Aston Martin Reveals Retrofit EV Powertrain for Classic Cars

Aston Martin claims to have devised a way of reverse-engineering classic cars to keep them on the road in a clean-air future by converting them to EV powertrains.

The British marque’s EV brand, Aston Martin Lagonda has created the Heritage electrification concept led by Aston Martin Works at Newport Pagnell. Developed around a so-called “cassette” EV powertrain, the carmaker said its objective is to mitigate any future legislation to restrict the use of classic cars by offering a zero emissions conversion.

Using knowledge acquired during the final phase development of the Aston Martin Rapide E and future planning of the range of Lagondas, the conversion employs the industry’s leading EV technology and production versions of the cassette will include key components from the Rapide E program.

The first car to receive the new EV powertrain is an original 1970 DB6 MkII Volante, which would have been originally hand-crafted at the Newport Pagnell plant. 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 cabin interior.

The carmaker claims the conversion offers 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.

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda president and group chief executive officer, said: “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.”

Aston Martin Works will also be responsible for completing customer Heritage EV conversions, which are expected to commence in 2019.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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