At the 2018 Motor Show in Geneva, luxury brand Aston Martin dropped a huge bombshell announcement, presenting a lavish Vision Concept car from its newly-resurrected Lagonda line of vehicles.
The concept featured an opulent satin and cashmere interior design while offering autonomous driving technology, providing the ultimate comfort and sophistication in electric transportation. The outlandish design is one of many in the latest wave of supercars that have been linked to electric-power alternatives. These vehicles are the perfect ride for the environmentally cautious yet high-spending motorist.
Aston Martin forecast that official production of the high-tech Lagonda models will commence by 2021, along with two possible batches of models to be subsequently released in 2023.
The prestigious automobile manufacturer was geared to join a lineup of companies, which include big players like Volkswagen AG and Mercedes, in a revolutionary bid toward an electric-powered automobile market.
In 2019, we are presented with exciting new developments in line with the Aston Martin vision of their new generation electric vehicles. Enter the Lagonda all-terrain concept.
A Concept Par Excellence
At the latest Motor Show in Geneva, Aston Martin revealed a state-of-the-art SUV design that seemed closer to a production reality, titled the Lagonda all-terrain concept. The sleek electric-powered vehicle has been said by some to resemble the Jaguar I-Pace.
According to the CEO of Aston Martin, Andy Palmer, both electric-run concepts (vision and all-terrain) contain components, engineering designs and technologies for greater efficiency.
Mr. Palmer was clear that the all-terrain concept was meant to target a unique demography, the tech enthusiasts, ‘’ “This is a car for tech entrepreneurs, the guys who drive Teslas, not Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, It’s in the same high-net-worth market but not aimed at the same customer.”
However, Aston Martin did not disclose any details on the performance specifications of the vehicle. The automobile company has embarked on a perspective of revolutionary road travel, with representatives going so far as to describe the design as one that ‘’ appeals to a pioneering spirit of adventure, just as easily imagine it roaming the surface of Mars as a mountain in Scotland.’’
Head designer of the team, Marek Reichman, stressed, “It has to be unearthly and different.”The new design is said to have been inspired by nautical engineering observed in superyachts, luxury vehicles at sea that are known for their majestically sleek design and powerful cruising speeds.
Despite its incredibly futuristic design, which includes exaggerated door dimensions and immense size, the British automobile manufacturer has promised an official release of the model in St. Athan, Wales by 2022, which has been touted to be the home of electric transport.
Luxurious Interior and Design
The model is installed with fancy high-tech screens at both ends of the vehicle and fitted with elongated car doors. For fans of gems, they might be delighted to discover that every comfy car seat is embedded with sparkling Swarovski jewels for an extra bit of fineness.
It is apparent from the lavishness of the design that Aston Martin has set their central theme on futuristic opulence. Several attendees at the Motor show exhibited their sense of incredulity and wonderment for the vehicle concept as they snapped photos.
The interior is huge, boasting legroom on par with that of a limousine, if not more. The cushy cashmere-covered seats are comfortably-spaced apart, both front and back.
Adding to the sleekness of the interior, air vents and speakers are tucked away from sight, presenting a perfectly uninterrupted plane of nocturnal-themed material.
Impressive rechargeable electric-battery trains are installed beneath the reinforced floorboards of the vehicle while its rear flooring features an extendable device mainly for the purpose of tailgating.
Due to the default layout of electric-powered vehicles, they may be perfectly suited as luxury models since space is less restricted. “No one has taken advantage of the fact that there is no internal combustion engine, there’s oodles of space in here’’, design chief Reichman added.
The doors are rear-hinged, and upward pivoted roof panels allow easy access and exiting for passengers.
Overall, the SUV has a futuristic design with dramatically-elongated overhangs that has it resembling a bullet as it travels. The result is a luxe-style SUV with outrageous proportions.
However, according to a company press release, the trimmed and dark outlook of the all-terrain vehicle is meant to seamlessly transport the driver and passengers from the comforts of their homes straight to the comfy interior of the SUV. It is a fascinating user experience that the company wishes to employ.
In fact, the design team has come up with innovative ways to improve the traveling experience of the would-be passenger through the installation of rear shelves of the car that may be transformed into viewing platforms, to witness the marvelous sights that the ride has to offer.
A major topic of discussion revolves around its immense size (comparable to a minivan). Since the model is expected to run on electricity, a ridiculously massive battery might be necessary to keep the giant on the road, unless adjustments are made to the design between its concept, up until subsequent prototypes and finalized commercial production.
New Age Functionality
Hardcore automobile enthusiasts have been discussing the feasibly and technological aspects of autonomous travel for a long time, essentially, a world filled with driverless cars. The Lagonda all-terrain concept features the autonomous setting but goes a step further in boasting a levitation function that enables the car key to hover.
An installed navigation dial doubles up as a hovering button for the electric-powered vehicle for easy access among people in the vehicle, touted by some as the ‘’floating key.’’
A purposeful function of this feature remains debated as it seems no more than a parlor trick to showcase the sci-fi-like advanceents of the vehicle.
In the future, motorists are potentially looking at a world where steering wheels are purely optional. Sophisticated software and digital services will allow driving through advanced body motion detection systems.
Although road safety issues remain to be observed regarding largely A.I. controlled traffic, there are some interesting possibilities such as drivers turning their swivel chairs to face passengers in the back seat while the vehicle runs on ‘’auto-pilot’’ mode.
The good thing, though, is that all autonomous cars allow drivers to ‘’intervene’’ at any point in time by reverting to its conventional manual mode. This may be necessary in the cases of traffic emergencies or A.I. malfunction.
The specifics of the key levitation function are still being developed and taking its sheer size into consideration, revolutionary advancements in motor (proposed at 3 or 4 units per vehicle) and refined electromagnetic mechanisms might be necessary.
Although no official technical details have been released by Aston Martin, there have been expected figures of a 644km traveling capacity through an upgraded design of the Aston Martin Rapide E’s engine. As for the massive battery that has attracted the concern of numerous motorists, we may look forward to a developed wireless technology that enables an estimated high-charging speed of 15-minutes.
As for its suspension system, the Aston Martin Lagonda All-terrain will be using the unique system specially-constructed for the DBX (a model once planned to be repackaged as the Varekai), the first SUV of the Aston Martin brand. The DBX was named after the initials of Aston Martin pioneer, David Brown.
An SUV design presents a new set of challenges for the engineering team, as priorities are steered towards security, size and the availability of multi-functions. This has been new territory for the automobile company famed for its posh sedan models and the Lagonda all-terrain will push these technical boundaries further.
Aston Martin Chief Engineer, Matt Becker had this to say about the latest suspension system, ‘’It’s its own thing, it’s a completely new platform. It takes learning from [Aston’s other new cars], for sure, but there’s a lot more suspension technology going to go into that car.”
The suspension system will feature all-wheel-drive capability among other functions, to afford greater stability regardless of terrain and conditions. Mercedes-AMG, an expert in the SUV market, is believed to have shared its expertise with the Aston Martin team during the developmental process of the DBX suspension system.
Perhaps the most ambitious goal of the all-terrain concept is its zero-emission policy as a solution to climate change, which attempts to change the global public perception of transportation altogether.
Verdict and Expectations
The Lagonda all-terrain concept is a promising novel venture by the British carmaker but ultimately, few people may possess the financial means to purchase the vehicle. Aston Martin SUVs belong to a unique category of vehicles that are catered for large families who forgo the need of frugal living.
Perhaps the company wishes to gamble its engineering breakthroughs with a small pool of customers, as how the superyachts are owned by the tiny group belonging to the top percentile of the economy.
The facility at St Athan may yet redefine the branding of Aston Martin as stated by CEO Andy Palmer, ‘‘As the St Athan facility nears completion, there is a very real sense this is the start of a bold new era for Aston Martin Lagonda. A second production facility is a critical step in delivering our Second Century Plan. The St Athan facility will initially commence with the production of the Aston Martin DBX but will ultimately be a global centre of excellence for the production of luxury high performance EVs, including Lagonda: the world’s first luxury electric automotive brand.’’
However, the concept may prove a problematic investment strategy for a few reasons.
First, sedan models are generally favored by racing enthusiasts due to their sleek (and sexier) appearance and high performances while SUVs may be durable and filled with functions but are bulky (the size of a minivan according to visuals from the Motor Show in Geneva) and do not prioritize speed.
Second, big and wealthy families who can afford these luxurious Lagonda all-terrain models, may pick the option of limousine services or owning multiple cars that are less experimental in their design features.
Third, and perhaps the biggest foreseeable problem with the premium electric vehicle, or most alternate-powered cars, is the long refueling time. An adventurous driver with an SUV may lack the patience to wait out a downtime for a quarter of an hour before he is on the road again, which is the average charging time of the electric battery train.
Last, luxurious SUVs may involve a niche market but there are many key competitors. For example, there is the Bentley Bentayga, Lexus RX Hybrid and of course, the Jaguar I-PACE.
Thus, as expressed by Aston Martin Chief, Andy Palmer, the model when released, may only seem attractive to a select few, the same techies who would take the Tesla X on the road and wish to be spoilt with options.
Lagonda, a brand known for its opulence since 1906, may have been purchased by Aston Martin as an elite wing of their manufacturing processes but even so, the all-terrain may be treading dangerous waters with a high level of uncertainties through its novel SUV engineering.
Alternatively, the vision concept released in 2018 may hold better promise due to its sleek appearance. The bottom-line is EVs are here to stay, but are we ready for a luxurious SUV version during this experimental phase in history? It will be interesting to see how Aston Martin pulls it off in 2022.