There aren’t many CleanTechnica readers planning to purchase an Aston Martin. Aston Martin’s ultra-high-performance vehicles look terrific in James Bond motion pictures, however are OMG costly to the purpose that they’re out of attain of mere mortals. This week, firm CEO Lawrence Stroll, who made his cash within the attire enterprise in Canada, introduced at a press convention that Aston Martin is engaged on a brand new electrical automobile platform that may function the idea of 4 new electrical vehicles, one in all which can be a coupe fashion SUV. All of them will use powertrains — motors, transmissions, and batteries — provided by Lucid.
[Side note: Calling a car a coupe-like SUV is idiotic on its face. An SUV is supposed to be capable of hauling lots of stuff, much of it bulky. A coupe by definition has a low, swooping roofline that makes carrying a bunch of stuff impossible. But the motoring public is cuckoo for SUVs. In theory, if you call something and SUV, people will buy it. If you don’t, they won’t. The kicker is that proper SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade have poor aerodynamics, which is the last thing you want in an electric car. So the new electric cars from Aston Martin will be coupe-like SUVs. Just don’t dare call them hatchbacks!]
The massive information right here is that, for years, Aston Martin didn’t make its personal powertrains. As an alternative, it sourced all of the oily bits from Mercedes AMG. It’s no coincidence that the Aston Martin Components One staff additionally makes use of Mercedes energy. And so it was a double shock to Mercedes to study that Lucid shall be Aston Martin’s provider of selection for its new lineup of electrical vehicles. That information comes after the Aston Martin F1 introduced lately that it’ll supply its race engines from Honda beginning in 2026, making this newest information a double humiliation for Mercedes.
Lucid fancies its Air sedan as a competitor to the mighty Mercedes EQS (Mercedes would by no means admit it’s any such factor), and Aston Martin wish to suppose its new electrics are rivals to the EQS as properly. We’ll see how that seems. The brand new vehicles from Aston Martin received’t be on the street till 2025 on the earliest.
Lucid Has Lofty Objectives
The Lucid powertrain will function its high-power motors and superior battery know-how, each of which function on 924 volts, which makes excessive energy and quick charging doable. The highest-of-the-line Lucid Air options 3 motors with a complete of 1200 horsepower. The information from Aston Martin is that at the very least a few of its upcoming electrical fashions could use 4 Lucid motors, which in principle ought to mix for a complete of 1600 horsepower. [That’s 1200 kW, for you lovers of the metric system.]
The unstated connection right here is that each Lucid and Aston Martin F1 are financed by Saudi Arabia, which is determined to shine its picture on the world stage after the Jamal Khashoggi affair that made the time period “bone noticed” a part of the favored lexicon. The F1 staff is understood formally as Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant. Aramco, in fact, is the massive state-owned Saudi oil and fuel firm. The biggest shareholder in Lucid is the Public Funding Fund, which is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
In response to AutoEvolution, Lucid would dearly love to ascertain itself as a luxurious automobile firm, not simply one other BEV maker. All its communication efforts have been targeted on dismissing any comparability with Tesla whereas additionally humiliating the world’s most respected automobile firm by beating it with spectacular technical specs. Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson says he was the the chief engineer for the Tesla Mannequin S when it was being prepped for manufacturing. Elon Musk disagrees. It’s truthful to say he doesn’t like Elon Musk and the sensation is mutual. Lucid repeats again and again that its primary competitor is the EQS, not the Tesla Mannequin S.
The affiliation with Aston Martin could assist Lucid study a factor or two in regards to the ultra-luxury phase of the car market. Along with no matter revenue Lucid could derive from promoting parts to Aston Martin, it additionally reportedly now holds a 3.7% stake within the UK-based firm. Its affiliation with Aston Martin might additionally spark some curiosity in Lucid creating a high-performance electrical sports activities automobile of its personal. However the largest payoff for Lucid, in line with AutoEvolution, is the burnishing of its popularity. Having its identify affiliated with Aston Martin is a sign to the remainder of the business that Lucid has arrived and must be thought of a world-class provider of first-quality automotive know-how.
“Aston Martin had choices and so they selected fairly independently what they felt is the very best know-how obtainable on the planet,” Rawlinson informed Reuters final week. He added that licensing elements may very well be a big a part of its enterprise mannequin and assist the corporate transfer towards manufacturing extra fashions for the broader market. It plans a mannequin that may compete with the Tesla Mannequin 3 within the second half of the last decade.
A rising enterprise supplying know-how to others would assist Lucid, which, like rival corporations, has been scuffling with mounting losses, tightening money reserves, and a worth warfare sparked by Tesla. “Will we ever wish to make a $25,000 automobile as a result of that’s what it’s going to take to alter the world? I’m undecided if we wish to be in that enterprise, however licensing our tech to an organization that would try this makes extra sense,” Rawlinson mentioned.
Regardless of the gloss being placed on the deal between Aston Martin and Lucid, the reality of the matter is that, absent the help from Saudi Arabia, each corporations might discover themselves circling the drain if they’ll’t determine methods to change into worthwhile within the close to future. Having a sugar daddy backer is a superb factor, however their mutual sponsor received’t wait without end for a return on its funding. The clock is ticking for each Aston Martin and Lucid, and Lawrence Stroll and Peter Rawlinson each understand it.
Lucid has developed some superb know-how with regards to powering an electrical automobile, however its gross sales haven’t stored tempo with its aspirations, one thing each startup firm has to face. Aston Martin has been in enterprise for a century, however that isn’t a assure it would proceed in enterprise. It has struggled to promote something however sports activities vehicles for years. It should take greater than product placement alternatives in 007 motion pictures to maintain it alive.
Regardless of all of the joyful discuss in regards to the deal the 2 corporations have struck, each CEOs know this higher work. The EV revolution is powering forward rapidly and it received’t await corporations like Aston Martin and Lucid to get their sums proper. It’s a fragile dance they’re doing, and we want them properly with their new partnership.
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