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Aston Martin intends to launch a production version of the electric RapidE concept by 2018, and a partnership with Chinese company LeEco should make that quick timeline possible. The deal brings the British brand a significant step closer to its goal of offering a more electrifying lineup.

Under this deal, Aston Martin and LeEco will develop the battery and powertrain tech for the RapidE together, and they'll also work out how to produce the electric sedan. According to the announcement, some of these innovations might show up in Faraday Future vehicles because LeEco is the new name for LeTV, which is backing the mysterious EV startup.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer confirmed development of the electric Rapid last spring and later said the company already had a test mule. Rumors suggest the all-wheel drive EV could be astoundingly powerful with between 800 and 1,000 horsepower. A single-charge range of 200 miles is also possible. However, the British company might produce only a few hundred RapidE's a year at prices between $200,000 and $250,000 each, which would make it a niche product for the boutique brand.

The RapidE's high price and low production would keep the sedan out of the mainstream, but the model's development could allow Aston Martin to hone its EV prowess for the more mainstream DBX electric crossover. The CUV is due around 2019.
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ASTON MARTIN AND LEECO PARTNER TO CO-DEVELOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE

Published: Feb 17, 2016

17 February 2016, Frankfurt, Germany: Leading global technology company LeEco and luxury sports car brand Aston Martin today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) towards the creation of a partnership that will develop a production version of the Aston Martin RapidE electric vehicle concept. It is anticipated that the partnership will see the two companies working together in developing and manufacturing RapidE, with potential for adding a range of next-generation connected electric vehicles on behalf of Aston Martin, LeEco and Faraday Future.

This new signing extends the existing collaboration between the two companies. In January 2016, LeEco and Aston Martin revealed the first results of their partnership – an Aston Martin Rapide S incorporating the latest Letv Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system. The second area of the partnership – the development of low-emission vehicle technologies – has been accelerated as they have developed their respective plans for launching a range of new electric vehicles during the second half of the decade.

The first model developed by this partnership will be the Aston Martin RapidE. The Aston Martin RapidE concept was created to explore how the company can take an existing production vehicle and create an all-electric sports sedan. Since the creation of this concept vehicle, Aston Martin and Letv have been advancing the work on production feasibility including the identification of technology solutions for battery systems and powertrain. Both companies are now focused on bringing the RapidE to market in 2018 utilising the best technologies from the companies' portfolios.

Commenting on the signing of the MOU, Mr. Ding Lei, co-founder and global vice chairman of SEE Plan, said, "Signing of this MOU ushers a new phase of the collaborations between Aston Martin and LeEco. LeEco's SEE Plan is dedicated to build electric, smart, connected and socialized cars. We have been targeting the highest standard in the auto industry in terms of design, R&D and manufacturing of our electric cars. We hope that, by strengthening collaborations with Aston Martin, our future models will provide premium qualities and delicate arts and crafts as good as those of Aston Martin."

Aston Martin CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said: "Aston Martin are dedicated to developing a range of cars with low emission technologies. We have been encouraged by the project speed and technical depth shown by Letv in the development of the RapidE concept towards full production. Bringing the RapidE to market by 2018 is an important milestone for both companies. "

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