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By Stephen Ottley.

Aston Martin has revealed its much-rumoured rival to the Tesla Model S – a electric version of its Rapide sports sedan.

Dubbed RapidE the car has been developed in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering, with the 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine replaced by batteries and an electric motor that powers the rear wheels developed by the Formula One team’s engineering offshoot.

While officially only a concept at this stage, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has made no secret of his desire to add the alternative powertrain technology to the British brand’s range.

The project has been supported by Chinese investment group, ChinaEquity, and would enable the company to bring its average fleet emissions down to meet key targets in China and the USA as it enters its new powertrain deal with Mercedes-AMG.

But Palmer admitted an all-electric sports car is the next step in the brand’s plans once it gets the luxury sports sedan market right.

“We see luxury electric vehicles as an intrinsic part of our future product portfolio and welcome ChinaEquity into the next phase of study for the project development,” Palmer said.

“The exciting RapidE concept tangibly demonstrates the capability and ambition of Aston Martin towards developing low- and zero-emission sports cars.”

British publication Autocar reports that Palmer wants to offer two variants of the RapidE. The first would be powered by a 410kW motor powering the rear wheels only.

The second would aim to best the 515kW Tesla Model S P85D with 745kW of electrical power sent to the road via an all-wheel drive system.

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