Aston Martin has dabbled in hybrid engines at racing level with success, but has chosen to stick to the traditional combustion engines for its production cars — until now, that is.
Say hello to the Aston Martin DB9 plug-in hybrid, a car that combines the standard DB9’s already potent 6.0-litre V12 with not one, not two but three electric motors. The result is a car that should be significantly faster than the standard DB9 and a great deal more economical, too.
A pair of 85kW electric motors power the front wheels while a smaller 25kW electric motor sits next to the V12, keeping the engine belt turning so the power steering and other ancillaries can do their jobs even in all-electric mode.
The DB9 hybrid’s electric motors are driven by a 180kWh lithium-ion battery located just ahead of the rear axle. This provides sufficient juice for a driving range in the region of 16 miles per charge, making it perfect for short blasts into the city.
The hybrid gubbins adds a whopping 300kg to the car’s overall weight, pushing it to 2,085kg, but it has plenty of power to compensate. Overall grunt is an estimated 740bhp – 230bhp more than is available in the standard car.
Engineers have only just started to test how fast it’ll go, but they claim a 20 per cent improvement in performance. What that means for 0-62mph times and top speeds remains to be seen, but expect masses of torque and grip from the four-wheel-drive layout.
The DB9’s analogue instrument panel has been swapped for a personalisable TFT screen. From here, it’s also possible to adjust throttle response, torque vectoring and other performance-related settings as you drive.
The DB9 hybrid was built by Bosch as part of a research project. The company will be handing over the finished prototype in the Autumn of 2013.
There’s currently no word on when, if ever, you will be able to buy one, but Aston Martin has done stranger things in the past. Cygnet, anyone? More on this as we get it.
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