Aston Martin’s gasoline-powered cars will survive as track-only specials

LONDON — Aston Martin will continue to sell internal combustion engine cars with no electrification after 2030, but only for use on tracks, CEO Tobias Moers said.

Combustion engine sports cars only for track use will account for 5 percent of Aston Martin’s sales by 2030, with full-electric cars taking 50 percent and hybrid cars accounting for 45 percent, Moers wrote in the company’s annual report.

Niche automotive companies such as Aston Martin have long sold track-only sports cars as a way of getting around legislation that requires expensive technology. Racetracks often do not require cars to be road legal, with noise levels the only major barrier to use.

Aston Martin’s track only models include the Vulcan hypercar, launched in 2015. Aston has said the Valkyrie hypercar will be available with a non-road legal performance addition for faster track driving. Deliveries of the road-going Valkyrie start in the second half after a two-year delay, partly caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Aston Martin will build its first electric car in 2025, the automaker’s chairman and biggest shareholder, Lawrence Stroll, told the Financial Times earlier this month. An electric sports car will be produced at the company’s plant in Gaydon, England, and an electric SUV at its plant in St Athan, Wales, Stroll said.

Aston will add a mild-hybrid version of the DBX in the third quarter to sell alongside the V-8 version, with a plug-in hybrid version of the DBX ultraluxury SUV arriving in 2023.

The shift to electrified powertrains is made possible by Aston Martin’s close relationship with Mercedes-Benz, Moers said in the annual report. Taking Mercedes’ EV technology “avoids the high investment in powertrain and electrical architecture, thereby de-risking the business plan,” Moers wrote.

Aston Martin has said by 2025 every car sold will have a hybrid or pure electric powertrain.

Moers’ “ultimate goal” of 50 percent full-electric sales by 2030 contrasts with rival Bentley’s announcement in November that 100 percent of its sales will be full-electric by the same date. Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said last year that limited numbers of combustion engine “continuation” models that revive older cars could still be built after 2030 using synthetic e-fuels in place of gasoline.

Aston Martin’s UK home market plans to ban the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles from 2030, with plug-in hybrids and full hybrids allowed to remain on sale for a further five years.