RAC Cars News


Aston Martin Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S

By raccars Published

After a triumph racing its high performance eco vehicle, the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S, at Nurburgring last month, Aston Martin is venturing further into the green auto technology field, partnering with Bosch to create a DB9 plug in hybrid. This will not only increase efficiency and emissions figures, it is also claimed the green technology will benefit the driving experience.

Bosch has developed a modular hybrid programme for the special DB9, that involves installing two front axle mounted electric motors, transforming the usually rear wheel drive car to a four wheel drive vehicle, with automatic torque vectoring. Another electric motor was fitted to the engine belt.

Bosch is presenting this system as the most effective way of adding hybrid technology to sports cars, adding power to the front axle and allowing the engine power to be reserved entirely for the rear wheels.

On top of the three electric motors and their control modules, the DB9 features a 180kW lithium ion battery, the whole adding 300g of weight to the standard DB9's 1785hg. However, the standard car's 510bhp gets an added 200bhp boost in return. The extra electric power has allegedly reduced the DB9's 4.6 second 0-62mph time to about 4 seconds flat. While the car's range using electric power only is a meagre 20 miles, the main benefit of the technology is to improve fuel economy and cut emissions.

Bosch has designed the modular system so that its components are almost universal, for adaptation to other models and brands. It is hoping other performance car manufacturers will install this technology to similar dynamic effect, suggesting that hybridisation is the only way high performance autos will be able to comply with stricter emissions legislation in the future.

Aston Martin was not involved in the development of the technology, supplying the DB9 as a donor car only. The company has expressed interest in the potential of the system but, as yet, does not plan to use it in production.

The company's Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S became the first car to complete a zero emissions lap at Germany's famous Nurburgring, powered solely by hydrogen technology. The hydrogen race car competed in qualifying and the 24 hour race event through rain and fog at genuine race speeds, leading the field at times. Aston Martin used the project to show the potential of hydrogen technology in production cars, but advises that its mass market use won't be viable for at least five years yet.

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