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Aston Martin has revealed a novel way to 'future-proof' use of its classic models: a reversible electric powertrain installation. The idea is that an owner of a classic Aston Martin will have the option to have it converted to zero emissions running, using a self-contained cassette that houses all the main EV components, bolted into place on the original engine and gearbox mounting points. Apparently, some of those parts come straight from the Aston Martin Rapide E project that is currently nearing completion (an all-electric version of the Aston Rapide that will be produced in limited numbers).
To demonstrate the concept, Aston Martin Works (the firm's dedicated heritage restoration centre, based in Newport Pagnell in the UK) converted a 1970 Aston DB6 MkII Volante (pictured), featuring a hidden recharging port in the same place as the original fuel filler and the cassette under the bonnet.
While all of this is very worthy and could indeed mean that collectors can drive their classic cars in public, regardless of future legislation on emissions, etc, the unique aspect of Aston's concept is that it has been designed from the outset to be completely reversible, with the aim of preserving a car's value.
Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer, commented: "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, added: "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."
Though the converted DB6 is presented as a concept for the reversible EV idea, Aston has already confirmed that Aston Martin Works will begin customer Heritage EV conversions in 2019, potentially ahead of first deliveries of the Aston Rapide E, which itself is seen as a toe in the water of EV development before Aston Martin relaunches the Lagonda brand as all-electric in 2021.