Aston Martin Will Keep Building Gas-Powered Cars, But There's a (Huge) Catch

An announcement from Aston Martin is the latest sign the future will look very different than the present.

aston martin vantage black night
Aston Martin

In spite of many of its British compatriots going all-electric in the near future, Aston Martin has come out as one of the few car manufacturers to commit to building internal combustion-engined cars past 2030. But that commitment comes with a major caveat; those cars won't be road-legal. Instead, they'll probably be limited-run cars only meant to be used on the track.

According to Aston Martin's plans, those purely gas-powered cars will make up 5 percent of the business by 2030. The rest will be 50-percent electric cars and 45-percent hybrid-electric cars. Aston-Martin will partner with its part-owner Mercedes on electric vehicles, launching its first in 2025. The company also will debut a hybrid version of the DBX crossover this year with a plug-in hybrid following in 2023.

Aston Martin's move shouldn't be too surprising. It's a British company, and Great Britain is banning sales of pure internal combustion cars by 2030 and phasing out hybrids within the five years after that. Other markets are likely to follow suit.

Even if combustion cars are legal in certain places, it's not clear what the market for them will be. Battery tech should improve dramatically over the next decade, and while being the pinnacle of performance is not really Aston Martin's brand, it will be hard for them to be anywhere near the pinnacle without at least some electrified components. The next James Bond won't be chasing down international ne'er-do-wells with a wheezing V8.

The best analogy for combustion motoring in the coming decades may be horses today. In the future, far fewer internal combustion cars will exist, and they won't be used for essential transportation. Proponents will be a few affluent people buying pricey Aston Martin track cars, or filling up their vintage Porsche 911s with synthetic e-fuel for a Saturday cruise.


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