Aston Martin future-proofs its classic cars

Removable electric powertrain means desirables like the DB5 can be driven as zero-emission cars

28 December 2018 - 00:22 By Phuti Mpyane
Classic-car collectors will be able to drive and charge their classics in the electric age. Picture: SUPPLIED
Classic-car collectors will be able to drive and charge their classics in the electric age. Picture: SUPPLIED           

Foresight into an electric-car future has inspired British luxury sports car brand Aston Martin to adopt a bold new plan to take its past along into the future.

Classic Aston Martins are sought after by customers and to shield against any future legislation that restricts the use of fossil-fuel powered classics, the company has created a zero-emissions conversion. It’s a part of the company’s wider electric-vehicle strategy, with the Heritage electrification concept occupying space and official subsidiary status at Aston Martin’s Works Newport Pagnell premises.

Developed around a so-called “cassette” EV powertrain, it shares key parts with the Rapide E, the marque’s four-door limo that’s set to be the first fully electric Aston Martin.

An original 1970 DB6 MkII Volante is the first Classic car to receive the radical new EV powertrain. The idea is that the car’s oily bits are intact and the car can still purr on its nearly 50 year old engine. However, if rules become draconian, the old engine is removed and in place they fit the electric cassette powertrain.

An electric powertrain has been transplanted into the old girl. Picture: SUPPLIED
An electric powertrain has been transplanted into the old girl. Picture: SUPPLIED                

It’s designed to be positioned on the original DB6 engine and gearbox mountings. The cassette is enclosed within a self-contained cell and wiring cords from the electric power unit then feed the car’s electrical systems. Should future legislation be relaxed to allow even moments or areas where petrol-powered cars can roar freely, the cassette system can be taken out and the petrol engine can resume driving duties.

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.”

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