Aston Martin has presented its Lagonda Vision Concept at the Geneva show, marking the beginning of a new range of state-of-the-art, emission-free luxury vehicles with production planned to start in 2021.
Lagonda aims to be the world’s first zero emission luxury brand. It will confound traditional thinking and take full advantage of the latest advances in electrification and autonomous driving technologies. It will show how true luxury and modern design, far from being diametrically opposed interests, can exist in total harmony and enhance each other’s most desirable characteristics.
Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andy Palmer, said: “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. Lagonda exists to challenge that thinking and prove that being modern and luxurious are not mutually exclusive concepts.”
The Lagonda Vision Concept is a near future study that previews the design language that could potentially be seen in production Lagonda models as soon as 2021.
Marek Reichman, Aston Martin EVP and Chief Creative Officer, said: ”The electrification revolution means there is no longer any need for horse and carriage design, and our new concept shows the scope of design opportunities that open up once you no longer need to provide space for a large power source directly in front of the passenger compartment. In the Lagonda Vision Concept, the batteries occupy the floor of the car. Everything above that line belongs to us.”
The Vision Concept is far shorter and lower than traditional limousines, the exceptional space efficiency that has been achieved by its radical design means there is room inside for four adults, each of six feet height or more, to stretch out in luxurious comfort. It doesn’t have a bonnet because one is not required. But it still needs to travel through the air and to do so as efficiently as possible to preserve battery life, which is why its shape is so sleek and dynamic.
For the interior Reichman and his team took further delight in defying convention, turning to the most traditional of households for the most visionary thinking. The work of renowned British craftsman David Snowdon, has fascinated Reichman for years. His ability to marry materials, some very modern, others very established in ways that are never predictable held the key to the interior of the Lagonda Vision Concept.
As a result, the interior uses not only ultra-modern materials like carbon fibre and ceramics but also some of the oldest and finest that of late have rarely been used in the automotive sphere, like cashmeres and silks.
Savile Row tailors, Henry Poole were enlisted for their expert knowledge in tailoring luxury materials. When the decision was made to use hand woven wool the master tailors of Henry Poole were able to assist in creating the patterns, cutting the material and the detailed finishing to ensure that a perfectly trimmed seat was produced.
Because the majority of the car’s structural strength comes through its floor, it has been possible to use apertures in the body far larger than would be wise in conventional cars. As a result, the rear hinged back doors don’t just open outwards, the roof sections also open upwards to provide unprecedented ease of access. Occupants can therefore literally stand up inside and walk out of the car. Similarly, the front seats are not mounted on conventional runners which always interfere with where those in the back would like to place their feet, but instead sit on cantilevered arms extending from the floor outside the seat frame providing a completely uncluttered floor area.
The design is commensurate with level four autonomous driving, meaning the car is capable of driving itself in all routine circumstances and on all recognisable roads. As a result, the steering wheel can not only move from left to right hand drive according to need, in autonomous mode it can also retract entirely allowing front seat passengers to rotate through 180 degrees to engage in face to face conversation with those in the back. In the meantime, the car will not only have 360-degree awareness of the world around it, but also be fully connected to it, allowing occupants unprecedented access to bespoke concierge services and a level of connectivity and cyber-security few enjoy in their own homes, let alone their cars.
The vehicle has been configured to accept powerful solid state electric batteries enabling it to cover up to 400 real world miles between charges. That’s the distance from London to Edinburgh without stopping. The concept has also has been designed to be compatible with the latest wireless conductive charging technology.
The car itself makes full use of Aston Martin’s experience in multi-material bonding techniques, creating a structure that is supremely light for an all-electric luxury car, structurally stiff and, incredibly space efficient.
It will also make the most of its electric drive system to provide intelligent all-wheel drive, capable of delivering anything from 100 to zero per cent of available torque to any given wheel according to demand.