This platform is expected to feature a cell-to-chassis design that integrates the battery pack into the structure itself to lower the centre of gravity, and accommodates motors developed by British firm YASA – based in Oxford, intriguingly just 35 miles from Aston’s Gaydon HQ.
However, Mercedes’ stake in Aston now comes second to that of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), which will acquire a 16.7% share of the British firm for £78 million.
The PIF also heavily contributed to a huge £550 million investment package in McLaren earlier this year, and notably in 2019 became the main backer of American EV firm Lucid, with an investment worth more than $1 billion (£840m). Stroll conceded that its involvement, which has been under discussion for “months”, could offer an alternative avenue for Aston’s electrification plans.
Lucid currently has just one car on sale, the Air luxury saloon, and is developing an SUV under the codename Project Gravity, to sit atop the same 900V platform.
The American EV firm does not supply its architecture to any other car makers currently but has previously supplied batteries for the Formula E championship. It builds cars at a new $700m (£590m) facility it calls AMP-1 in Casa Grande, Arizona and plans to significantly ramp up its output with a new facility in Saudi Arabia that’s capable of producing 150,000 cars per year.
Intriguingly, Stroll highlighted Croation hypercar outfit Rimac as a potential partner on a press call following the investment announcement. While he did not elaborate, his confirmation that a halo car is part of the product plan and Rimac’s track record of producing low-volume hypercars raises the prospect of the firms partnering for a low-volume, fast-turnaround project that could be in line with Aston’s 2025 launch plans.
Stroll also highlighted that Aston plans to continue to build up electrification competency within the firm, adding: “Electrification isn’t just about batteries or motors. There’s so much more to it, and as our development investment transitions to electrification, then we plan to build up our own capabilities, too.”