A brand new experience: Aston brings back Lagonda
Just a few short years ago, the thought of an emissions-free Aston Martin would have been dismissed out of hand by many within the car industry and by fans of the luxury and performance brand. However things have changed; following on from last year’s unveiling of the electric RapidE concept, now comes a complete alternative-powered brand. With a bespoke stand next to Aston Martin, Lagonda took center stage with its Vision Concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show—the basis for a four-door electric and autonomous sedan.
Aston is claiming that Lagonda is “the world’s first zero emission luxury brand.” While that might be open to interpretation, especially by Tesla customers and followers, all the signs in Switzerland were that the company is very serious, and believes it has spotted a niche in the market. The eventual production version of the Vision Concept is not set to appear until around 2021, and a coupé and SUV are planned to follow in prevailing years.
“We believe people associate luxury in their cars with a certain traditional and even old-fashioned approach because, to date, that is all that’s been available to them,” commented the Aston Martin President and CEO, Andy Palmer in Geneva. “Lagonda exists to challenge that thinking and prove that being modern and luxurious are not mutually exclusive concepts.”
Given the acknowledgement that the future automotive world will embrace autonomous technologies and systems, the Vision Concept has been designed with Level 4 in mind. The steering wheel can not only move from left- to right-hand drive according to need, in autonomous mode it can also retract entirely. In this scenario, the seating configuration can be completely revised, allowing front-seat passengers to rotate through 180 degrees to engage in face-to-face conversation with those in the back.
The identity of the battery supplier is yet to be confirmed, but Lagonda is in discussions with several suppliers. When the pack is finalized, it will offer a range of up to 400 mi (645 km)—the distance between Los Angeles to San Francisco—without stopping. The propulsion system will also have the ability to provide intelligent all-wheel-drive, which means any amount of torque can be supplied to any given wheel whenever it is required. The concept has also been designed to be compatible with the latest wireless conductive charging technology. Connected to the charging network, then and also to the environment around it.
Aston promises full access to “bespoke concierge services” and a level of connectivity and cybersecurity that will rival that of people’s homes. The disruptive nature of advanced technologies has influenced the overall design of the vehicle too, with no traditional bonnet, grille, or large space for a powertrain in front of the passenger compartment. Batteries will be under the floor.
It’s quite a departure for many core Aston customers, but the company believes some of the experience won’t be too different.
“For owners of true luxury cars, autonomy has existed for over a century, in a carbon-based form called a chauffeur,” added Palmer. “We imagine most Lagonda customers will choose to be driven, but whether by a person or a computer will be up to them. And if they want to drive themselves, the car will ensure that it is a delightful and memorable experience too. Lagonda will provide that choice.”