Aston Martin has revealed it would be investing in a new design and innovation partnership with The College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University in Shanghai, one of the world’s leading universities for the study of design and innovation.
Aston Martin’s EVP and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman will become a visiting professor, sharing his knowledge with the students via lectures and workshops. The first project of this new partnership is a collaboration on designs for future colour and trim projects.
The College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University is headed by Prof. Dr, Lou Yongqi, a leading figure in sustainable interdisciplinary design education, research, and practice.
In addition, Aston Martin also announced a new partnership with Sinomach Automobiles. This new partnership will see the two companies collaborate in the areas of Electric Vehicles and Technical Development, with a number of junior engineers from Sinomach to work at Aston Martin’s global headquarters in Gaydon, UK.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, CEO Andy Palmer said that Aston Martin doesn’t have plans to produce EVs bearing the sports car maker’s badge in China, it is seeking collaboration to share its lightweight materials and aerodynamic technologies with the Chinese partner as China looks to improve the performance of EVs.
By 2030, Aston Martin has said it expects that EVs will account for 25% of its sales, with the rest of the lineup expected to be hybrids. But, unlike rivals, the sports-car maker isn’t able to rely on a large parent company to help fund the move to greener technology.
Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology, or CATL, is among a list of battery suppliers Aston Martin is considering for its first electric sportscar, the RapidE, said Palmer. The RapidE sedan is due to go on sale in 2019 and will be limited to 155 units.
This is in contrast to the carmaker’s statements in August 2017, when it said it would like to keep core competences such as EV technology in-house.