Give a quick glance around while you wait in line to charge up the electric vehicle. Because in the not too distant future, it could be Bond — James Bond — who could be standing next to you.
And he will do so with his vehicle of choice — the Aston Martin, which is now putting together all the bells and whistles for its electric aspirations. And as is the case with all things Aston Martin, those aspirations do not stick to any boundaries. (Now, some may remember Bond in a BMW, especially one that would turn invisible. But that was a short-lived affair.) It’s the same mindset when the UK supercar maker talks up its SUV aspirations as well.
“We are positioning Lagonda to be the very first high-luxury EV brand,” said Dan Balmer, President, Aston Martin Lagonda Middle East, North Africa & Turkey. “At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, we unveiled the Lagonda Vision concept and this year we followed up with an SUV version.
“The Lagonda all-terrain concept will provide a first sight on our thinking behind the products we intend to launch under the world’s first — and only — all EV high-luxury brand.”
Buyers will need to show a bit of patience before they can put their hands on a Lagonda … production is scheduled to start only by 2022 at a new facility in Wales, which will double up as Aston Martin’s ‘Home of Electrification’.
Until some manufacturer comes up with a sub-$20,000 model, electric vehicles are going to remain an accessory of those the well-heeled. Even with the price cut Tesla announced for the Model 3 recently, it still comes to a hefty $35,000 and more.
But the space that Aston Martin plays in carries a few more digits on the pricing. That’s where the brand wants to try and take on supremacy, on EVs and SUVs alike.
Not just that, the intention is to challenge “conventional thinking in the high-luxury sedan/SUV market that has been left to two very similar legacy brands for the last 100 plus years.”
Balmer’s being polite here by not naming the “legacy brands”. On EVs, while Aston Marin has set out the strategy and road map, Bentley has so far only said it plans to have an EV model, while Rolls-Royce is taking a longer term view on its own electric plans.
But the fight for supremacy in SUVs is a live one. Bentley and Rolls-Royce opened up the super luxury end of the automotive market through the Bentayga and the Cullinan, respectively. Not surprisingly, in a marketplace primed for high-performance SUVs, the models have had a rousing reception in the UAE.
Bentley now has lifted the cover on the latest Bentayga iteration — the Speed — at the ongoing Geneva show and which is being billed as the fastest SUV ever. The W12 engine and 626-hp can do the 0-100 km/h in a claimed 3.9 seconds, The top speed is set at 306km/h and is open for orders right now in most territories.
Joining the SUV fray from Aston Martin’s side will be the DBX, its first such offering. Full production commences next year.
Balmer is already sounding the drum rolls on what this means for a future buyer … and manufacturers elsewhere. “Deliveries start in 2020 — we can already see this model beating the current ‘cosmetically challenged’ competition,” he said.
In good time for the next James Bond movie, which is due to release in April of 2020. So, keep the eyes open — you may yet spot him at the charging station with that next-gen Aston Martin.
Retrofitting with electric
Don’t bring up the subject of depreciating values when it comes to Aston Martin.
“We have a solid reputation for building collectible rare cars, which often acquire value after purchase,” said Dan Balmer.
Aston Martin has plans for a programme that will fitout its fuel-driven heritage models with electric. “As times change, we now have an answer to what could well be a future challenge to the restoration market,” he added. “There is always a level of complexity with this work — even our continuation models to date have required a level of re-engineering for modern times and expectations.
“We will be among the first-to-market with this concept. The combined skills and experiences of the teams that are launching Rapide E and producing our heritage continuation models will deliver solutions to meet this ‘old meets new’ market niche.”