Charged, Not Gassed: James Bond’s Next Aston Could be Electric

While there have been exceptions, especially during the ‘90s when product placement led to 007 driving BMWs, James Bond has mostly been an Aston Martin man. Well, according to Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, the next Astons used by MI6 in Her Majesty’s Secret Service might be EVs.

Palmer told CNBC that he thinks that it’s inevitable that EVs will gain popularity in the near future – so much so that it’s “almost as inevitable as death and tax.” He also told the network that EVs would fit Bond just like a nice tux.

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“What does electric give you? It gives you phenomenal acceleration, phenomenal torque – immediate pick-up, there’s no lag, so if you use it well and certainly in the near and medium-term and in our terminology, the long-term, you’re going to have at least a combination of battery, electric and gasoline and then you get the best of both worlds,” Palmer said to CNBC. “You get the engagement and the sound of a V-12 or a V-8 engine but you get the power supplemented by the electric motor, so you get the best of both.”

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Palmer is certain in his belief that EVs will move from a market niche to the mainstream. “At some point in the future we have to move to electric drive, be that via a hydrogen pack or battery pack. It just is how it is,” Palmer said to CNBC. “It’s a long, long away … but eventually as a population, do we have to eradicate carbon-burning technology? Yes we do.”

Palmer even thinks that despite his bachelor status, Bond wouldn’t turn up his nose at the Aston Martin DBX Concept, an electric crossover that has been dubbed “family-friendly” by the brand.

“James is an important customer for our sports cars but he occasionally gets married so maybe there’s someone out there for him, although you can get a baby seat in the back of a DB11,” Palmer said. “But it’s about reality and Aston is more than just James Bond. It’s about being British, being independent, it’s about craftsmanship, and it’s about business itself.”

“If we want to be here for the next 100 years we have to adapt to the buying patterns of new customers and our younger generation who will become our customers, they want SUVs and crossovers, and we need to interpret what that means to an Aston Martin customer, preserving our beauty and soul but offering something in that space,” Palmer said.

All martini jokes aside, the British automotive industry has shrunk and with a referendum on Europe Union membership scheduled for June, Palmer said that Aston Martin may have to adjust its production plans should the U.K. leave the EU.

“You adapt plans, of course, and my position to all of the staff here is very neutral, which is that you have to make your own decision. Would the U.K. be worse off if we came out of Europe? Financially, yes, but there are other factors that people need to consider,” Palmer said.

“As far as Aston Martin is concerned, about 20 percent of our sales go into the EU so we would be affected to some extent if tariff barriers go up, if you believe that they will go up,” Palmer said. “I think, more importantly, we sell to luxury customers and destabilization of the industry is always going to be a worry because it affects purchasing power.” Palmer would only say “we’ll see” when he was asked if production would be moved due to rising tariffs.