on a working relationship that has existed before. The two have worked together numerous times in the past, including LeEco providing its LEtv Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system for the Aston Martin Rapide S. They’ve also been working together in developing low-emission vehicle technologies, something that will no doubt prove useful with this new partnership in place to bring the RapidE to market.
The announcement also included hints of a “potential” three-way partnership between the two companies and Faraday Future, the start-up brand that plans to build its own line of electric vehicles.
It’s no secret that automakers from all corners of the world have already invested heavily in the development of electric cars. Aston Martin, though not as big as the likes of Ford, Volkswagen, or General Motors, is looking to get a piece of that pie, especially in the Chinese market where its partnership with LeEco could provide the gateway towards establishing the RapidE as a viable option for Chinese customers.
The timetable set by the two companies to have the production RapidE out in the market by 2018 fits into the Chinese government’s own plan to have five million electric cars by 2020. Incentives have already been put in place by the government to encourage Chinese buyers to opt for EVs and if the RapidE’s production timetable is met, it could prove to be an attractive option for a market that has proven to embrace premium brands like Aston Martin.
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Why it matters
The decision to enter the electric car market is huge for Aston Martin. A lot of automakers are doing it now and it wouldn’t make sense for Aston to get left behind, especially now that a lot of countries are implementing stricter emissions regulations. Soon enough, it’s going to be nearly impossible for an automaker to survive without at least one electric car in its lineup.
It also makes sense from a business perspective for the company to launch into a partnership considering its status as a small automaker relative to some of the giants of the industry. The fact that Aston Martin is partnering with a tech firm that can provide inroads into the Chinese market is a huge bonus.
LeEco is also benefitting from this, which is why this partnership is one of those times wherein both companies get something out of it. For those who don’t know, LeEco founder Yueting Jia is a big advocate of electric cars. He’s even made investments in a number of electric car ventures, including Faraday Future and Atieva, a Silicon Valley-based company that’s designing its own electric car. Yueting has even been compared to Elon Musk in the past.
Hopefully, this partnership bears fruit for all parties concerned. I’m particularly excited to see how the development of the RapidE goes from here now that all of their cards are on the table. There’s a mutual interest for both firms to transition the RapidE from a concept to an actual production EV. That’s pretty exciting to hear.
Read our full review on the 2016 Aston Martin RapidE Concept here.