Aston Martin and Faraday Future have announced a new partnership. Every major car maker is pushing hard to get electric cars into production. For many, working with partners seems like the simplest way to make that happen. The first electric Aston Martin will be the RapidE, an all electric version of its Rapide S sedan. Faraday Future is bankrolled by Chinese company LeTV, which is owned by billionaire tech entrepreneur Jia Yueting. It has recently rebranded itself as LeEco.
Aston Martin head Andy Palmer told a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany this week the partnership “[B]rings Aston Martin’s electric car project forward. He expects the car, which will be built at the firm’s assembly plant in Gaydon, England, to go on sale in 2018.
LeEco, a consumer electronics company which offers branded content via the Internet, television set top boxes, and smartphones hopes to use its captive audience and celebrity endorsements to promote cars in future, according to Reuters. “In China we have around 300 million people who visit our website. We could advertise the Aston Martin for free. And we can use celebrities to promote our vehicle. This is the way we do business,” said Lei Ding, co-founder of LeEco’s auto division. He previously held senior positions at joint ventures of Volkswagen and General Motors in China.
As part of the deal, Aston Martin is expected to collaborate with Faraday Future on “a range of next generation connected electric vehicles,” according to an Aston Martin press release.
The key innovation that Faraday Future brings to the table is its scalable electric vehicle architecture that permits a variety of chassis dimensions and battery configurations while using the same basic platform. That is expected to allow Faraday Future to develop a wide range of new electric vehicles at less cost. It will also give it broad flexibility to produce cars that are in demand as the marketplace of the future changes.
Faraday is building a new hi-tech factory near Las Vegas but has not released any details about what sorts of cars it intends to manufacture there. While the world is crying out for inexpensive electric cars, most car makers want to follow Tesla’s lead and make only high profit premium vehicles for the world’s wealthiest consumers. It is unlikely that the Aston Martin RapidE will appeal to many low income shoppers.