Aston plans Tesla-fighting 800-hp electric Rapide

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Aston Martin is taking direct aim at the top versions of the Tesla Model S with a plan to launch a battery electric Rapide sedan boasting 800 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and a 200-mile range within the next two years. Company CEO Andy Palmer confirmed the vehicle's development to Automotive News during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. A test mule to engineer the powertrain was already on the road, Palmer asserted.

The electric Rapide would join the internal combustion version, rather than replace it, and the BEV would likely remain a niche product with just a few hundred per year carrying a price between $200,000 and $250,000. Palmer indicates the model would prioritize performance. "I think that the fact that you could drive a few laps of a decent race course or race it around the Nordschleife is much more interesting than doing 500 meters in Ludicrous mode," he said to Automotive News, taking a swipe at Tesla's latest upgrade.

Palmer has referenced the electric Rapide before. Earlier this year, he said that power would be a major priority for it. Aston Martin has also received help on the project from an undisclosed Silicon Valley partner, but Palmer said the collaborator wasn't Tesla.

"If you want to keep making V12 engines, then you've got to do something at the opposite end of the spectrum," Palmer said about the company's strategy to Automotive News. The Rapide is just the first step in the brand's electrification, and the DBX is also under development for the next decade in EV, plug-in hybrid, and internal combustion versions. The crossover concept debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show as an EV.