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Aston Martin creates 'reversible' EV powertrain for classics

By Dave Leggett | 5 December 2018

No kidding...

No kidding...

Aston Martin Works claims to have developed a workable - and reversible - 'cassette' EV powertrain that can be fitted to its classic cars to mitigate possible future restrictions on fossil-fuel burning classic car usage. The basic idea is that the ICE powertrain can be easily removed and replaced with an EV set-up and that the owner could choose between the original powertrain and the EV one, as appropriate.

Aston Martin says that creating the world's first reversible EV powertrain conversion is part of the company's wider EV strategy and the 'Heritage electrification concept' is developed around a so-called 'cassette' EV powertrain for a zero emissions conversion.

The company says its engineers used knowledge acquired by Aston Martin during the final phase development of the Rapide E and future planning of the planned new range of Lagondas. Production versions of the 'revolutionary EV cassette' will include key components from the Rapide E programme.

The first car to receive the new EV powertrain is an original 1970 DB6 MkII Volante, which would have been originally built at Newport Pagnell. Sitting on the original engine and gearbox mountings, the cassette is enclosed within its own self-contained cell. Umbilical cords from the power unit then feed the car's electrical systems. Power management is operated via a dedicated screen, which is 'discreetly' fitted to the car's interior.

Given the historical significance of these collectors cars, Aston Martin notes that it is 'vital any EV conversion is sympathetic to the integrity of the original car'. The cassette system, it says, offers the 'perfect solution', offering owners the reassurance of knowing their car is future-proofed and socially responsible, yet still an authentic Aston Martin with the ability to reinstate its original powertrain if desired. However, no technical details of the system were provided by the company at this stage.

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer, said of the Heritage EV concept: "We are very aware of the environmental and social pressures that threaten to restrict the use of classic cars in the years to come. Our Second Century Plan not only encompasses our new and future models, but also protects our treasured heritage. I believe this not only makes Aston Martin unique, but a truly forward-thinking leader in this field."

Paul Spires, President Aston Martin Works commented: "We have been looking for some time to find a way of protecting our customers' long-term enjoyment of their cars. Driving a classic Aston Martin on pure EV power is a unique experience and one that will no doubt be extremely attractive to many owners, especially those who live in city centres. We also foresee collectors adding another dimension to their collection by commissioning EV-converted heritage cars.

Having handled the initial concept evaluation and build of the proof-of-concept DB6 Volante, Aston Martin Works will also be responsible for completing customer Heritage EV conversions, which are expected to commence in 2019, the company says.