Aston Martin To Partner With China's LeEco To Build Electric Cars

Feb 18, 2016 01:40 PM EST | John Nassivera

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Aston Martin has announced that it will team up with LeLco, the Chinese backer of electric car startup Faraday Future, in order to produce its first electric vehicle.

The British automaker said that the partnership will aim towards developing a production version of its RapidS concept vehicle, adding that there is a chance they will develop other electric vehicles, some of which could be for LeEco, according to Reuters. The companies also said that Faraday could also use the platform to make their own EVs.

"Aston can offer expertise in ride, handling refinement and those sort of things," Aston Martin Chief Executive Andy Palmer said at a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, adding that the venture will help Aston Martin move forward with its electric car project.

The announcement follows several months after Aston Martin, widely known for building cars for James Bond Films, unveiled an electric prototype version of the Rapid S, which it called the RapidE, The Wall Street Journal reported. Faraday also has plans for electric cars, including beginning sales for these vehicles by 2017 and building a factory for them in the U.S.

LeEco provides a variety of services through smartphones, television set top boxes and the Internet and already works with Aston Martin on the Rapid S' in-car infotainment system, and the two companies now look to develop zero-emission technologies.

The partnership also comes at a time when China is trying to encourage more drivers to buy electric cars through incentives like exemption from a law that permits other types of vehicles to only be driven on Beijing's roads six days a week, BBC News noted. The government also intends to have 5 million EVs on its roads by 2020.

Aston Martin and LeEco plan on bringing the RapidE to market by 2018 and will build the vehicle at the automaker's factory in Gaydon, England.

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