Over the summer, Aston Martin confirmed plans to offer optional hybrid versions across its range. Thankfully, at least for now, it doesn’t sound like Aston Martin plans to only offer hybrids anytime soon, but in the interest of improving fuel economy, it has to at least offer some. That said, don’t expect to see Aston offer plug-in hybrids anytime soon.
Speaking to AutoExpress, Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, said he thinks plug-in hybrids are a bad idea. “We won’t offer plug-in hybrids. I don’t see the point,” he said. His reasoning? Complexity and cost.
“You have the complexity and costs of a regular engine, and the complexity and costs of a plug-in electrified system,” said Palmer. “I’d rather spend my engineering dollar on going to what, after all, will be the final goal: pure-electric vehicles. So we hope that the hybrid system we develop will have enough ‘sailing’ pure-electric range to satisfy the requirements of cities.”
You may eventually see Aston Martin pair a hybrid setup with a V-6, but Palmer said he has no interest in offering any engine smaller than six cylinders. “I have no objection to the principle of engines that are smaller and in a V configuration, in fact, but in-line four-cylinder or three-cylinder units? No. I don’t think we’ll see an Aston Martin with a combustion engine that has any fewer than six cylinders,” he said.
When asked if Aston has plans to develop an all-electric sports car, Palmer kept his response vague. “It’s possible, yes,” he said. “There are various challenges involved in making an EV, and the one everyone focuses on is the battery—the management system and the chemistry involved. The interesting thing is that the other three key components of any electric car—weight, aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance—are areas sports car manufacturers, and us in particular, are really good at mastering.”
In fact, he thinks being a sports car manufacturer gives Aston Martin an advantage in building electric cars that other automakers don’t necessarily have. “That puts us at an advantage over other brands who are making some big claims—such as Tesla, with a lightweight roadster. I think we could be in that space relatively easily.”
As for the British automaker’s upcoming Ferrari 488 rival, that will definitely still offer a gasoline engine. “I’d like to think that even by 2020 or 2021, when that car arrives, the world will still be a place where some people are looking for a pure petrol engine,” Palmer concluded.