Aston Martin has officially postponed all plans for an electric car after securing a new investment from Formula One billionaire Lawrence Stroll. The company said it had indefinitely suspended its first electric vehicle, RapideE. Moreover, it has postponed the launch date of its all-electric Lagonda subbrand from 2022 to no earlier than 2025.
The British luxury carmaker has decided to sell a stake of nearly 20 per cent, taking up to 500m pounds ($657m) from Stroll. It comes after Aston Martin’s 2019 performance was poor despite rising sales, with losses of more than 100 million pounds. Aston Martin announced the investment on Friday morning after an emergency meeting of the board. At the meeting, Aston Martin chose between Stroh’s bid and a similar bid from Geely, the Chinese car group.
Rapide E has been a very troubling project from the start. In 2015, Aston Martin teamed up with Williams Advanced Engineering, the technical arm of the Williams F1 team, to build the first prototype. Shortly thereafter, Aston Martin announced plans to develop Rapide E in a joint venture with LeEco, a Chinese technology group. Unfortunately, LeEco went bankrupt in 2017 under heavy debt pressure, forcing the British carmaker to scale back its Rapide E plan.
Shortly thereafter, Aston Martin announced plans to produce only 155 luxury electric sports cars and to work with Williams again. Rapide E was officially unveiled at the 2019 Shanghai Motor Show, but has not announced plans for the launch. Aston Martin also announced plans to revive its Lagonda brand in 2018 to launch a new line-up of luxury electric cars. The company has even launched several dazzling concept cars. But as Aston Martin refocuses on its short-term survival and tries to avoid its eighth bankruptcy in more than 100 years, those plans have been shelved.