Aston Martin could develop a lightweight battery-electric sports car in line with the Tesla Roadster as part of the British brand's shift towards hybrids and electric vehicles.

CEO Andy Palmer told Auto Express the company is considering a pure-electric car that's smaller than the Vantage but faster and more expensive, taking aim squarely at the Roadster.

"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," Palmer said.

He added: "The interesting thing is that the other three 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. 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."

Aston Martin is building only 155 examples of its new RapidE, its first electric car due for launch in 2019, which will cost $255,000. It's also developing an electric version of its DBX crossover for 2019.

More broadly, Palmer has said the brand plans to convert its entire six-car lineup to hybrid powertrains by the middle of the next decade, with 25 percent of its vehicles fully electric by the end of the 2020s. It recently unveiled an all-new Vantage, which it expects to price somewhere south of $150,000.

Palmer also told Auto Express that Aston's coming hybrids will use 48V technology — but they won't be plug-in hybrids, which he says add complexity and costs. They could also pave the way for a six-cylinder Aston.

"I have no objection to the principle of engines that are smaller and in a V configuration, in fact, but inline four-cylinder or three-cylinder units? No," he said. "I don't think we'll see an Aston Martin with a combustion engine that has any fewer than six cylinders."

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