Everyone’s Going Electric, Including James Bond Himself
007’s new ride will be the Aston Martin Rapide Eby Kirby, on
As good as he is at foiling international criminals from their evil schemes, not even James Bond himself can stop the onslaught of electrification in the auto industry. Proof of that lies in the next Bond film where 007’s ride-of-choice will be the Aston Martin Rapide E. The British automaker’s first-ever electric car joins a long list of Aston Martin models to appear in a James Bond film. The yet-to-be-titled Bond movie — it’s working title is Bond 25 — is scheduled to release in April 2020. It’s the 25th movie in the long-standing franchise, so you can expect it to have no shortage of surprises, including the array of gadgets and weapons that will be included in the Rapide E’s arsenal.
James Bond is no stranger to non-traditional cars. This is, after all, the same man, who once drove a Lotus Esprit S1 that masqueraded as a submarine when it wasn’t rolling up goons on the road with all sorts of weaponry.
By comparison, an electric car like the Rapide E is a far more traditional ride for 007, especially these days when electrification has evolved into what can only be described as the future of the auto industry.
Aston Martin has its toes in that market. It doesn’t have a big slice of that pie; it doesn’t even have an actual slice, at least not yet. What it has a crumb, though a pretty delicious one in the form of the Aston Martin Rapide E. Aston Martin only plans to build 155 units of the Rapide E with each model reportedly costing £250,000. That’s almost $340,000 based on current exchange rates. It’s a steep price to pay for an electric car, even if it’s an Aston Martin. Fortunately, the Rapide E justifies the cost with an impressive specifications lineup.
The Rapide E features a powertrain system developed by Williams Advanced Engineering. At the heart of the system is a 65-kWh battery that feeds a pair of electric motors. These motors then send power to both axles. Altogether, the powertrain unit produces an impressive 602 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque.
With that much power on tap, Aston Martin says the Rapide E can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds and hit a top speed of 155 mph.
Range is pegged at 200 miles under the WLTP cycle. James Bond approves those numbers.
Imagine, then, what kind of gadgets the Rapide E will feature in the movie. At this point, I’m prepared for anything. I expect a heavy dose of artillery, even one that uses some form of electrification. An electric gun, perhaps? What I don’t expect is something that straddles the lines of campiness. I’d like to think that the Bond movies have graduated past that already. No water cannons or jet packs, please. We’ve had our fill of those as these five examples of the wackiest “vehicles” to ever grace a Bond movie will show you.
Lotus Esprit S1
No list of wacky James Bond cars is complete without mentioning what is arguably the most bizarre Bond car of all time. Appearing in
The Spy Who Loved Me, the half-car, half-submarine that we now affectionately call “Wet Willie” was a loaded weapon in land and sea. It came with a cement sprayer, torpedoes, underwater mines, surface-to-air missiles, and even a squid-style ink dispenser that can presumably blind the unsuspecting villain with one squirt. Yes, all of it sounds weird because that’s what the Lotus Esprit S1 was. Fortunately, the vehicle’s provenance has shot through the roof in recent years. It’s arguably one of the most memorable James Bond cars of all time, next only to the Aston Martin DB5. It’s become so popular these days that no less than Tesla CEO Elon Musk still owns it after purchasing it back in 2013.
James Bond has driven Aston Martins, BMWs, and, well, a Citroen 2CV. Those who remember the Bond movie For Your Eyes Only will remember the 2CV for a variety of reasons. First, it wasn’t the kind of car Bond would normally drive. Second, it was neither fast nor was it sexy. But it was small and nimble, which was what Bond needed to escape a pack of Peugeot 504s in one of the movie’s chase scenes. It’s hard to imagine 007 himself behind the wheel of a bright yellow 2VC, and yet, there he was, weaving through trees, forests, and narrow countryside streets. The 2CV’s appearance in the movie was great publicity for the model. Citroen even launched a special edition model that came in the same bright yellow color, bullet hole stickers, and 007 door markings. The quirky hatchback has also been immortalized in die-cast form of varying sizes. Go check eBay, and you’ll see a lot of them for sale.
Ok, so James Bond actually didn’t drive this car in any of the movies. This was the ride-of-choice of Bond foe Francisco Scamaranga (Christopher Lee) who somehow parlayed it into a plane after entering a random garage in Bangkok. It entered the garage as a car and left it as a carplane. Yes, for reasons that modern science still can’t explain, it took all but a few minutes for the Matador to gain a wing, rudder, and an entire plane engine assembly. The Matador’s gauges can even flip from its standard car gauge to an airplane console at the touch of a button. As fancy as the Matador car-plane was, it was all for naught as Bond managed to shoot it down before it could do serious damage. This vehicle won’t make any of Bond’s “Best Car List,” but it certainly belongs in the annals of weird vehicles that have appeared in all the Bond movies.
Russian T-54/55 Tank
In the context of a Bond movie, I suppose a Russian T-54/55 Tank doesn’t sound so weird. But it did look out-of-place in the streets of St. Petersburg, even if James Bond was driving it. Perhaps Bond was in a bad mood trying to go after the terrorist network Janus. The group’s leader, renegade General Ourumov (Gottfried John), certainly made it difficult for 007 so Bond tried to even the odds by chasing after Ourumov with what can only be considered as the most terrifying vehicle you’ll ever see in your rearview mirrors. As expected, Bond found it a bit difficult corralling the tank. That’s usually what happens when you’re trying to chase somebody with it. Bond ends up smashing through brick walls, drifting around corners, and firing 100mm shells at armored trains. At one point, the tank even gained a Pegasus statue as a hood ornament. It’s not the kind of ornament that fits into the tank’s profile, but in a situation like this, no one has the liberty to choose, right?
I’ll come clean. I totally forgot about this until I did my research for this list. In the realm of the absurd, the crocodile submarine from Octopussy is on another level. This thing is the personification of campiness, a tried-and-tested model from that era of Bond films. It’s one thing to watch Bond trying to navigate a tank around a busy metropolis or race through the woods in a car that’s obviously too small for his built. But to see him cram himself into a fake crocodile for the sake of national security? This is one for the books. Here’s to hoping that the Aston Martin Rapide E is treated much better in the new Bond movie.
Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Aston Martin RapidE.
Read our full review on the 2016 Aston Martin RapidE.
Read our full review on the 2017 Aston Martin Rapide.
Source: The Guardian