Aston Martin is going electric, but — thanks to a Saudi connection — it’s going to get some help from American EV startup Lucid.
Overnight the two automakers announced Aston Martin will use “Lucid’s current and future powertrain and battery technology” for the new EV platform the British sports car brand is developing as part of a new “strategic supply agreement” and “long-term relationship”.
This “bespoke” EV architecture is said to underpin the company’s “entire future electrified model range; from hypercars to sports cars, GTs and SUVs”. The first car on this platform has a target launch date of 2025.
It’s unknown at this stage whether Aston Martin is planning to lead with an electric sports car or something more practical.
The company will continue to develop vehicles on existing architectures for the time being, with a plug-in hybrid due in 2024, and the Valhalla hypercar now scheduled for 2026. Aston Martin is aiming to have its “core range” fully electrified by 2030.
According to Automotive News, as part of today’s new partnership Aston Martin will issue around 28 million new shares to Lucid, giving the American firm a stake of about 3.7 per cent in the British firm.
Aston Martin has also agreed to pay Lucid “in excess” of US$450 million ($673 million). These payments will be made in phases, and the total figure includes a lump sum, as well as cash for drivetrain components, batteries, electronics, and consulting and technical services.
The two automakers say the new partnership was born out of a “competitive process”, but it should be noted Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns stakes in both Aston Martin and Lucid.
Lucid recently received a fresh injection of cash from PIF as part of a US$3 billion ($4.5 billion) fund-raising round, and it continues to struggle ramping up production of its Air electric sedan.
Currently Aston Martin has a technical partnership with Mercedes-Benz, with the German firm supplying engines, drivetrain technology, and electrical components for various vehicles.
Aston Martin says Mercedes-Benz will continue to supply internal-combustion engines, and technology for upcoming hybrids and EVs. However, Aston Martin will now pay in cash for these items, and Mercedes-Benz is no longer planning to increase its shareholding beyond its current 9.0 per cent.
Mercedes-Benz bought into Aston Martin in 2013, well before Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll and his Yew Tree consortium took control of the sports car firm in early 2020.
The share register of Aston Martin received a major shakeup when Geely doubled its shareholding to around 17 per cent in May this year, making the Chinese firm the third largest shareholder behind Yew Tree and PIF.